The Flat-Coated Retriever is a beautiful black or liver-colored retriever sporting a sleek, medium-length coat with well-feathered legs, tail, and chest. He is among the most streamlined of the retrievers, of moderate substance, and is slightly longer than tall. His long head is molded and sleek, with a long, deep muzzle and barely perceptible stop. The eyes are dark brown or hazel, and the moderately small ears lie flat against the head. The nose should be black for black coats and brown for liver coats. The tail is fairly straight, carried near horizontal.
The Flat-Coated Retriever was developed in the 1800s by crossing several already established breeds, including the Water Dog, the Irish Setter, and the St. John's Newfoundland, though one source also mentions the Collie. The breed was fairly popular until the beginning of the World War I, but was then overshadowed by the Labrador and Golden Retriever. The Flat-Coat deserves more attention, as he is not only an excellent bird dog and swimmer but also an outstanding family companion.
Great for families—superb with children. Very stable temperament. Smart, active, and friendly. Gentle and playful. Highly trainable, but easily bored. Keep training sessions short and fun, without excessive repetition. A cheerful, devoted companion with a puppy-like exuberance well into his later years. This very sociable breed needs lots of affection and attention from his family.