Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Flat Coated and Curly Coated Retrievers

The other day I was looking at dog breed rankings for this year based on litters registered with the  AKC.

The current top spot is held by the Labrador Retriever and the number four spot belongs to the Golden Retriever. The last time I checked the Lab was also top dog in Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Yet several of of the Lab and Golden's retriever cousins do not fair so well in popularity.

The Flat Coated Retriever is down the list at 90, and the Curly Coated Retriever is at 154 (out of 173 AKC recognized breeds.) These Retrievers may be a little more independent than Labs and Goldens but they're still excellent dogs that do well with families and other animals.

The Flat Coated Retriever developed in England from a mixing of Labs, field spaniels, Newfoundlands (or perhaps the now extinct St. John's Water Dog,) and perhaps even some collie.

The Flat Coated is a single coated breed and one of the breeds used to help develop the breed that would go on to eclipse them in popularity - the Golden Retriever.

The Flat Coated knew much greater popularity in England before WWI, however, after the war the breed experienced a vicious cycle -- less common than Labradors and Goldens, they became more expensive and thus even less common....

The Flat Coat comes in two colors: black and liver.
 This retriever is a bit longer than tall and is a fun loving, trainable breed.

The Curly Coat also comes in two colors: black and liver. This breed is a leggy retriever and is a bit taller than long. The Curly was designed to be an upland game bird that could also retrieve.

Also intelligent and trainable, the Curly is a little more stubborn than the Flat Coat. Both breeds make excellent family companions as long as they receive regular exercise and are fairly and consistently trained.

The Curly Coated is a big and strong willed dog but very devoted and intelligent. Uncommon and loving, this is a great option for a unique hunting dog or companion for an active family.

For those considering adding a retriever to their life remember, your choices come in more varieties than just Labs and Goldens.

The Flat Coated and Curly Coated Retriever are trainable breeds, ready to accompany their people into fun and adventure in the outdoors. If you enjoy an uncommon breed and like to be active consider one of these very likable retriever breeds.

And yes - there are rescue groups that help rehome both breeds as needed.


  1. They aren't very common over here in England either. There is a high incidence of cancer in the Flatties, unfortunately. I believe this is because the gene pool is small. Also, not too many of the Curly Coats are bred each year. The woman who put together both Pedigree Dogs Exposed films just recently lost a Flattie and wrote a lovely tribute to her on her blog. Have you stopped by her blog yet?

    I have met about 6 Flatties and also a Flattie crossed with a Newfie who was gorgeous albeit very large.

    1. That does sound like a very lovely, very large mix - good to see you stopping by Cate :-)

  2. Beautiful dogs, add another couple breeds to my wish list. Kathy

  3. The Flatcoats come in YELLOW too!

    1. http://chathamhilldogs.com/Our_Yellow_Flat-Coat.html

    2. I have NEVER seen this before!
      Thank you :-)

  4. Really find interesting to read.. Thanks for Sharing..

  5. wow...the dog from the 4th picture... in crude-liver color...that is one nice dog !!!...it's like you painted him especially for the picture lol..............:):):):):)

    do you still have it ?...do you have other dogs just like that?...

  6. oh...do you have blue dogs too ???...really blue.........:):):):):)