Why Skinner’s are celebrating the Flat Coated Retriever

Hannah Aldridge


March 25, 2022

We were thrilled when a Flat Coated Retriever won best In Show at Crufts this year. Not only was this because they are part of the Gundog breed category, but also because it’s the breed that features in our logo!

We thought what better way to celebrate Almanza Backseat Driver’s (also known as “Baxter”) win, than by learning a bit about this less common gundog breed.

The history of Flat Coated Retrievers

It is believed that this breed originates from Setters mixed with Spaniels and Retrievers. Many years ago, breeders would only keep black puppies; even though some litters contained the occasional golden puppy. The liver colour was then later selectively bred.

Once known as the Wavy Coated Retriever, this breed was popular in the late 1800’s on large shooting estates. In the early 1900’s, they were the gundog of choice, although were then overtaken by the Labrador, which has continued to remain a firm favourite with working handers.

Breed standard

Breed group




Coat length



At least 2 hours per day

Standard colours

Black, Liver

Also known as

Flatcoat, Flattie

Their feathered legs and tail make them easy to distinguish. This cheerful breed is willing to please, usually found with a wagging tail. Some say they never seem to grow up, and maintain their happy, puppy-like nature right through to adulthood and old age. However, it’s important to remember that they are highly energetic, needing lots of exercise.

Why choose a Flatcoat as a gundog?

This intelligent dog is known for its determination and persistence in the field, whilst also being particularly good at marking and air scenting.

It was bred to hunt and retrieve game in both water and on a variety of terrain. You’ll notice they will often want to pick things up and carry them around in their mouth; making them the ideal picking up dog!

Flattie’s can also have a bit of a reputation for being “clumsy”, but don’t let this fool you with how intelligent they really are!

What else makes them a great dog?

They also seem to excel in other activities such as obedience and agility and are often used as service dogs; due to their keen to please nature.

Also known for how good they are with children; they are a great dog to have with a family. Although, their playfulness and size can also mean they don’t realise their own strength; therefore, always supervise them around children.

Things to be mindful of with a Flat Coated Retriever

Whilst they make fantastic working and family dogs, it’s important to remember how much exercise they require. It is recommended that they need at least 2 hours of exercise per day, therefore we would not recommend considering this breed if you know this is something you can’t commit to.

They are also slightly harder to train than other gundogs such as the Labrador, so remember to patient and to give yourselves time. They have a bit of a reputation for their stubbornness, which can make training a little more challenging.

If you’re not so keen on the idea of clearing up lots of fur, then a Flattie might not be the breed for you. They are known for regularly shedding, and so require regular grooming.

Are they the breed for you?

If you’re considering this breed, we hope you’ve found this helpful; you can always find more information about them on The Kennel Club’s website.

Perhaps you’re already a proud owner of a Flatcoat? If so, then please do let us know! We’d love to see your photos – simply tag us on social media and use #borntobeoutdoors.

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