UNDERSTANDING THE FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER
The neck should be moderately long, and neck-to-shoulder transition should be smooth, with not only good layback of shoulder, but also good lay-in.
The Flat-Coat head has a foreface that is well-filled, with dark, almond-shaped eyes. Stop is barely perceivable.
It’s important to understand that overall balance is key.
well back, achieving long, clean strides. The topline should be level and strong while the dog is in motion. A truly typ- ey, well-balanced animal while moving is undeniable. Understanding the temperament of the Flat-Coated Retriever is also key to under- standing the breed. A nervous, hyperac- tive, apathetic, shy or obstinate dog is highly undesirable. Any aggressive behav- ior toward people or animals is totally unacceptable. The Flat-Coat is a versatile dog with a desire to work and please. The Flat-Coat in competition is known to have a wagging tail at most times. I have wit- nessed judges becoming annoyed at the wagging Flat-Coat. My advice to them? Decline the assignment. I was asked to include the health and longevity of the Flat-Coated Retriever to this article. With regards to health, the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America recommends all breeding stock be clear of hip dysplasia and patella abnormalities by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or a board-certified veterinary equivalent. Eyes should be cleared annually by a board- certified veterinary ophthalmologist. Eye conditions to be screened for in breeding stock include Progressive Retinal Atro- phy, Cataracts, and a predisposition for narrow angles that can lead to Secondary Glaucoma. Cancer is a primary concern in the breed, but through utilization of genetic diversity when breeding, dedi- cated breeders are seeing added longevity to the breed. The average life span of all
UNDERSTANDING THE TEMPERAMENT OF THE FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER IS ALSO KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE BREED. A NERVOUS, HYPERACTIVE, APATHETIC, SHY OR OBSTINATE DOG IS HIGHLY UN- DESIRABLE. ANY AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR TOWARD PEOPLE OR ANIMALS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. THE FLAT-COAT IS A VER- SATILE DOG WITH A DESIRE TO WORK AND PLEASE.
retrievers combined is about 10 years. The Flat-Coated Retriever is not an exception. So, when you have the privilege to observe the Flat-Coated Retriever at work or play, or you have the opportunity to judge them, please remember to bring your smile. A properly built Flat-Coated Retriever that oozes type, tail wagging incessantly, will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marla Doheny has been involved in the sport of purebred dogs since she was a young child. Her fascination with the utility of the purebred dog has led her to a lifetime of involvement and continuing education. She breeds under the pre-fix, Valhala, and currently resides in Florida and Connecticut.
“The Official AKC Standard for the Flat-Coated Retriever.” American Kennel Club, 1990 Phillips, Brenda. Flat-Coated Retrievers: World of Dogs. TFH Publications Inc, 1996. Laughton, Nancy. A Review of the Flat-Coated Retriever. Pelham Books, 1980 PHOTOS COURTESY OF DAWN BUTTION, LIZ SAUNDERS, CHRISTIN PRICE, HALEY WALKER, HALEY WATSON, AND MARLA DOHENY
260 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MAY 2021
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