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Flat-Coated Retriever vs Golden Retriever

Flat-Coated Retriever vs Golden Retriever

The goofy, loving, and enthusiastic Golden Retriever is the fourth most popular dog in the US. Many believe this is the one and only Retriever, but have you heard about the amazing Flat-Coated Retriever?

Both the Golden Retriever and the Flat-Coated Retriever are wonderful dog breeds. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the two breeds, including their differences and similarities.

We are your Goldie Guru and have guides on everything and anything about this breed. From why is my Golden Retriever’s nose turning pink to how good they are in the cold, and their best training methods, we have it all! But for now, let’s compare them to Flat-Coated Retrievers.


The History Of These Two Breeds

At first, it wasn’t the Flat-Coated Retriever vs. the Golden Retriever, as the two breeds were related. Both originally came from the UK and were first bred as hunting and retrieving dogs.

Flat-Coated Retriever

S.E. Shirley, the original founder of the British Kennel Club, was the first person to breed the Flat-Coated Retriever. He wanted a pup with a sleeker, flatter, elegant coat than the Golden Retriever and the beloved Newfoundland.

When breeding this dog, Shirley focused on the head shape, coat, and morphology (shape and size) of the pups. The Flat-Coated Retriever was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1915, 10 years before the Golden Retriever was.

Various breeders believed that Shirley mixed Collies with black wavy-coated Retrievers to create the Flat-Coated Retriever. The Flat-Coated Retriever breed still exists today, despite almost going extinct during the 1960s when Golden and Labrador Retrievers gained popularity.

Golden Retriever

The UK Kennel Club accepted the Golden Retriever as a breed in 1913, and in 1925 the AKC accepted them as a breed. Your Golden Retriever has gone through a long line of breeding to become the wonderful canine companion it is today!

It all started when someone wanted a breed that was focused, energetic, sweet-natured, loving, and a trainable family pet. So Lord Tweedmouth from Scotland started developing the breed. And he clearly did it right, as that is everything a Golden Retriever is today!

To get the Golden Retriever, Lord Tweedmouth bred Spaniels with wavy-coated Retrievers, and eventually, he landed up with exactly what he wanted – a litter full of beautiful golden puppies. He then started breeding them further to create the Golden Retriever breed we know and love today.


Flat-Coated Retriever vs. Golden Retriever: Appearance

There is a huge difference between these two dog breeds’ coat types and colors. However, there are some other similarities and differences between the two:

Coat texture

Both Retriever breeds have fluffy hair around the ears and long feathery hair on the underbelly and legs. The Flat-Coated Retriever has a silky coat that, as the name suggests, sits flat on its body. A Flat-Coated Retriever’s coat is also much shinier than that of a Golden Retriever.

Golden Retrievers also have wavy hair, but it often looks ‘unkempt’ and is not as silky.

Coat color

Flat-Coated Retrievers can come in a number of different shades ranging between solid black and a liver color. Golden Retrievers also come in various colors ranging from red to light and darker golden. But you’ll find that the medium golden shade is the most common (shocker!).

Height and weight

When it comes to size, these two breeds are pretty similar. Flat-Coat Retrievers can weigh anything between 55 to 80 pounds. In comparison, Golden Retrievers weigh anything between 60 to 70 pounds. Males of both breeds are generally bigger than females, and both are medium to large dogs with strong and athletic builds.

When it comes to height, these dogs range between 21 to 25 inches tall, though it is common for the Golden Retriever to be a bit smaller.

Face shape

Their face shape is another notable difference. Flat-Coated Retrievers have pointy and long faces. This gives them that Border Collie-ish, elegant look. In contrast, Golden Retrievers have rounder faces that take on a boxy shape.


Both the Golden Retriever and Flat-Coated Retriever have double coats. You will need to brush these dogs twice a week, as they shed quite a lot. Golden Retrievers tend to shed a lot more.

Both breeds will blow this double coat during the spring and fall. The result? A lot more brushing for you, and a lot more dog hair on your belongings!


Flat Coated Retriever vs. Golden Retriever: Personality And Temperament

The Golden Retriever and Flat-Coated Retriever are both sweet-natured dogs, and they love spending time with their friends and family. These pooches love to play, be silly, and are highly affectionate. They make amazing family dogs when they have been socialized and trained properly.

They also get along well with other dogs, animals, and little children. Both breeds love being around humans, but the Flat-Coated Retriever is very independent compared to a Golden. They are happy spending time alone and can keep themselves busy for a little bit.

On the other hand, Golden Retrievers can suffer from separation anxiety and are a lot needier. These dogs are very energetic and require lots of walks, exercise, and activities. They’re also very intuitive, and they make amazing companions.

The Flat-Coated Retriever is known for being more emotional and sensitive, and they do not cope well with change. This breed loves positive reinforcement and can be very sensitive to harsh training methods.

You are not getting a good guard dog when you adopt a Flat-Coat Retriever or Golden Retriever. They love people too much and make friends with everybody! Both breeds are gentle, kind, and social.

The Golden Retriever and Flat-Coated Retriever are both very intelligent. They will require loads of exercise and mental stimulation. You should send them to doggy classes to give them a chance to meet other pups and keep them busy and entertained.


Flat-coated Retriever vs. Golden Retriever: Overall Health And Health Issues

Both the Golden Retriever and Flat-Coated Retriever suffer from health issues that are commonly seen in large breeds. Joint and hip problems are very common for both of them. Sadly, the Golden Retriever suffers from more health problems than the Flat-Coated Retriever does.

Flat-Coated Retriever health issues

The following are some of the health issues that generally affect Flat-Coat Retrievers:

  • Cancer
  • Eye problems
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Ear infections
  • Tooth decay
  • Knee dysplasia

The Flat-Coated Retriever is more prone to cancer than their Golden cousins. Malignant histiocytosis is the most common one. Some other cancers have also been found in this breed, like hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

Golden Retriever health issues

The following are some health problems that are common in Golden Retrievers:

  • Allergies
  • Cataracts
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Von Willebrand’s disease (their blood does not clot properly)
  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Retinal atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pigmentary cystic glaucoma (an inherited eye disease)

The Goldie is prone to various diseases and health issues and suffers more than the Flat-Coated Retriever does.


Flat-Coated Retriever vs. Golden Retriever: Life Expectancy

It is well-known that larger dog breeds have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs. However, with a nutritious and healthy diet, lots of love and care, and loads of exercise, both breeds can live for over 10 years. The Golden Retriever will often live for up to 12 years with the best care, while the Flat-Coated Retriever can live for up to 14 years.

You can take a look at our homepage and find guides on how to care for your dog and ensure that you have a healthy and happy canine companion.



Are Flat-Coated Retrievers calm?

A Flat-Coat Retriever is generally very gentle, sweet, loving, and kind, but they are also highly energetic and require a lot of physical activity. However, this dog breed is in no way aggressive.

What two breeds make a Flat-Coated Retriever?

It is believed that Collies and Water Spaniels were used to develop this dog breed. However, it’s now a breed in its own right, just like the Golden Retriever.


Final Thoughts

Both of these dogs make amazing family members and fur babies. They have a lot of similarities and a lot of differences, but they will both be a pleasure to have at home. It all comes down to your personal preferences, but whichever breed you choose, you will end up with a fun, loving, and goofy best friend!