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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I am doing a little research for a friend. She wants a hiking buddy. Her normal choices would have been a BRT, bouvier, dobermann, Giant schnauzer.... you get the idea. This time around though, she wants a buddy the general public won't immediately freak out about. A dog she can take to the ice cream shop. A dog she can let off leash without snide remarks of the guardian by her side. (owning a GSD and soon a dobermann..I can understand where she is coming from)

She's looking into a flat coated...and asked my opinion. I have no idea about the Retriever breeds, and would very much appreciate if you could help us with the pros and cons of this breed.

Thanks!
 

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I'd be interested in hearing about the breed as well. I've had an interest in them and have researched them, but I would still like to hear more, perhaps someone with experience.
 

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How intelligent? She loves mischief so the dog would need a bit of that haha. She wants a hiking buddy that won't ditch her because of the rain, will walk across rivers with her, etc. I know she is huge into disc golf and the dog would probably be out doing that a lot of the time. How much prey drive do they have? She doesn't want the dog to chase the discs, just be company with her walking in the woods. How much grooming is required? Shedding? Basic personality traits? Can you name a few negatives about the breed?
 

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If you don't have a sense of humor, don't get a Flatcoat. They can be wicked smart, problem solvers and clowns. They are absolute pigs about water, mud, rolling in dead stuff, and will carry anything in their mouth that they can. They are incredibly personable but need to be gentle because they can be over-exuberant and injure small kids or frail adults if not taught not to jump, etc--just sort of forceful with their joy. Flatcoats have an infinite capacity to learn--they succeed in agility, obedience, field, search and rescue, tracking, rally, whatever you want to teach them, and I've been known to have a dog out in the field hunting one day and in the show ring the next.

They absolutely MUST be part of the family, and do not do well relegated to a kennel or not included in family activities. They need loads of both mental and physical exercise, and if bored they will resort to digging, chewing (walls, furniture, their fur, whatever), howling, barking, and other destructive behaviors. A bored Flatcoat or an under-exercised Flatcoat can become a very, very naughty dog! Some of them are incorrigible food criminals (one Flatcoat owner had to buy a padlock for their fridge because their Flatcoat girl learned to open it and help herself), and they can be very bad about eating socks, underwear, dish towels, etc., so you can't leave things lying around. They also tend to be poop-eaters, if they can. Some are and some aren't, and there is no telling which is which--good reason to keep your yard scooped!

You would have to teach the dog not to chase the discs, as they are bred to retrieve and have very high prey drive (my 3-year-old caught a dead rabbit on Sunday and brought it in the house--they WILL retrieve anything if not taught that certain things are off-limits). There are not "show" and "working" lines in the breed, as any responsible Flatcoat breeder will breed for the total dog. I would never sell a Flatcoat to someone looking for a disc dog. They are too long-bodied and a back injury would be highly likely.

Grooming is easy. Trim feet and ears, brush once a week, trim nails and brush teeth. They don't have the fluffy undercoat of a golden, so they don't tend to matt up or get hot spots if you brush them regularly. They do shed, but it tends to collect itself into little fur balls that you just pick up. They shed less than a golden or lab, but they do shed.

They love to learn but get bored with repetition, so you have to be aware of that tendency and vary your training--they hate doing the same thing over and over and over. They are jolly, good-natured with man and beast, and generally quite happy dogs.

Pitfalls: They can be a LOT of dog, and often are too "in your face" for people. They love to be with you. They have a high cancer rate, with the average lifespan being somewhere between 7 and 8. That being said, the average lifespan of dogs I have owned has been just over 10, with one living to nearly 14. His aunt lived to 16 1/2. Other potential health issues include luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, elbow dysplasia, glaucoma and rarely kidney trouble or bloat, but they do occur.

Typical puppies wreaking havoc:


My 8-year-old loving his work:


My group-placing, National Specialty Award of Merit winner:


My wild child, doing what she does best!
 

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oh gosh, I've never thought of them as a breed I'd like to own but geeze I really LIKE all that you've said minus the health issues and short life span :( I may have to put them on my future potential list

Of course I have Aussies so exuberant clowns who shed, are in your face and get bored quickly aren't really a put off for me, lol...I probably should have took a pic of my wallowing pig tonight...He was so muddy from the puddles in the yard that I figured what they heck he'd need to be hosed off anyway so I took him back for a swim in the canal :p It was pretty much the same as your wild child only the water was deeper and minus the pretty leaves ;)
 
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