Olivia Erfurth, Italy (www.smillaflat.com)

1. What is your relationship with the breed? When did you get your first Flatcoat?

I bought my first Flatcoated, Elfi de la Ruaz (Smilla) 2007 in Switzerland. She was supposed to be a pure family dog, but I started working with Dummies quickly and ran in Working tests with increasing success, as well as Field Trials. In 2012 my bitch became Italian Field Trial Champion, she was 3 times Club Champion in Italy and was awarded in 2012 with the "Challenge Benelli" for the best Retriever in Italy among all breeds (Combination of Show and Field Trial results during the year). In 2014 she qualified for Field Trial Champion in France. Participating in 25 Field Trials she won 5 CACT, 1 RCACT was placed 2nd in a CACIT (very good), 3rd in CACIT (exc), 3rd in CACIT (good) and 4th in CACIT (good). 

I am currently running her son Buddha Spirit Nirvana (Elfi de la Ruaz x Flatgold’s Blustery Blizzard) out of her 2nd litter in Working tests and Field Trials,

2. What do you like the most in a working Flatcoated Retriever?

They are incredibly stylish dogs and I love the passion they demonstrate while working and their superior marking skills.

2. What abilities do you look for when you are breeding a working Flatcoated Retriever

Apart from a mandatory health standard, I am looking for a calm and patient dog, which can concentrate for a long time, without getting bored and without making noises.  What is very important in my opinion is the connection of the dog with the handler and you can see this quality very early when they are still puppies. 

3. What could be done to promote the Flatcoat as a field trial/working test dog?

I am convinced that there are a lot of excellent Flatcoated Retrievers around, but the best handlers all have labradors and Goldens. If more Top handlers had Flatcoated Retrievers, there would be an increase of good dogs in competitions, which then would promote themselves.

4. How does a working Flatcoat excel as a picking up dog? 

 A Flatcoat has a certain independence combined with excellent game finding ability, which allows him to be a good picking up dog. Nevertheless I would not participate in picking ups too early in order not to get the dog too independent, which could backfire in competitions.

5. What’s important to emphasize when training a Flatcoated Retriever?

I always train alone or in mixed groups with diverse Retriever breeds and I am not training differently than the others. As Flatcoated Retrievers need more time to mature, I do not rush: I build the basics before moving on, but that is probably valid for every dog. And I never excuse anything, “because it is a Flatcoated”.

       © Alex Faarkrog 2017