The International Working Flatcoated Retriever Position

When the modern shotgun radically changed game shooting conditions during the first half of the nineteenth century the forefather of the Flatcoated Retriever became ”The Retriever”, a specialised dog mainly created to serve at larger shots with plenty of game. During the first decades of the twentieth century the working Labrador and to some extent the working Golden conquered the shooting scene and since then the Flatcoat has become a working dog owned and handled by a smaller community of passionated enthusiasts. It’s a fact today that the breed is looked upon as inferior to the Labrador and the Golden by many representatives of the shooting community. We believe that it doesn’t have to be like that. We are sure that the Flatcoat could hold it’s rank in the very best company if targeted to selective and careful breeding focusing on retrieving capabilities, keeping in mind that true Flatcoat type and a suitable conformation is of importance to attract the shooting man.

We who have organised this homepage strongly believe:

1.   That a competitive working flatcoated retriever can be developed and maintained using a selective and careful breeding program focusing on the qualities that are asked for in a working retriever.

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2.   That a competitive breeding program must be based on working Flatcoats, well tested during realistic shooting conditions and primarily bred from solid working stock.

3.   That tailor made retriever tests/field trials are needed to evaluate the full range of retriever capabilities in a working Flatcoated Retriever

4.   That breeding for work shouldn’t mean that good type and a suitable conformation is forgotten. Although a working retriever must be designed with respect to the versatile and timeless requirements that are common for all working retrievers when it comes to size, height, length and body mass we believe that such a dog can easily fit in with the Flatcoated Retriever breed standard.


5.   That this statement doesn’t want to challenge the fact that a majority of all Flatcoats are designed to fit the ideals of the show community, by those trying to design a dual purpose Flatcoat, a dog that is designed for obedience or agility competition or is mainly designed to be a companion.

6.   That strong lines of specialised first class working Flatcoated Retrievers, with good type and conformation, can develop into useful outcross lines for those trying to breed for dual purpose or pure show conformation.     

7. That the working/retrieving capability of the breed is a fundamental part of the breed heritage and thus of crucial importance to maintain the breed we love.

8.   That the working Flatcoated Retriever world could benefit from international cooperation using modern means to network, share information about and use good working stock wherever it’s to be found.

9.   That an open, friendly, respectful dialogue and openness when it comes to modern breeding tools could be useful means to secure the future of a healthy and truly versatile Flatcoated Retriever.

Ingemar Borelius, Poul Rønnow Kjeldsen and Alex Faarkrog

       © Alex Faarkrog 2017