What Is The Difference Between A Flat-Coated Retriever And A Golden Retriever?

by Kern Campbell

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What Is The Difference Between A Flat-Coated Retriever And A Golden Retriever

I am curious to learn more about retrievers, particularly the Flat Coated Retriever and Golden Retriever.  I want to know if there is any difference and, if so, what the differences are between the two.

Deciding to do some research, I dug up some details about these two retriever breeds.

What is the difference between a Flat Coated Retriever and a Golden retriever?

The difference between these two retriever breeds is in their fur coat, but there are other slight differences and commonalities between them.  The Flat-Coated Retriever has fur that lies flat like its name implies, while the Golden Retriever has fur that can be wavy. 

When it comes to color, the Golden Retriever has the light golden, golden or dark golden, or reddish coat, while the Flat-Coated Retriever has a liver or dark, black colored fur coat, but they can also come in a reddish color. Both breeds can vary in color and feathering; they will also have different head shapes.

Cosmetics aside, there are some other differences between these two breeds.  When it comes to personality, the Golden Retriever thrives on human interaction and being beside their owner or human companion, while the Flat Coated Retriever is more comfortable being independent. 

While the Flat Coated Retriever needs more physical activity than the Golden Retriever, the Golden Retriever has a more even temperament.  The Flat Coated Retriever doesn’t usually live as long as the Golden Retriever does, and their popularity is far below that of the Golden Retriever, who is ranked in the top five. 

Due to their higher energy and exercise needs, the Flat Coated Retriever will need more nutrition to keep up with their active lifestyle.  Regardless of the differences between these two retriever breeds, they are both loveable dogs that would make a great companion animal for any individual or family.  The differences between a Flat Coated Retriever and a Golden Retriever are small, and they share many common traits, which make them both great dogs for everyone.

Retrievers are dogs that have historically been used during hunting to help their hunting companion accomplish their task of hunting and retrieving waterfowl.

While both breeds do their jobs very well, one has historically been more popular than the other.  Despite this, there are only slight differences between these breeds.  Most of their differences are related to the cosmetics, like the color of the coat, fur texture, and head shape.

Golden Retrievers have wavy hair, which is usually light golden, golden, or dark golden, with the Flat Coated Retrievers having flat, shiny fur that most often comes in liver and dark black color fur.  The Golden Retriever does tend to shed just a tiny bit more, while the Flat Coated Retriever has a slightly longer fur coat.

Each dog will need regular brushing to look its best and prevent the fur from ending up everywhere.  They also each have a double coat of fur, which is designed to keep them warm or cool when as well as drier when out in the weather.

While the Golden Retriever can come in straight hair, this is often not the case and usually reflects inferior breeding practice.  Nonetheless, they tend to have more feathering than the Flat Coated Retriever does.

The shape of their heads can also be slightly different, with the Golden Retriever having a boxier and more typical retriever appearance.  The Flat Coat Retriever has a smoother, more streamlined, and elegant face related to their original breeding.

When it comes to their personality, the Golden Retriever is generally more of a companion animal because they thrive best when in close contact with their hunting companion or loving family member.  They tend to bond very strongly with those in their family unit and sometimes suffer from separation anxiety.  They also have a more even temperament that is gentle and easygoing, unless, of course, they happen to suffer from separation anxiety.

The Flat Coat Retriever is more independent and, therefore, less likely to suffer from separation anxiety.  This doesn’t mean that they don’t bond close or well with their hunting companion or loved ones, just that they are more secure in the bond and don’t mind being more independent from them.

The Golden Retriever tends to live just a few years more than the Flat Coat Retriever, but this compares each whole breed, not individual dogs.  Each dog is unique in health, and there will be cases where some Golden Retrievers may not live as long as Flat Coat Retrievers.

When it comes to popularity, the Flat Coat Retriever has always lagged a bit behind the Golden Retriever, but popularity can change.  This could be linked to their higher energy level and need for more physical activity than the Golden Retriever does.  For this reason, the Flat Coat Retriever can require more nutrition daily.

One of the reasons why the Flat Coat Retriever could be less popular than the Golden Retriever or other retrievers is that they have a shorter life expectancy, require more exercise, and come in less desirable colors.

Is there a difference in weight and height between the Golden Retriever and Flat Coat Retriever?

Yes, there is a size difference between the Golden Retriever and the Flat Coat Retriever, with the Flat Coat Retriever coming in just slightly bigger.

The Flat Coat Retriever is between twenty-two to twenty-four and a half inches to the withers.  The Golden Retriever is twenty to twenty-four inches.  When it comes to weight, the Flat Coated Retriever is fifty-five to seventy-nine pounds, and the Golden Retriever is fifty-five to seventy-five pounds.

Females will tend to be slightly smaller in both breeds, but many factors play a part in the size of any dog, especially when it comes to weight.

What Is The Difference Between A Flat-Coated Retriever And A Golden Retriever? How common is the Flat Coat Retriever?

Some more active dogs will be leaner and more muscular, with less active weighing more.  Dogs that are unhealthy or have an inferior diet and overeat or little will also suffer one way or another.

This is true for any dog breed and not respective to either the Golden Retriever or the Flat Coat Retriever.

How common is the Flat Coat Retriever?

The Flat Coat Retriever is not a common breed.  Compared to other retriever breeds, it ranks low in popularity, but it is still possible to find reputable and quality breeders who can provide you with a puppy if this is the breed you are searching for.  This may take a bit more time and patience as the potential pet parent may have to wait for a puppy to become available, but they are out there nonetheless.

When more people seek out a rare dog breed, this natural drives up the demand.  It also increases knowledge and awareness of unique breeds, which can, in turn, increase popularity through exposure.

How are the Flat Coat Retriever and Golden Retriever similar?

The Flat Coat Retriever and the Golden Retriever are similar in numerous ways.  For starters, the obvious is that they are both retrievers.  They were both originally bred and used for helping and assisting their human hunting companions to retrieve their game.

They both make great family dogs and get along great with other dogs and sometimes cats too.  Both breeds are highly trainable and responsive with high intelligence.  Each breed also needs regular grooming to keep them looking their best and enjoy spending time outdoors and being active.

Is the Flat Coat Retriever or the Golden Retriever better for hunting?

Both dogs are equally suitable for hunting and retrieving as they have both been historically used for.  That being said, in our modern world, the Golden Retriever has become a huge asset to the community in roles where they are assistance to others.

This breed is hardworking when being of assistance to people with diabetes and those who are blind and making great therapy dogs.  These dogs have the perfect personality to work alongside humans in the community.

That being said, the Flat Coat Retriever has not been used in this aspect but continues to be significantly used as a hunting companion and may have a slight advantage in making them a better hunting companion at this time.

Each boasts the intelligence, trainability, and skill to make a good hunting companion, so this can be hard to determine. It must more accurately be done when comparing one dog to another, not a whole breed for another entire breed.

There are also some advantages to each breed when it comes to hunting that is determined by their coloring, as being able to blend in or camouflage oneself can be an asset.  The type of terrain and the season the hunter is hunting in will determine which coloring is better, but both dogs can be found in reddish shades.

Either way, both dogs are capable of making excellent hunting companions.

Final Thoughts

When comparing the Flat Coat Retriever to the Golden Retriever, each has unique qualities that make them special and individual.

These similarities and differences are what make them who they are.  Each dog should embrace diversity and find its place in our society because each dog has beautiful qualities.

They each make excellent family dogs and companions, which is all we humans can ask for anyway!

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