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What is the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America?

Nicole Cosgrove

Flat-Coated Retrievers are an intelligent breed of retriever, known for their joyful, fun personalities. Dr. Nancy Laughton, an expert on the breed calls the Flat-Coated Retriever “a canine Peter Pan” since they are never seen to fully grow up. These dogs are supposed to be so confident and friendly that the breed standard calls for tail wagging during competition. Unprovoked human or animal aggression is against the breed standard and while these dogs are often great alert dogs, their cheerful, personable nature often makes them poor guard dogs.

What is a Flat-Coated Retriever?

This breed is often confused with Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, but, on close inspection, is clearly different from either of these breeds. According to the breed standard, Flat-Coated Retrievers are solid black or liver, with a dense, medium-length coat that lays flat, although a small amount of waviness is acceptable. These dogs are intended to be lean and powerful with well-balanced body proportions. While they are retrievers, Flat-Coated Retrievers can also be used for flushing game, sports like dock diving and agility, and as family pets.

What is the Flat-Coater Retriever Society of America?

So, what is the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America? Many people are aware of the American Kennel Club, or AKC, and consider them to be the main regulatory body concerning breed standards for purebred dogs in the United States. What many people may not realize, though, is that all breeds that are recognized by the AKC have breed-specific clubs. These clubs are known as “parent clubs” and are actually the groups that determine breed standards. These standards are sent to the AKC and they are the ones who implement and judge those standards.

For Flat-Coated Retrievers, the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America is the parent club for the breed. Like all parent clubs, the FCRSA has multiple regional clubs that adhere to their rules, bylaws, and breed standards. The FCRSA, which was founded in 1960, currently has nine regional clubs.

How Does It Work?

The FCRSA website,, has links to health and breeding registries, studies involving the Flat-Coated Retriever, and access to information on breeders who are also members of the society. There is also educational information for society members and breeders, judges, and junior showmen. The FCRSA code of ethics makes it clear that the intent of the society is to maintain the physical health and temperament of the breed while creating genetic diversity, providing proper care and training, and ensuring responsible breeding and selling takes place that keeps the health, safety, and happiness of the dogs as a top priority.

Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America is a thorough, well-organized resource for all things related to Flat-Coated Retrievers. It is their goal to maintain the integrity of the Flat-Coated Retriever while educating the public about the breed. The more the public knows about Flat-Coated Retrievers, the more likely these dogs are to go to homes that will understand their needs and requirements. FCRSA provides resources for the rescue and adoption of Flat-Coated Retrievers as well, further showing their dedication to the livelihood and betterment of the breed.

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.