flat-coated retriever vs labrador

Flat-Coated Retrievers vs. Labrador Retrievers: Similarities and Differences

Do you want to know the similarities and differences between the Flat-coated Retriever and Labrador retrievers? Flat-coated retrievers and Labradors are two of the world’s biggest and most popular dog varieties, renowned for their intelligent, generous, and excellent hunting capabilities. Both varieties share many characteristics, including their origins as working canines, affinity for water, and ability to retrieve wildlife.

Nevertheless, there are significant distinctions between these two varieties, including their temperament, appearance, and health concerns. Labrador is rated first among the 192 registered canines by the American Kennel Club, while Flat-Coated Retriever is ranked 102nd. Given that both varieties were discovered in the nineteenth century, this difference may appear alarming to some.

In this article, we will compare the Flat-coated retriever & Labrador breeds, emphasizing their similarities and differences to assist you in determining which may be the best match for your lifestyle. Keep reading to learn more.

Flat-Coated Retrievers vs. Labrador Breed Overview

โžคThe Flat-Coated Retriever

During the mid-1800s, this species was developed in England as a close-working rifle dog. It was originally designed as a retriever for both land and water sports. These canines have served as therapy & SAR dogs over time. Before Labs & Goldens, it was the most favored retriever dog among the English aristocracy. It was formerly known as the “Gamekeeper dog.”

The appearance of flat-coated retrievers is streamlined, robust, and graceful. Their powerful and well-muscled groin aids them in all physical endeavors, including sprinting, swimming, and leaping. They weigh between 60 and 80 pounds and are between 23 and 25 inches tall. Typically, these puppies appear in two colors, black and liver.

โžคThe Labrador Retrievers

This breed came to light when St. Johns Water Dogs were first introduced to Britain in the 1830s. They arrived on ships that traded between Canada and Poole, Dorset. The Labrador Retriever was created by hybridizing these water canines with British hunting dogs. These canines were bred for a comparable purpose as Flat-coated retrievers.

Labradors are medium-sized, physically robust canines. Adults weigh between 55 and 80 pounds and reach heights of 21 to 24 inches. The term “short coupled” refers to the well-structured legs and vertebrae of these canines and their proportionate physique. Labs are typically available in black, chocolate brown, & yellow.

Flat-Coated Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers Similarities and Differences

flat-coated retriever vs labrador

Choosing between a Labrador and a flat-coated retriever is difficult because the two varieties have so much in common. Both dogs are well-mannered, intelligent, high-energy, and athletic. Although your ultimate decision may depend on what you intend to do with your dog, you can go right with either breed. Here are the similarities and differences between these two lovable breed.


The Labrador and flat coated retrievers are almost the same size. Still, there are significant distinctions between the two varieties, including the Labrador’s short, coat and the flat coated retriever’s wavier, slightly lengthier hair. The Labrador appears smaller than the flat-coated retriever, which has a longer body. This extend to the cranium, as the muzzle of the Labador is shorter than the retriever with a flat coat. The tail and extremities of the latter are feathered, unlike those of the Labrador.


While both varieties are easily trainable, Labradors are less prone to distractions than flat-coated retrievers. This is one reason Labs are the dog of choice for tasks requiring absolute obedience, such as guiding, therapy, search-and-rescue, etc. That does not preclude the flat-coated retriever from serving the same functions, though it may take slightly longer. He is typically a bit sillier than his Labrador companion. This does not apply to field hunting, where the working dog excels and may surpass the abilities of the average Lab.


The Flat-Coated Retriever & Labrador Retrievers are known for their friendly and gregarious personalities, making them ideal family companions. The Flat-Coated Retriever is upbeat and energetic, always ready for adventure & play. They are intellectual, anxious to please, and incredibly devoted to their family. They are playful and get along nicely with children and other animals, making them an excellent choice for a busy household.

The Labrador Retriever, on the other hand, is equally pleasant and friendly. They possess a delicate and tolerant disposition, making them ideal companions for children. Labrador retrievers are renowned for their loyalty & adaptability, keen to participate in any family activity. Labs excel as therapy canines and are frequently used for service work due to their amiable and tolerant temperament. Overall, the amazing temperaments of both varieties make them caring and devoted family members, and each has its special appeal.

๐ŸถCoat Color

In terms of coat hue, there are differences between them. Typically, the Flat-Coated Retriever has a dense, glossy, either uniform black or liver coat. In contrast, Labrador Retrievers have a greater variety of coat colors, such as yellow, black, & chocolate. While both varieties have gorgeous coats, Labrador’s variation in coat color adds a hint of visual diversity. Both breeds are highly trainable & affectionate family and individual companions, regardless of coat color.


The Flat-Coated Retriever possesses a strong sense of independence, frequently displaying problem-solving abilities and an aptitude for discovering novel solutions. They are known for their quick thinking and ability to adapt to different situations. In contrast, the Labrador Retriever demonstrates exceptional trainability and obedience. They are excellent at obeying commands and anxious to please their owners, which makes them ideally suited for obedience training & service work.

Labrador Retrievers are famous for their exceptional memory, as they can learn and remember a wide variety of commands and tasks rapidly. Both varieties possess a high level of intelligence, but their distinctive abilities and tendencies may differ, providing their respective caretakers with distinctive qualities.

๐ŸถEnergy Level

The Flat-Coated Retriever is renowned for its vitality and high levels of energy. This dog breed thrives on vigorous activities such as lengthy walks, sprints, and swimming. Their lively and ebullient disposition keeps them energized throughout the day. On the other hand, the Labrador Retriever is also a highly energetic breed, but it has a slightly more balanced energy level. Labradors have spurts of vitality and enjoy practicing various activities, but they also appreciate leisure and relaxation. Regardless of these minor differences, both varieties need regular exercise & mental stimulation to remain cheerful & healthy.


You have not encountered a flat-coated retriever if you believe Labradors are the swans of the dog world. He enjoys getting soaked in ponds, backyard pools, and the ocean. Depending on where you reside and your way of life, this is either a pro or a con. Neither breed is particularly effective as a sentinel, but the flat-coated retriever is likelier to bark when an intruder approaches.


According to dog registration statistics compiled by the American Kennel Club, Labrador consistently rates it as the most famous dog in America. Flat-coated retrievers typically rank within the top 90 out of 175 varieties. Consequently, it is likely simpler to locate a decent Labrador retriever breeder in your area than a flat-coated retriever breeder due to supply and demand.


There are differences between these varieties in terms of life span. The average expectancy of a flat-coated retriever is between 10 and 12 years. On the other hand, Labrador Retrievers have a lifespan that typically ranges between 10 and 14 years. However, it is essential to note that lifespan can vary depending on genetics, diet, health care, exercise, & living conditions, among others. Providing both breeds with appropriate veterinary care, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and a nurturing environment can increase their longevity.

Flat-Coated Retriever vs. Labrador Adaptability

flat-coated retriever vs labrador

When you say dog adaptability, most people immediately think of apartment living, so let’s begin there. All canines are wonderful, but not all dogs suit apartment living. A dog may be considered the worst breed for apartments due to its size, energy level, decibel level, odor, and grooming. Unfortunately, Flat-Coated Retrievers & Labrador Retrievers do not have a positive reputation as canines that do well in apartments.

While most canines can be left home alone for six to eight hours, there are exceptions. Examine the summary below to compare how Flat-Coated Retrievers & Labrador Retrievers react when left alone.

๐Ÿ’งCold Weather Tolerance

When temperatures fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, some cold-averse canines may begin to experience discomfort. If temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, owners of small dogs, dogs with thin coats, and very young, elderly, or ill canines should pay close attention to their pets’ health.

When temperatures fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, all proprietors must know that their canines may be at risk of developing hypothermia and frostbite. Fortunately, both breeds tolerate frigid weather well, so as long as you adhere to the aforementioned guidelines, they should be fine and may even appreciate the cold.

๐ŸŒžHot Weather Tolerance

Depending on where you reside, you should select a dog that can withstand extreme temperatures. Regarding the Flat-Coated Retriever & Labrador Retriever, these breeds tolerate humid weather well, but you should still exercise caution when the temperature is high.

During hot weather, provide shelter and water and venture out early or late in the evening when it is calmer. Additionally, avoid pavements; if the ground is too heated to contact for a few seconds with your hand, it is too hot for paws.

What Makes a Labrador and a Flat-Coated Retriever Better?

Nearly all Labrador retrievers’ characteristics are also present in flat-coated retrievers. However, these puppies possess several features that set them apart from Labradors. For instance, they are far better watchdogs than Labradors. Flat-Coated Retrievers are a better choice than Labradors if you want a sporty dog.

The greatest dog of all time is, without a doubt, a Labrador. The finest traits among all dogs are high sociability, a pleasant temperament, and sports prowess. The training of Labrador retrievers is simpler than that of Flat-coated retrievers. Labs don’t get sidetracked quickly (unlike FC retrievers). For services like guiding, rehabilitation, search and rescue, and any other activities demanding complete obedience, Labradors are favored.

Who Should Get a Labrador and a Flat-Coated Retriever?

Compared to Labradors, Flat-Coated Retrievers are far more athletic. Therefore, this breed is your finest option if you’re seeking a friend for various experiences (such as hunting and tracking). Additionally, since they hustle less than Labs, Flat-coated retrievers get along nicely with older persons. But these dogs shed a lot because of their long, wavy coats. You must thus be ready to meet their grooming demands.

Labrador is a breed that thrives on outside exploration and gathering aquatic and land-based sports. This breed is perfect for playing, running, and walking your dog. Labradors may also be a fantastic option for households with extensive social circles where they must interact with many people. This is because labs are well-behaved among visitors and even total strangers.

It’s important to note that labs need plenty of room to run about and play. As a result, whether you live in an apartment or a tiny cottage, be sure to walk your dog regularly.

Tips for Bringing Home a Healthy Labrador and Flat-Coated Retriever Puppy

flat-coated retriever vs labrador

You may take a few steps to ensure that any Labrador or flat-coated retriever you bring home will be healthy and won’t have any of these health issues. The first thing to remember is that you shouldn’t buy a puppy from an animal store and bring it home. These are more likely to be unhealthy and need more proper documentation. There are several reasons why getting a puppy from a pet shop is a terrible choice, including the fact that they may be difficult to house-train & are often unsocialized.

Selecting a trustworthy breeder will be crucial. The Flat-Coated Retriever & Labrador Society of America has several breeders as members. This is a fantastic resource for finding a breeder referral service online. This guarantees that the breeder you choose will care for the pups and adhere to the guidelines to provide the healthiest possible conditions for the parents and the puppies.

Although a vet check is wonderful, it cannot replace the required genetic health tests. The supporting documentation demonstrates this. Most of the behavioral & health issues present in this breed do not manifest in the early stages of development. If you locate an adult dog of this breed that doesn’t have these difficulties, probably, they won’t subsequently have the problems. You should see a vet you can rely on as soon as possible after choosing the dog, whether a puppy or an adult.

Your veterinarian will be a great resource for identifying some obvious difficulties. It can assist you in setting up the proper routine to help you avoid many of the typical health problems this dog may have.

Proper Caring of Flat-Coated Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers

The Labrador Retriever and the Flat-Coated Retriever are well-known and adoring dog breeds. Although their unique qualities may cause minor discrepancies, they need the same care. Here are some basic recommendations for taking good care of both breeds:


Give your dog a balanced, premium food appropriate for its size, age, and level of exercise. Observe the dog food manufacturer’s suggested feeding recommendations. To avoid obesity, which may cause several health problems, don’t overeat.


The robust, water-resistant double coat of the Flat-Coated Retriever & Labrador Retriever both needs regular care. At least once or twice a week, brush their coats to remove stray hair and avoid matting. More regular brushing may be required during shedding seasons. To maintain appropriate oral hygiene, people should periodically trim their nails, check their ears for dirt or infection, and clean their teeth.


Both types are active and need frequent exercise to engage their bodies and minds. Offer them regular playtimes, runs, or walks to help them burn off energy. Both breeds are excellent at these sports, so try fetching, swimming, or agility training.

๐Ÿ‘Socialization and Training

Both breeds are simple to teach since they are clever and eager to please. Use prizes, praise, and positive reinforcement tactics while teaching young animals. To encourage positive behavior and self-assurance, socialize your dog breed from a young age by introducing them to various people, animals, and situations.

๐Ÿ‘Health Care

Plan frequent vet visits for immunizations, checkups, and preventative care. Maintain the appropriate immunization schedule and parasite prevention practices. Be knowledgeable about breed-specific health conditions, including hip dysplasia and particular cancers, and talk to your veterinarian about them. Your dog should maintain a healthy weight to reduce joint issues.

๐Ÿ‘Mental Exercise

Both breeds are clever and need mental exercise to keep them from becoming bored and acting destructively. Give them puzzling toys, engaging video games, and training activities to stimulate their intellect. Participate in canine sports like agility and nose work or take obedience lessons.

Remember that every dog is unique, so customize your care routine to suit your dog’s particular requirements and preferences. Regular affection, care, and quality time spent together for your dog’s general well-being are equally crucial.

Flat-Coated Retrievers vs. Labrador Common Health Issues

flat-coated retriever vs labrador

Although Labradors and Flat-Coated Retrievers are usually healthy breeds, all dogs are susceptible to certain health problems. Here are some typical health issues related to each breed.

๐Ÿ“œHip Dysplasia

This hereditary disorder affects the hip joint and causes arthritis and lameness. The risk may be reduced by routine screening & breeding from parents who have healthy hip scores.


Compared to several other breeds, flat-coated retrievers and labradors have a greater cancer incidence. Hemangiosarcoma (blood vessel cancer) & osteosarcoma (bone cancer) are the most prevalent kinds in this breed.


Labradors and flat-coated retrievers have a propensity to overeat and put on weight, which may result in obesity. To avoid health problems associated with being overweight, it is crucial to monitor their nutrition and provide frequent exercise.

๐Ÿ“œTorsion and Bloat

Additionally, your Labrador or flat-coated retriever can have bloat and torsion. The stomach will be able to rotate around on itself in this particular scenario. The dog’s blood supply will be cut off when it becomes bad enough. Bloat will attack abruptly, so a dog that was seemingly healthy and bounding about at one point can be in discomfort and perhaps pass just a few hours later.

๐Ÿ“œLuxating Patellas

Patellar luxation is another problem that flat-coated retrievers & labrador breeds often experience. At this point, the dog’s kneecap may move in and out of position. If this is left untreated, the dog may have intermittent lameness. This condition may be resolved surgically.

Frequently Asked Questions

How rare are Flat-Coated Retrievers?

Due to their attributes and characteristics, Flat-Coated Retrievers aren’t the best dogs for the majority of families and are thus rather uncommon nowadays. These dogs have a high level of intelligence, are very energetic, and often continue to behave like puppies well into maturity.

What are the two varieties of Labradors?

The English Labrador & American Labrador are the two different varieties of the breed. From English-bred blood comes the English-bred Lab. Compared to the American-bred Lab, it has a distinct overall look. The Labs of English breeding are bulkier, heavier, and more blocky.

Are Flat-Coated Retrievers capable of aggression?

According to the health study, 40 women and 60 men have acted aggressively against other canines. Only nine males and three females were recorded for aggression against humans, which was significantly less common. The Flat-Coated Retriever is very devoted to humans by nature.

How healthy are Flat-Coated Retrievers?

Cancer, hip dysplasia, and luxating patellas are just a few of the major inherited health issues that the Flat-Coated Retriever may experience. The American Flat-Coated Retriever community is very active in matters pertaining to the well-being of their dogs.

A Flat-Coated Retriever is made up of which two breeds?

In particular, water spaniels, collies, and St. John’s water canines from Newfoundland generated the flat-coated retriever. The modern flat-coated retriever is a multitalented animal.

Final Thought

In this post, we offer you an idea of what to expect from Labrador Retrievers and Flat-Coated Retrievers. Read their whole breed profile to learn more about their characteristics, general health, temperament, and more. Labrador Retrievers are often more laid-back and simpler to teach than Flat-Coated Retrievers, who are more likely to be lively and active. The final decision between these two breeds will be based on the person’s lifestyle, tastes, and priorities. Both types are fantastic options for anybody looking for a loyal and caring canine friend. Do you want to know the flat-coated retriever eye problem? Click Here!

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, manโ€™s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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