Silly old bear
|Barked: Tue Dec 23, '08 12:23pm PST |
|This is from user [url=http://www.dogforums.com/members/6214-wabanafcr.html]Wabanafcr[ /url] on Dogforum.com, a Flat-Coated breeder. She was answering a post about dogs that are good with children, but there's some useful info here.
I've owned and bred Flatcoats for nearly 15 years. They are great with kids if they are TAUGHT to be gentle. They are, by nature, boisterous and outgoing dogs, and can easily harm a small child or frail person without meaning to. They need lots and lots of early training or you will have a mess on your hands.
Flatcoat puppies are notoriously "mouthy," and will grab and pull clothing and even skin--they are very much still a working retriever and want something in their mouth at all times--if you don't teach them what they can and cannot carry around, they will make do with whatever they find. They are smart and creative, and if you don't give them enough to do, they will make it up on their own.
They are "doggy" dogs--love digging, mud, puddles, chewing and can even become nuisance barkers if they are bored. They MUST be with their people and do not make good outside-only dogs at all. They love to learn, love to do things, love water and swimming and running and playing.
They do shed, but they have no undercoat, so it isn't like a Golden. We find the hair tends to collect in corners and under chairs, so fairly easy to clean up after.
Not sure I'd call them a "hardy" breed, as the average lifespan is only about 7 1/2 - 8 years old due to a huge cancer problem in the breed. Cancer runs in every bloodline, so any breeder claiming they don't have cancer in their lines is one to avoid (very small gene pool). More than just a couple of dogs die very young each year from cancer. Dogs from our house/lines have tended to live, on average, to about 10 years of age, but we have lost several at age 5 to cancer (malignant histiocytosis and osteosarcoma).
Flatcoats also can have hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, allergies, bloat, glaucoma, PRA, problems with ear infections, liver and kidney problems, and many of them can and will eat socks, rocks, pot holders, small towels, underwear, etc.
Having said all of that, they can be a great family dog for someone willing to put a lot of time into teaching them manners. They are smart and love to learn, but get bored with a lot of repetition, so lots of short training sessions work better than one long one.
The majority of Flatcoat breeders are very protective of this breed. If you find one that isn't, that should be a red flag. IF you find one that insists the entire litter is show quality and all puppies must be shown, that should be a red flag. If you find one that doesn't sell puppies on spay/neuter (and they are out there), that should be a red flag. If you find one that doesn't have, at a minimum, clearances for hips, patellas, eyes AND gonioscopy (another eye exam), that is a red flag. If you find a breeder that claims their lines don't have a cancer problem, that is a huge red flag.
From what it sounds like, a Flatcoat MIGHT work for this family, as long as they do their homework ahead of time. A well-bred Flatcoat puppy is not at all cheap, but a good breeder will back the dog up with ready knowledge and advice, a health guarantee, and will be able to tell you what they expect from this particular breeding. Anything less, and you should run in the other direction.
"Flatcoats are high-energy, high-drive, intelligent and creative. If they don't get the exercise they need, they will drive you insane. They love to chew things--including walls and furniture. They love to be dirty--rolling in any puddle, poo or whatever they can find. If they are bored they will bark. And bark. And bark. They will eat anything, including kitchen towels, socks and underpants. They are rough and rowdy and can easily injure a small child or fragile adult just with their exuberance. They take a lot of training, but the training cannot be harsh or repetitive or they will quit working. They are not goldens or labs by any long stretch of the imagination--they are very much still bred to work all day, every day."
Edited by author Tue Dec 23, '08 12:29pm PST
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