Many people – even gundog judges and trainers do not always know that the flatcoated retriever is not only a dual purpose retriever – but he is also a great all rounder when it comes to working skills. Apart from gundog work they love all kinds of active sports and perform really well when handled correctly. This can be tricky as a flatcoated needs a fair, clear but soft hand with well defined (but surely violence free) boundaries.
The flatcoated retriever is a retriever, surely, but the breed has been build with more than just retriever blood. Their sublime swimming skills are thanks to the newfoundlander and setter blood brought the eagerness to hunt, speed and an excellent nose. You may find individuals showing their setter blood more than others and these ones tend to be rather independent and easy to excite. I am very fortunate to live in a country where natural hunting abilities is being appreciated in certain tests as this allows these types to excel.
Because my native country’s retriever club is having a bit of a cross road conflict about a new test system so I decided to test it out myself as we were on holiday in the region anyways.
Both Lotte and Kaspar were entered and Kaspar passed with 1st category and Lotte was given a 3rd category meaning she needs some more training to pass, but the quality is there. Of course I was very pleased with Kaspar’s achievement – he did really well. At the same time it made it clear to me that a field trial system such as the Danish one that is up now, will easily exclude some of the more lively individuals as they will have a difficulty dealing with the high amount impulses involved in the Introduction Test. This will put pressure on the gene pool of the Flatcoated Retriever which is already threatened to narrow down to much. So I am worried about the future for my breed if a whole country sets the pace like this in a test system. .
Nevertheless we enjoyed quality time with our dogs in beautiful and nature rich Denmark.
And not the least – my first own bred dog has now a field trial qualification on top of his other national and international achievements – and he has still to turn 2. His sister will surely follow but she is a bit of a wild cat sometimes – I train her in her own speed to avoid unnecessary pressure. But no doubt Lotte is a diamond in the rough who will shine at the right time, sharing glitters of her setter – origin.