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Black Golden retriever or the Flat-Coated retriever!

Black Golden retriever or the Flat-Coated retriever!

We all know and love our cream-colored and red Golden Retrievers. They are one of the most popular dog breeds for a reason. But, have you ever seen a black Golden Retriever?

These dogs are great with people, loving and loyal. They also have many characteristics of your traditional Golden Retriever. But, the black Golden Retriever is not part of the Golden retriever family. As much as they resemble the true Goldens, they aren’t black golden retrievers!

No need to even say that the American Kennel Club does not acknowledge black Golden Retrievers. According to the AKC breed standard, they recognize only dark golden, golden, and golden colored Golden retrievers. They can’t acknowledge something that does not exist.

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Do Golden retrievers with a black coat exist?

Purebred Golden Retrievers can’t be black, there is no such thing. There are light Golden retrievers, dark Golden retrievers, even red Golden retrievers. They can be many shades of gold, but a black Golden retriever does not exist.

And the reason why lies in their genes. Their beautiful cream coat is the result of a recessive gene. If you paid attention in your biology class, you probably already know about recessive and dominant genes and how they are passed on. A purebred Golden Retriever cannot be black because its color is a result of two recessive alleles on a chromosome.

Dogs indeed have a specific gene called the MC1R gene, which controls their skin and coat color. It also controls the production of pigment in melanocytes, which controls the color of skin or fur. It is also true that Genetic mutations can cause some color variations. But they will rarely cause a purebred Golden Retriever to be black. The chances are so slim that it’s pretty much impossible. The black color or black pigment is a dominant gene that the classic goldies just don’t carry. And that is the science behind why black Golden retrievers don´t exist, they are and always will have a coat that is golden color.

So the answer is pretty simple. If you think you saw a black Golden Retriever, it probably was another dog breed resembling it. In most cases, it’s a black-colored flat-coated retriever.

Breeds that could pass as a black golden retriever

There are a few breeds that look like they could be black golden retrievers. But obviously, they aren’t.

These are some dogs that may look like black golden retrievers as well:

  • Flat-coated retrievers
  • Black labrador or black lab and golden retriever mixed breed
  • Labrador retriever or golden retriever mixes
  • Golden retriever and black German shepherd mix

Any mix between the Golden retriever and a black breed can result in a mixed breed that might fool you into thinking black Golden retrievers exist.

Similarities between golden retrievers and flat-coated retrievers:

  • Both have to feather in their legs and tails
  • Originally bred as hunting dogs
  • Have puppy-ish attitudes for a long time
  • Energetic breeds that require lots of exercises
  • loving and happy dogs
  • Tend to chew and jump

Beware of black golden retriever scams

If a breeder tells you they’re selling a purebred black golden retriever puppy, please don’t fall for this! It’s for sure a scam, they’re probably just trying to make extra money! If you want to find a black golden, it will be like trying to find a unicorn. You can’t find something that does not exist. Yes, black dogs that look like goldens do exist. But that’s about it.

Its simple black golden retrievers don’t exist! Anybody who is telling or selling you otherwise probably has other motives in mind. So, please be careful about trusting them.

Difference between the Flat-coated and Golden Retriever

While they are pretty similar dog breeds and a lot of people get them confused, there are still certain differences. Both in their appearance and their behaviors. The main difference is their color, but we already cleared that up.

These dogs are also wavy coated with longer fur, but, their coat is nowhere near as thick as the one of a Goldy. But that’s good news! That means less shedding and less vacuuming. And isn’t that just what every dog owner wants. Grooming will be easier too. But you will still have to brush your dog’s coat regularly.

Also, their personality is a bit different. Flat-coated retrievers are more balanced. You will have fewer problems walking them off-leash. They don’t have such a strong desire to roam around and explore. But, they are also less bubbly than Goldens. That is a downside for all people who love this breed for their big heart and even bigger personality.

Flat-coated retriever traits

The Flat-Coat was a popular hunting dog until the end of World War I when Labrador and Golden Retrievers overtook him. His population dwindled to dangerously low levels, and he flirted with extinction more than once. Fortunately, by the mid-1960s, his followers had been able to bring him back from the edge. The Flat-Coat never regained its early popularity, but breeders see this as a benefit. It has aided them in retaining his natural working ability, intelligence, and wonderfully goofy personality. 

He is still considered an uncommon breed, ranking 100th out of the 155 breeds and varieties listed with the American Kennel Club. Expect to spend a year or more on a waiting list if you want a Flat-Coat, not to mention the third-degree from a protective breeder who wants to make sure you’ll be the perfect home for one of his or her puppies.


We talked about Golden retrievers and Flat-coated retrievers and concluded that the latter is a completely separate breed. So, we should get to know this breed a bit more.

Let´s talk about the physical characteristics of this purebred dog. Flat-coated retrievers can be found in two colors: black and liver. But, no matter if they have a pure black coat or liver coat, these dogs have sleek, medium-length, thick coats of fine hair. 

The ears are positioned near the head. The eyes are either dark brown or hazel. The legs and tail have a lot of feathers on them. Because they are joyful dogs, the tail of a typical flat-coated retriever wags continuously. 

black golden retriever

The usual heights of male flat-coated retrievers range from 23 to 24.5 inches, whereas the average heights of female flat-coated retrievers range between 22 and 23.5 inches. Weights range from 60 to 80 pounds, with females weighing on the lighter end of the scale and males weighing on the heavier end of it. This dog has an average lifespan of approximately ten years.


Flat-coated retrievers make excellent companions and pet dogs for families. They have a kind and caring attitude toward youngsters, are nice to everyone and are quite gregarious. They are content to spend their time with their family, and they thrive on affection and attention. 

When it comes to temperament, the flat-coated retriever may appear to be permanently youthful which is why they get along with small children so well! But while this youthful energy is frequently adorable, it can present difficulties for owners who are under the impression that all dogs attain adulthood by the time they reach the age of one year. The flat-coat has a long time to mature compared to other breeds; he may still appear puppy-like well after reaching his third birthday. We also want to stress that you should never leave dogs and small children alone, no matter how well behaved the dog is. Accidents can always happen.

Interesting fact: Flat-coated retrievers have a higher impulse and natural tendency to roam than pure Golden retrievers, and they may require more exercise daily. This is because they are very high-energy dogs.

Flat-coated retrievers, like other retrievers, enjoy carrying items around in their mouths, but they are not known to chew excessively on their food. They are well-known for being intelligent and sensitive, and they have shown a strong response to positive, non-coercive teaching techniques. So, you shouldn´t have a hard time training them.


Flat-Coated Retrievers are typically healthy, however, they are susceptible to some health issues, as are all breeds. Not all Flat-Coats will contract any or all of these ailments, but it’s vital to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one. 

If you’re looking to buy a puppy, look for a reputable breeder who can show you health certifications for both of your puppy’s parents. Health clearances demonstrate that a dog has been tested and cleared of a certain condition. This way you will be able to take better care of your dog because you will know they don´t have any health risks.

Even though these dogs are generally healthy, as a dog owner you should still know about the most common health problems these dogs face and be aware of them. The main reason is that you will be able to spot symptoms on time and maybe even save your dog´s life. 

Most common health problems:

Hip dysplasia – a genetic disorder in which the thighbone does not fit securely into the hip joint. Some dogs exhibit pain and lameness on one or both back legs, but a dog with hip dysplasia may show no signs of discomfort. Hip dysplasia is thought to be hereditary, but it can be exacerbated by external factors such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet or injuries.

Lymphosarcoma – is one of the most prevalent tumors in dogs, and it can occur in a variety of organs including the spleen, gastrointestinal system, lymph nodes, liver, and bone marrow. Chemotherapy can be used to treat cancer.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus – also known as gastric torsion or bloat is a potentially fatal illness that affects huge, deep-chested dogs, particularly if they are fed one large meal per day, eat quickly, drink significant amounts of water quickly, or run intensely after eating. Bloating happens when the stomach becomes inflated with gas or air and twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to expel the excess air in his stomach, and blood flow to the heart is obstructed.

The dog’s blood pressure drops and he goes into shock. The dog may die if medical assistance is not provided immediately. If your dog has a swollen tummy, is drooling excessively, and retching without vomiting, he may be suffering from bloat. He may also be agitated, melancholy, lethargic, and feeble, with a fast heart rate. If you detect any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Osteosarcoma – a severe bone cancer that typically affects huge and giant breeds. The first sign of osteosarcoma is lameness, but x-rays will be required to determine whether the reason is malignancy. Osteosarcoma is aggressively treated, usually with amputation and chemotherapy. Dogs can live for nine months to two years or more with treatment. Fortunately, dogs adapt well to life on three legs and do not have the same chemotherapy side effects as people, such as nausea and hair loss.

Caring for them

The Flat-Coated Retriever is the ideal city or rural dog. He has a moderately high energy level and would do best in a home where he can run and swim frequently. Expect to exercise him for 90 minutes each day, or two 45-minute walks, runs, or other rigorous activities such as retrieve or agility or flyball training. 

Take it easy on the puppies. They require around 5 minutes of exercise every day for each month of age. So, if your Flat-Coat puppy is 4 months old, he will require approximately 20 minutes of activity every day. Excessive exercise may strain his still-developing joints. 

Instead of putting food out all the time weigh his food and feed him twice a day. If you’re not sure if he’s overweight, give him the eye and hands-on tests. First, take a glance down at him. There should be a waist visible. Then put your hands on his back, thumbs down his spine, fingers stretched downward. Without pressing too much, you should be able to feel but not see his ribs. If you can’t, he should eat less and exercise more. 

ALSO READ: Fat dog: What to do if your pooch is obese


Your Flat-Coat should be easy to housetrain. Crate training is recommended as a supplement to housetraining and to keep them from getting into things he shouldn’t when you’re not there to watch. 

This dog is likely to have one unpleasant habit: eating his excrement, or poop… The only foolproof way to avoid this is to take up his stool and throw it away right away. 

Begin training your Flat-Coat the day you bring him home. He’s a quick study who wants to satisfy you. You should know that he is sensitive, and severe verbal or physical corrections will cause him to shut down and cease working for you. Use positive reinforcement strategies such as praise, play, and food rewards to be kind and consistent. 


Flat-Coated Retrievers are low-maintenance dogs that require only weekly brushing unless the dog is shedding. Then you’ll probably want to brush their fur daily to keep the amount of loose hair under control. You can tidy up the ears, paws, belly, and tail tips by trimming them. 

What many people forget is brushing their dog’s teeth. Brush your Retriever´s teeth at least twice a week to avoid gum disease and foul breath. 

Nail trimming once or twice a month is also a must. They’re too long if you can hear them clicking on the floor. Short, carefully trimmed nails keep your dog´s feet in good condition.

Conclusion – Truth about the black Golden retriever

Black golden retrievers may not be purebred, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t amazing dogs! You can love them just as much as a classic Golden Retriever. And now an interesting fact we have for you is that these dogs are a much better fit for some people! Golden retrievers are very high maintenance, and a Flat-coat retriever or any of the above-mentioned mixes for that matter might be much easier to groom and easier to take care of. 

In most cases, they will have so many of the qualities we love in Golden Retriever. For example, they have that beautiful coat, they are energetic, loyal, love to play around, and are great as family dogs. It’s worth checking these beauties out.

Amazing dogs, different shades

We know how popular Goldens are, but there are other amazing dog breeds as well. The flat-coated black retriever may not be a Golden Retriever, but they are still pretty amazing dogs. He is easy to train, the perfect family dog, and also loves to swim. Now isn’t that an amazing combination?

Just like Golden retrievers they also live for 10–12 years and stand about 23–24 inches tall. They will weigh between 65 and 75 pounds, and they are as affectionate, friendly, and somewhat goofy as Golden retrievers.

The reason why they make such amazing family dogs is that they are extremely sociable. He will always want to be around people and will mope around the house if ignored for too long. He makes sense as a family dog because there are more people to pay attention to it. They are patient and gentle play well with children and are happy to join on their adventures. It is a perfect playmate for younger kids.