Denzil (May 2009 – March 2023) was a Flat Coated Retriever (flatcoat) who lived in Mevagissey, Cornwall. Born in Wiltshire in within a litter of seven dogs, Denzil’s kennel name was Kingsmarston Black Opal. His pet name Denzil is a traditional Cornish/Celtic name meaning ‘strong fort’ – but he was mainly named after the late comedian Jethro’s imaginary friend. Denzil was well known around Mevagissey and Portmellon and loved visiting the Isles of Scilly.
About Flat-Coated Retrievers
The flatcoat was bred to be an intelligent gun dog, with good all-round retrieving abilities: both ground and air scenting, able to work on all terrain, but also being particularly good in water. With a long and soft mouth and able to retrieve all sizes and types of game – the flatcoat was originally bred and is still favoured by game keepers.
The breed was stabilised in the 1930’s after about a hundred years of development through mixing mainly setters and newfoundlands, and it is believed to a lesser extent, other breeds such as labradors, pointers and sheep dogs.
The predominant characteristics of the flatcoat today are those of a setter’s single-coat and body shape (often mistaken for a ‘black setter’ although flatcoats are shorter, more muscular and have wider skulls) and a newfoundland’s water confidence and attributes, including large webbed paws.
As well as being strong and able to work all day, the flatcoat was also bred to be a happy, gentle and biddable family dog when at home. The flatcoat is well know for its friendly disposition, with tail constantly wagging and lots of licking of other dogs and people. They are excellent with young children, other dogs and animals. When two flatcoats meet they will often lick each other’s mouths – this is called the ‘flatcoat kiss’, as shown in some photos above.
Similar to other retriever breeds, many flatcoats carry genetic predispositions which may lead to medical problems. However, they can stay youthful for a long time.
In 2011 a nine-year old flatcoat called Jet, kennel name The Kentuckian, won Best in Show at Crufts. At Crufts 2015, a five-year old flatcoat from Sweden called Dublin, kennel name Castlerock Simply Magic, came second winning Reserve Best in Show. In 2022, Baxer, kennel name Almanza Backseat Driver, a six-year old liver-coloured flatcoat from Norway won Best in Show.