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Yellow Flatcoated Retrievers

It has been brought to the attention of the Flatcoated Retriever Society that there are some breeders who are intentionally breeding yellow Flatcoats or are intending to introduce them into their breeding programmes. These aims are unsuitable for a variety of reasons and following a discussion at a recent committee meeting it was felt that the following statement should be issued to make everyone aware of the background of the current situation.



In the early 1900s Labradors and Golden Retrievers were emerging as breeds in their own right but, as bloodlines were short, interbreeding was often carried out and at this time the same dogs could be found in Flatcoat, Labrador and Golden Retriever pedigrees. After the Second World War Flatcoats had become scarce and again some interbreeding was carried out in order to preserve the breed.

During the years after the war there were also dogs who had no Kennel Club registration Certificates and ‘2nd Class Registrations’ were allowed. This entailed taking a dog to an authority on the supposed breed and if this expert decided it was a typical specimen a form was signed. This then entitled the dog to be put on the ‘B’ register and its progeny were eligible for Kennel Club Registration.

Due to the foregoing circumstances the retriever breed have at times had close and interwoven blood relationships but this does not detract from the fact that in 1923 the original Breed Standard was drawn up which stated that the Flatcoated Retriever was black (liver was accepted in the 1940s). When most of the cross breeding was taking place genetics, and the mode of inheritance, were not widely known or even considered.

Black is a dominant inherited colour and unless both parents carry yellow genes one genetically pure black parent will ensure that only black puppies are produced. Therefore, if a Golden Retriever or yellow Labrador or Flatcoat is crossed with a pure black Flatcoat only black puppies will result. However these puppies will carry yellow recessive (hidden) genes and these genes can remain hidden for many generations until two dogs, who both carry this gene, are mated and then some yellow puppies can be born.


There are three options available for breeders of yellow Flatcoat puppies:


1.      Do not register these puppies but ensure they go to owners who appreciate that they are not registered and should never be     bred from

2.      Register the puppies with the Kennel Club and show their colour as yellow but also use the endorsement (b) which states        ‘Progeny not eligible for Registration’. Again new owners should appreciate that they should never be bred from and only the  breeder can remove this endorsement.

3.     Yellow Flatcoats are not recognised by the Kennel Club so should not be placed if shown under KC rules.

If yellow progeny are registered with the Kennel Club a record of their breeding is available. Registration certificates should be endorsed “Progeny not eligible for registration and they will be listed as “NBS (yellow)” by the Kennel Club. If these puppies are not registered the Society would be grateful for relevant information about them.

It is important that, when possible, owners should be aware if their Flatcoat could carry the yellow gene. If your Flatcoat has produced yellow progeny you should inform any person who would have a direct interest. If you have yellow puppies in a litter the owners of the black siblings should be informed that their puppy could also carry the yellow gene. If a dog has sired yellow puppies any bitch owner wishing to use him should be informed.

It should be remembered that Flatcoats can now be DNA tested to determine whether they carry the yellow gene.


The yellow gene exists in some Flatcoats  and therefore yellow puppies will occasionally be produced, However, before breeding if it is known that your dog or bitch could carry the yellow gene every effort should be made to reduce the possibility of producing them i.e. do not use similar yellow producing lines. Guidance can always be sought from experienced knowledgeable breeders or consult your veterinary surgeon as Flatcoats can now be DNA tested to determine whether they carry the yellow gene.

If registered it is recommended that their registration certificates are endorsed “Progeny not eligible for registration” and also registered as “NBS (yellow)” by The Kennel Club.

Finally it is considered unethical to breed from a yellow Flatcoat and it would not be in the best interests of the breed.