If you have just read the Breed Standard you may wonder what this is about as the Standard states colour should be black or liver only. However, as a result of interbreeding between retriever breeds following the war years when the gene pools were depleted, some black flatcoats carry a recessive gene for the yellow colour, which if mated to another carrier, can produce yellow puppies in a litter of blacks from black parents. If only one parent carries the recessive gene, the resulting puppies will be all black but approximately half will themselves inherit the yellow gene, as will half of the black puppies from litters that contain yellows. It is important to remember that all yellows are only produced when both parents carry the recessive gene. A DNA test is available which can determine whether a particular dog carries the yellow gene.
Yellow flatcoats are very much flatcoats. They do not normally look like golden retrievers and have all the characteristics of the flatcoat breed. As the breed standard excludes this colour yellow flatcoats are not shown or bred from.
The Flatcoated Retriever Club of Scotland recommends that breeders who have yellow puppies register them with the Kennel Club but have the Registration Certificates endorsed ‘Progeny not eligible for registration’ which will deter people who have yellow flatcoats breeding from them.
Despite this yellow flatcoats are not freaks or poor examples of the breed, indeed many of the breeds top show winners have yellow siblings, parents who are yellow gene carriers or other close relatives who carry the gene.
The Flatcoated Retriever Society has become aware that there are some breeders who are intentionally breeding yellow Flatcoats or are intending to introduce them into their breeding programmes. These aims are considered unsuitable, and has prompted the Society to issue a statement on the Society web site.