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Flatcoated Retrievers



Marco, the flat coated retriever one day just walked into our lives. His owners were moving to a small flat and could not take this lively three year old with them. They had heard that we would like to have an other dog and they asked us to take him home with us...... and so -after twenty years of shepard dogs an entirely different kind of dog ran on our grounds.

That was quite an experience and hard getting used to. Not just for us, but for him as well.

Originally he came from Friesland, then he lived for three years in the country in Groningen in a house with a big garden and next to a canal where he was used to going swimming at least once a day.

Lucky for him we have a large garden as well so he had enough space, but he was not used to walking on streets, going into a car, let alone a bus or a train and he could not handle a leash. He hardly knew how to cope with traffic, so walking with him in the village was terrible.

Marco's story from 1999 to 2007

 winter 1999


The first thing to do of course was going to a training. He had never been to a dog-training course in his life, had been used to living free and do as he wished in a garden and for him going out had been hunting birds and swimming in the canal next to his home. It took over 5 lessons before it began to dawn on him that he had to walk with us and not run too far away. Very slowly we build up the training, except in winter, when the land is too wet and slippery. After a couple of month he would run with us beside the bicycle, so this way he could get enough exercise and we would take him to the wild in the northern parts of the harbour several times a week so he could run "loose".  

July 1999

As soon as I would get out of the car with him and march toward the farm where we held the dog-training course, his tail would start wagging. He enjoyed the training tremendously. I could make him sit and walk some distance away. He would still pull on his leash, sometimes throwing me in the air if he saw something he wanted to examine, because he is such a strong dog.

Two diploma's!

Wat heeft hij een mooi hoofd ...

Marco op vakantie

Autumn 1999.

During this period we were finally able to let him loose on the beach. Before this autumn he would disappear out of sight or try to swim to England. Now he would run around us in large circles. He had become more sure of himself. Contact with humans and other dogs was no problem at all. But sometimes we would need to set him down somewhere quietly because he would become too exited. Water was still his favourite place to dive into and catching ducks out of the air his favourite sport. The third training season started. And the new neighbour across the street came to live here with a Flat coated Retriever bitch called "Jill". Living in our village became better and better for him

Winter 2000

We finished the third and final training course and at the exam he behaved beautifully. How hard it must have been for him to stay down and watch me disappear from sight (!) And how beautifully he passed all the instructions.....

Three diploma's!

Marco in de Maas
zomer 2001in caravan

Spring 2000

But after the third course he was fed up with training and for a while he behaved very badly, running after all the bitches, jumping through thick hawthorn hedges and jumping more than 6 feet over fences to get to his friend Jill. Once he ran for yards with me on the street sliding after him, holding his leash and more than once he almost pulled me with him into ditches when he wanted to go after some ducks. For a couple of weeks he would bark at all the children passing by.

This year he started to grow gray hairs. We were worried but it happens relatively often with young retrievers. Five years old now.

Autumn 2001

He had to learn to run besides the bicycle again this year because we had some illnesses and so had been too busy the last two years, But it proved to be too dangerous to do this on the road, since he never really got used to the traffic and would try to cross the street as soon as he saw something interesting on the other side, heedless of trucks or cars passing by. So now we only rode the bike in the woods. He still was very enthusiastic, lively and sporty and we were still in love with him. Twice he had been very ill but recovered.

His favourite game this autumn was teasing hedgehogs. We have hedgehogs in the garden very regularly and even now he will take them in his mouth and we have to order him to let go and then give him a treat. In the meantime the hedgehog he dropped will find his way out. It must hurt him, but still every autumn, at least once a week he comes in the house with one of them held carefully in his mouth


Summer 2002

Seven and a half years old, still playful, lively and happy


Eight years old and now five years with us. I started this homepage on him five years ago. He is becoming more gray and sometimes he is a bit stiff. Lately he has been asking for more attention. But outside he is still active and still runs after the birds.


Nine and a half years old and in spring he was out of breath a couple of times, like having asthma. We were worried and spend our holidays on the beach not far from our house. But he recovered and does not behave like an old man, He is still friendly to everyone we meet and walks with his tale wagging whenever we go out.

Marco augustus 2004

Winter 2005

Still alive and kicking. He still appears to be very happy even though he is a bit stiff in his joints. And we found a very simple solution to resolve the fact that he was feeling lonely at night and kept trying to climb the stairs to our bedroom: we keep the radio on and he listens to classical music all night (!)

February 2005

Marco, with girlfriend at our home. When she is visiting they race endlessly around the house and garden, jumping over hedges and pots and sofa's


Marco op bank
achter de kerk in de schaduw

Summer 2005

Temperatures over 30C and then it is best sitting quietly in the shadow of the church overlooking the steaming fields.





Marco April 2006

januari 2007

Wednesday januari 24th, 2007

This afternoon our faithfull friend Marco died at the age of nearly 12 For many years he gave us joy and traveled with us on our road, climbed the Mont Ségur with us, visited the cave of Betlehem, and entered the cathedral at Chartres and other holy places; even at this old age he greeted everyone passing with wagging tail and loud voice, teased the local hedgehogs and chased away cats and other unwelcome visitors.

This week it became clear that his body no longer would carry him and with pain in our heart we said goodbye this afternoon. We let him go. He died at home in his own dogbasket.

We will miss his cheerfull character, his friendship and his presence.


  • The Flat coated Retriever - Paddy Petch ISBN 0 903264 55 2
  • The World Of Dogs, Flat coated Retrievers - Phillips, Brenda (T.F.H. Publications, 288 p. about € 45,00
  • Flat-Coated Retrievers Today - Joan Mason

Navigation by WebRing.

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owned by Marco the flatcoated retriever.

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