curly-coated retriever

Curly-Coated Retrievers: A Fun and Loyal Breed

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Are you looking for a loyal and affectionate companion? If that’s a YES then consider the Curly-Coated Retriever — this breed might be the perfect fit for you! Never heard of this breed?  Never seen one?  Well, they are beautiful and loyal retrievers that make great family pets. 

The Curly Coat breed got its start in England.  This is one of the oldest retriever breeds with a history dating back to the 18th century.  Now you know, but there is so much more to appreciate.  Please read on to learn more about this great dog breed.

Curly-Coated Retrievers are famous for their lovely curly coats.  Their coat is naturally water-resistant helping their buoyancy and strong swimming ability in the coldest of wintry water.  These dogs truly excel at retrieving downed water fowl and are highly prized for their intelligence, confidence, pride, and athletic prowess.  

The Curly-Coated Retriever is an excellent and fun companion for active owners and families who enjoy outdoor activities like camping, hiking, swimming, and hunting.  Curly-Coats are “go-with” dogs who are always up for any new adventure whether that’s a short car ride or a  long road trip.  

So, if you’re looking for a friendly dog that is very easy to train and is tuned into your likes, then the Curly-Coated Retriever may just be your perfect match. To learn more about this fascinating breed’s history, trainability, personality traits, and much more, please read on.

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Curly-Coated Retriever History

If you are interested in getting a Curly-Coated Retriever, it is important to understand the breed’s history. Please enjoy learning more about the origins and development of this unique and beloved English breed.

Breed Origins

The Curly-Coated Retriever originated in England in the late 18th century. The breed was developed by crossing various water dogs, including the now extinct English Water Spaniel, the Poodle, and the Newfoundland.

The goal was to develop a unique hybrid dog that would be an excellent new water and field retriever.  Another main desire was to create a new dog breed that would be a loyal and affectionate companion and family dog.

Breed Development

In short order, the Curly-Coated Retriever became a popular new breed among hunters, dog trainers, and owners.  Fast-forward to America where the breed was acknowledged by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1924, and today it is still popular as a show dog, hunting dog, and a beloved family pet.

Despite its popularity, the Curly-Coated Retriever has never reached the same level of acclaim as other retriever breeds, like the Labrador and Golden Retrievers. However, those who know and love the breed appreciate its unique characteristics and loyal temperament.

One of the Curly-Coat’s most unique features is its coat. As the name implies, the breed’s coat is curly which makes it dense. While this feature provides superior protection from cold water and frigid weather, the dog must be brushed often to prevent matting and tangling.

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a fascinating and unique breed with a long and rich history. Whether you are a hunter or simply looking for a loyal, affectionate, and fun family dog, this friendly and beautiful breed should be on your ‘A’ list.

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Breed Characteristics

Physical Appearance

Curly-Coats are a medium-large breed of dog.  Males typically weigh between 60-70 lbs. standing 26 inches at the withers.  Females usually range between 60-70 lbs. and are about 24 inches at the withers. The breed has a very distinctive curly and thick double coat that is tight, and water-resistant.  Unfortunately, the coat is a burr magnet, so brushing immediately after a field adventure is usually needed. The breed has two distinctive solid colours — pure black or liver brown.

The dogs’ heads are wedge-shaped and their ears are floppy, so they have a friendly, approachable, good dog appearance. They have strong, muscular bodies and webbed feet that enable them to be excellent swimmers.

Breed Temperament

Curly-Coated Retrievers are highly intelligent.  As a rule, they are faithful and friendly. Please take note — they are easy to train and eager to please.  Curly-Coats make great family pets as well as fantastic retrievers.  This breed is very energetic and needs plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy.  These dogs are superb retrievers that are energetic and love to swim. They are great dogs for outdoor adventurers, yet they are gentle and patient with kids. Although Curly-Coats can be a bit cautious with strangers, with proper socialization training they are usually friendly with nice, new people.

Training and Care

If you’re thinking now about getting a Curly-Coated Retriever, you should know it’s not all fun and frolic.  These dogs need to be well trained to teach them proper discipline and behaviour. Training and daily care are key for them to be healthy, happy, and obedient. This section will go over the basics of training, grooming, and exercise for the Curly-Coated Retriever.

Curly-Coat Training

Remember, proper training is needed for your Curly-Coated Retriever to be well-behaved and obedient. This breed is highly intelligent and eager to please, so it’s relatively easy to train them. But, take note — they can be stubborn at times, so it’s important to be firm but kind in your training methods.  The AKC says this about Curly-Coats, “Confident, Proud, and Wickedly Smart.”  That is very true so train yours correctly — no yelling, no cussing, no hitting — be firm but kind.  

Start training your Curly-Coated Retriever as soon after weaning as possible. Begin with basic commands like sit, stay, come, and heel. If you are a bird hunter then allow your dog to get used to the sight, sound and smell of your shotgun.  Do not frighten or hurt your dog as that will only make the dog gun shy.  Train your dog well, don’t be dumb. If bird hunting is not your thing, but you want a good family outing dog, you will be hard pressed to find a more suitable breed.  Your reason for getting one of these dogs is less important than how you train the dog.  Always use only positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise to reward good behavior. Never use any kind of negative discipline.  Doing so will only break your dog’s spirit.  Nothing good can come of that.  Consistency is key when training your Curly-Coated Retriever, so make a fun but disciplined routine and stick to it.

Curly-Coat Grooming

The Curly-Coated Retriever needs regular grooming to keep its coat healthy and shiny. Their coat is dense and waterproof, which helps protect them from the elements. However, it also means that their coat can easily become matted and tangled if not properly maintained.

Brush your Curly-Coated Retriever’s coat often to prevent matting. Once a week is ok, Twice a week is better, As often as needed is best.  You should use a slicker brush or comb to gently remove any tangles. Regular bathing and bathing as needed is very important to keep their coat clean and healthy. Use a mild dog shampoo and conditioner to avoid drying out their skin.  And,  be sure to always check for fleas, ticks, and any other skin parasites, lumps, or injuries while grooming.

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Curly-Coat Exercise

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a very active dog breed that needs plenty of exercise and good dog food to stay healthy and happy. These dogs love to run, swim, and play, so make sure you are able to give them plenty of exercise and active play.

Your Curly-Coated Retriever will need daily walks or runs and lots of toys and chews.  So be ready for all of that. Curly-Coats love to swim too, so take them out for a swim as often as possible. Just make sure to supervise them at all times so they don’t get into trouble

Health Issues

Before committing to this breed you need to know about the typical health issues that may occur. The Curly-Coated Retriever breed is generally healthy, but like all dogs, they may contract certain diseases, parasites, injuries, or other health problems.

Here are some common health concerns to keep in mind:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Cataracts
  • Gastric torsion or bloat
  • Allergies
  • Dandruff, hair mats, hot spots
  • Fleas, ticks, mites
  • Heartworm
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Tooth decay and gum disease

Hip dysplasia is a serious and painful orthopaedic condition to watch out for. It can cause pain and lameness in your dog, and may require surgery to correct. Canine epilepsy can also be a serious problem, leading to seizures that can be frightening. Heart disease is another common problem that can lead to heart failure if left untreated. Genetics, poor diet, lack of exercise, age, and heartworm may all be contributing factors to heart disease.  Routine visits to your vet are key.

Preventive Measures

While there’s no way to guarantee that your Curly-Coated Retriever won’t experience any health problems, there are some preventive measures you can take to reduce the risk. Here are a few tips:

  • Feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise
  • Take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and vaccinations
  • Keep your dog at a healthy weight
  • Be aware of any changes in your dog’s behavior or health 


Overall, the Curly-Coated Retriever is a fantastic breed and a great choice that checks all the boxes either for a hunting dog or a family pet. This breed is affectionate, loyal, and makes great companions for active families.

Curly-Coated Retrievers are a special and wonderful medium-large dog that make great companions for anyone looking for a well-behaved big dog. As a breed, they are loyal, lively, smart, and confident.  But remember, they can also be stubborn so good training is key.

They are known for their excellent swimming, hunting skills, and devotion to their owners. But, you must be able and willing to give them plenty of exercise, positive reinforcement training, social behavior skills, healthy nutrition, and routine healthcare.

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