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Curly-Coated Retriever Dogs

A black, young adult curly coated retriever sitting tall A beautiful, young black curly coated retriever lying down A lovely thick, black fured male curly coated retriever A very tired, young curly coated retriever lying down The strong shaped head and ringleted coat of the curly coated retriever

Breed Rating (2 Reviews)



The Curly-Coated Retriever, or Curly, dates back to England in the late 1700's and was used in bird hunting and water fowl retrieval. It probably descends from the Irish Water Spaniel and later further crosses with the Poodle to produce an excellent water dog, with tight curls that repel water and prevent it being caught in under growth. It was one of the first breeds to be shown in England.


The Curly is a fun loving, exuberant dog, that enjoys family life. They make wonderful pets and are good around children. Often reserved with strangers, but rarely aggressive. They have a decent low bark, but rarely use it. Curlies are devoted to their family and benefit from early socialisation around people and other dogs to prevent future problems. They are quite slow to mature, acting like big daft puppies for the first couple of years, but are gentle and loving and will be happy to please you. They are intelligent dogs who get easily bored. As a working 'gun dog' breed they do need a function. If you are unable to 'work' with them in the field, then lots of play time is needed to prevent them becoming destructive. Agility, and retrieval competitions are a good way to expel their masses of energy. Recall is usually good once they have grown out of the puppy stage. They have a huge appetite for walks and masses of energy, so a long daily walk is needed to tire them out. Once walked, they will happily relax in the home and are undemanding. They make ideal pets for an outdoor-orientated person, as they have endurance and want to be with you all day. Curlies like to swim and be around water. Throwing a toy into the water for them to fetch will provide hours of fun for a Curly. Training needs to be calm, yet firm. They get bored easily with repetitive commands, so best to change tactics often. They are quite clever at picking things up, so you can train relatively quickly.

The coat needs brushing every so often when the dog is shedding, but brushing too often will affect the tight curls. Scissoring may be done to tidy up the coat, but this is usually minimal. The coat generally looks after it's self and dries quickly. Attention to prevent matting is needed. They come in solid black or liver. They are a healthy breed with only Canine Hip Dysplasia being more common.


Curly-Coated Retrievers have an independent yet responsive temperament. Very intelligent dogs that love long walks and plenty of exercise. Can be excitable around the house but sufficient exercise should keep them calm. It is important to establish who is boss and deliver consistent obedience training.

Good with children and other pets this breed will do best with early socialisation in order to become well rounded dogs.

Health Problems

Health problems that may affect Curly-Coated Retrievers include canine hip dysplasia (CHD),bloat, heart problems and some cancers.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 9 - 14 years
  • Weight: 22.7 - 40.9
  • Height: 23 - 27"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium - Hypoallergenic
  • Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
  • Town or Country: Country
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
  • Breed Type: Gun Dog
  • Size: Large
  • Energy Level: Medium
  • Exercise Required: Over 2 hours

Curly-Coated Retriever Pictures

Latest Reviews For Curly-Coated Retriever (2 of 2)

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fantastic dogs - Laura,

Certainly NOT common, you will have to hunt down a breeder and wait for a puppy, but they are worth the wait. Calmer than most retriever breeds and very loving. The males particularly can be very large. They have a great sense of humour. They do moult and are not hypoallergenic. And be prepared to spend your life explaining that it's not some sort of "doodle"!

Gorgeous dogs - Tasha,

These family friendly, happy dogs are far from being common, they are a breed which is unfortunately dying out. They are a large dog with energy in bucket loads so don't scrimp on walks. They have a character which is both elegant and goofy, a real joy.