One of the oldest retriever breeds, Curly-Coated Retrievers are smart, hardworking dogs who live to swim. They were originally bred to retrieve waterfowl and hunt game birds. These days, though, many Curly-Coated Retrievers also compete in field trials and keep their families company.
Originally from England, this medium-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 60-95 pounds and lives an average of 10-12 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Sporting group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Swimming
Breed Group: Sporting
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
Energy level A sprinter
Exercise needs 30-45 minutes per day
Playfullness and Games A few times per day would be divine
Attachment to People Give me some love when you get home, maybe we'll snuggle later
Behavior with Other Dogs Ok with early socialization and consistent training.
Behavior with Other Small Pets I'm usually friendly, as long as we're supervised
Behavior Toward Strangers I'm a single-family or person dog at heart
Trainability It's fun, but I may lose focus
Watchdog ability I know all that's going on, all the time
Protection ability I'm not very protective
Grooming needs Easy maintenance, brushes and baths
Cold tolerance I just love winter and snow
Heat tolerance A warm day can be fun, but not too hot please.
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A CURLY-COATED RETRIEVER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
They might come off as too cool for school, but the aloof-seeming Curly-Coated Retriever loves people and wants to make them happy. With their families, Curlies are mischievous and playful. These dogs are charming, gentle, and affectionate, but not as needy as some other retrievers we could mention (ahem, Goldens and Labs).
Curly-Coated Retrievers are usually friendly toward other dogs and pets. They can enjoy children but tend to be aloof with strangers.
WHAT IS CURLY-COATED RETRIEVER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is an active breed who will run and jump and swim and play as long as you'll let them.
Curly-Coated Retrievers make for vigilant watchdogs, though they're not especially protective. They can be somewhat prone to barking.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A CURLY-COATED RETRIEVER?
This is a very biddable breed — these dogs are quick and willing students. Be sure to keep your Curly-Coated Retriever busy, though — a bored retriever is just mischief waiting to happen.
Curly-Coated Retrievers respond best to reward-based reinforcement using food, play, or praise.
These dogs excel at tracking, rally, hunt tests, agility, flyball, lure coursing, dock diving, herding, and scent hurdle racing. At least one Curly has even worked as a sled dog!
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO CURLY-COATED RETRIEVERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Curly-Coated Retrievers have a distinctive single coat made up of tiny, crisp, tight curls (you might have guessed that from the name). Their fur is short and waterproof, helping them swim in the iciest water.
This breed doesn't shed much and requires only an occasional bath. Their unusual looking coats are surprisingly easy to maintain.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO CURLY-COATED RETRIEVERS HAVE?
Curly-Coated Retrievers are generally a robust breed. Some are prone to heart or eye disease and hip dysplasia.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE CURLY-COATED RETRIEVERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Curly-Coated Retrievers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Curly-Coated Retriever! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A CURLY-COATED RETRIEVER'S BEST DAY?
Swimmmmmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggg with you. (But don't forget that doggy life-vest, thank you.)
SHOULD I ADOPT A CURLY-COATED RETRIEVER?
Curly-Coated Retrievers thrive in the cold, but they're not averse to warm weather. They're very active, and so will pair best with active folks — especially if some of those active folks are supervised kids who want to swim along with them. This is an affectionate and playful breed that needs only occasional grooming. Whether you're on the hunt or just out for a day at the beach, the Curly-Coated Retriever wants to be by your side.
Have you decided that a Curly-Coated Retriever is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.