The Curly-Coated Retriever: Everything You Need to Know

Are you in search of a loyal, friendly, and active companion? If so, the Curly-Coated Retriever may just be the breed for you. This dog has been around for many years and is full of energy, intelligence, and an eagerness to please its owners.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into everything you need to know about the Curly-Coated Retriever to assist you in determining if it is the perfect fit for you and your family.

History and Origins of the Curly-Coated Retriever

Early Beginnings

The Curly-Coated Retriever is believed to have originated in England in the late 1700s, where it was used as a hunting dog that could retrieve waterfowl from ponds. The curly coat was an advantage in the water, as it helped keep the dog warm and dry while swimming. 

The exact parentage of the Curly-Coated Retriever is not entirely clear, but it is thought to have come from a number of breeds, including the Irish Water Spaniel and the Poodle.

Development of the Breed

Throughout the 19th century, the Curly-Coated Retriever gained popularity as a dependable and hardworking hunting dog. Breeders continued to refine the breed, focusing on traits such as intelligence, reflexes, and obedient nature.

During this time, the Curly-Coated Retriever also began to gain recognition in conformation shows and field trials. In these competitions, the breed’s hunting skills were put to the test, and their intelligence and obedience were on display.  

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

The Curly-Coated Retriever quickly earned a reputation as a top-performing breed, and it was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in England in 1854 and later by the American Kennel Club in 1924.

Despite the initial popularity, the breed experienced a significant decline in numbers in the early 1900s, nearly bringing the Curly-Coated Retriever to the brink of extinction. However, dedicated breeders worked tirelessly to save the breed, and their efforts paid off.

Today, the Curly-Coated Retriever is still a relatively rare breed, but its numbers continue to rise slowly. The breed’s unique combination of hunting skills, intelligence, and pleasing appearance make it a great canine choice. 

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

Size and Weight

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a medium-sized dog breed characterized by its distinct curly fur coat. Adult males typically stand between 25 and 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 70 and 95 pounds.

Females are usually slightly smaller, measuring between 23 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 60 and 80 pounds. Females are also more slender and gentle in appearance. 

Coat and Colors

The Curly-Coated Retriever’s fur is one of their striking characteristic features, with a tightly curled and dense fur coat. The coat can be either black or liver-colored and is water-resistant, making the dog a superb retriever in water.

The coat of the Curly-Coated Retriever requires regular grooming to maintain its look, with attention to trimming around the ears and other parts of the body.

Distinctive Features

Curly-Coated Retrievers have a unique appearance, with an elongated head, a strong, muscular body, and long legs with webbed paws. Their coat’s curls make for a unique appearance and form a full mane that encircles the neck.

Another distinguishing feature is their small ears that are slightly turned towards the head. Overall, the Curly-Coated Retriever is strong, muscular, and with a mighty tail that serves as a rudder when swimming in water bodies. 

Personality and Temperament

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a highly intelligent, loyal, and friendly breed that is perfect for nearly any family or living situation. It is known for being an independent thinker and having a playful personality. 

Intelligence and Trainability

Curly-Coated Retrievers rank high in intelligence among dog breeds, making them easy to train. They have a natural desire to please their owners, which makes them highly trainable. They excel in obedience training due to their eagerness to please their owners.

Early socialization and training are key to ensuring they grow into well-rounded adults. Curly-Coated Retrievers respond to positive reinforcement and reward-based training. It’s important to keep training sessions short and fun.

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

Curly-Coated Retrievers are versatile dogs that get along well with other dogs and other pets as long as they are properly socialized. They have a friendly and outgoing personality, which makes them excellent companions for other animals.

They are known for being loyal family pets, and their loving nature makes them excellent with kids too. However, it is still vital to introduce Curly-Coated Retrievers to new people, animals, and places to prevent them from becoming shy or fearful.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

While generally healthy, Curly-Coated Retriever may still be susceptible to certain health problems, such as: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: A congenital condition of the hip in which the bones forming the joint are malformed, causing joint laxity and pain 
  • Eye Problems: The breed is prone to several eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Regular check-ups and preventive care are crucial for the well-being of the Curly-Coated Retriever. Breed members require exercise, a high-quality diet, and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.  

Expected Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Curly-Coated Retriever is between 10 and 12 years. Many breed members can reach an older age if properly cared for. 


Overall, the Curly-Coated Retriever is a great breed for those looking for an active and playful companion. The breed’s loyal, friendly, and intelligent nature makes them ideal for families. 

So, if you’re looking for a versatile, enthusiastic, and loving companion, the Curly-Coated Retriever may be just the match for you. Research the breed and find a reputable breeder. 

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