Curly Coated Retriever

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
liver, black
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • devoted friend

  • smart and easy-going

  • needs very little grooming

  • excellent hunter

  • somewhat stubborn

  • can be difficult to train

  • requires significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation


The Curly Coated Retriever is a multifunctional working breed, which was invented in England in the XVIII century to hunt ducks and other waterfowls. Nowadays it achieves resounding success in various sports and excels in many different tasks. It needs the master who will be committed enough to provide this assiduous and smart canine with proper physical and mental stimulation.


Today the precise origin of the Curly Coated Retriever remains the matter of an argument. The generally accepted suggestion says that it was developed from the now-extinct Old English Water Spaniel. Such breeds as the St. John’s Water Dog (Lesser Newfoundland), the Labrador Retriever, the Pointer may also have been added to the mix. In all probability the dog has to thank for its curly coat the Poodle, although it may as well inherited it from the Irish Water Spaniel or the Wetterhoun. This breed is thought to be the first canine that was bred specifically for retrieving.

This first-class sporting dog first entered the show ring in 1960 at Birmingham. In 1889 the Curly Coated Retriever found its way to New Zealand where its supreme retrieving skills were appreciated and actively utilised by local hunters. The breed also gained lots of fanciers in Australia and to date serves as a very popular waterfowl specialist in this land. It was particularly valued by gamekeepers for its versatility since the dog could equally effectively retrieve upland and water feathered game.

This breed was initially brought to America in 1907 and in 1924 the American Kennel Club (AKC) began registering these dogs. At the beginning of the XX century the Curly Coated Retriever fell out of favour while the Flat-Coated Retriever experienced the upsurge in popularity. The World War I brought the breed to the brink of extinction as in 1919 only five its specimens were recorded. Its number started to recover but the World War II interrupted this process. Thanks to the efforts of its loyal followers the Curly Coated Retriever was saved from the final demise.

The today’s breed member retains its great hunting abilities although lots of these dogs are used strictly for companionship. The Curly Coated Retriever also competes at the highest level at obedience, agility and fly ball and won fame as a wonderful therapy, drug detection and search-and-rescue dog.


The incredible resourcefulness, great stamina and unshakeable self-confidence make the Curly Coated Retriever a terrific versatile hunting dog. Unfortunately it also means that this breed won’t become an ideal family dog if its owners have little experience in handling canines or they are simply too meek and indecisive to win the dog’s respect. But once correctly trained and socialised this breed is perfectly compatible with polite children of an older age. However, it’s too rambunctious to be fully trusted around toddlers.

Alertness is the typical reaction of the Curly Coated Retriever to the presence of strangers in the house. Remember that under socialisation of your pet may lead to serious issues with human aggressiveness. With its keen intelligence it’s capable of forming very accurate opinion about every particular situation and discerns a friend from a foe. That’s why this breed copes with tasks of a watcher with flying colours. Most of these dogs also want to defend their masters and territory whatever the costs and suit well for the role of guardians.

In general, the Curly Coated Retriever tolerates other dogs and isn’t prone to challenge its counterparts in order to assert its alpha status. Bear in mind that fights between unfamiliar canines does happen so the master must exercise due caution during walks with his pet. Because of its hunting background the breed isn’t an optimal choice for households with pre-existing non-canine pets. It also has tendency to treat every small street animal as potential prey and should be released off-leash only a securely fenced area.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· canine hip dysplasia;

· eye problems;

· cardiac problems;

· epilepsy;

· bloat;

· glycogen storage disease (GSD);

· exercise induced collapse (EIC);

· cancer.


The Curly Coated Retriever needs very little amount of grooming. Its fur only looks dense and high-maintenance but in reality it sheds little to no hair and should be brushed on occasional basis. As a matter of fact too much brushing can destroy the dogs’ natural beauty and make its coat to stand on end.

In case of appearance of mats or tangles they should be carefully untwined manually or with a brush. If you plan to exhibit your pet prepare to regularly the excessive feathering on its ears, tail, belly, legs and feet.

Other care procedures, which are essential for all dogs regardless of their breed, consist of regular ear cleaning, weekly teeth brushing and monthly nail trimming.


Professional training techniques and lots of patience are required in order to successfully train the Curly Coated Retriever. Despite its above-average quick-wittedness this dog is accustomed to independent thinking and will never listen to the person whose leadership it doesn’t acknowledge. The best results can be yielded by reward-based methods and fun yet short lessons.

This dog gets bored really easily so it’s wise to avoid repetitive and dull tasks in the work with it. Be mindful that physical enforcement will only provoke your Curly Coated Retriever to more wilful demeanour to the point when it will completely ignore your orders.


As an energetic and intelligent breed the Curly Coated Retriever needs a great deal of both physical and mental stimulation. Its exercise regimen should include daily long walks and regular playtime in a securely enclosed territory. After several hours of pastime outdoors this dog behaves itself quiet and placid within the dwelling.

The ideal master of this breed should possess authoritative personality and prefer an active lifestyle. This dog is still frequently utilised as a hunting dog in lots of countries and absolutely loves to expand its energy in this occupation.

The Curly Coated Retriever that is treated as a lap dog will most probably develop certain such behavioural deviations as propensity to hyperactivity indoors and unreasonable barking.