Curly-Coated Retriever

Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Category SizeLarge
  • SheddingModerate
  • Grooming RequirementsMore than once a week
  • Alone1 to 3 hours
  • Other PetsHigh
  • VocalUsually quiet
  • AllergiesNo
  • Suitability As GuardHigh
  • Dog Group Kennel ClubGundog


A large, strong, elegant breed, the Curly Coated Retriever has a distinctive liver or black coat of thick, tight curls on the body, with smooth hair on the rest of the dog. Adult males stand at 69cm, females at 64cm, and they weigh 36-45kg when fully grown.


The exact history of the Curly Coated Retriever dog breed is unclear, with many breeds going into its development as a gundog, including various retrievers, the Tweed Water Spaniel and the Irish Water Spaniel among others. The Poodle was also used, to improve the curliness of the coat. The breed was first shown in 1860 and excelled as a shooting dog, but its popularity as a pet and working dog waned with the emergence of the Labrador Retriever.


A steady, confident, bold dog, the Curly Coated Retriever is quite independent and can seem aloof to those he doesn't know well. With his loved ones, however, he is affectionate and makes a calm, loyal companion. He is very much an 'outdoor' dog and loves exploring his surroundings and retrieving – in and out of the water.


As with many breeds, the Curly Coated Retriever can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.


An active dog, the Curly Coat needs two hours of exercise and more a day. He loves retrieving – be it on land or in water – and his waterproof coat serves him well. This is a dog that enjoys 'working', so take a toy for fetch games, to spice up walks.


Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Curly Coat, in common with many large breeds, is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.


When the thick, curly coat is shedding, combing will remove dead hair; otherwise, brushing and combing is avoided, as it makes the coat frizzy. Instead, dampen it and massage with your fingers. A monthly light trim is also recommended; ask the breeder or breed club for full details of what is required.