Curly-Coated Retriever – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Is Curly-Coated Retriever for you? Should you get this breed? Check this ultimate guide on Curly-Coated Retriever and learn if this breed is your next dog.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
65 to 100 pounds
Life Span:
9 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Curly-Coated Retriever is often described as one of the most elegant retrievers today.

They are originally from England and are a mix between a globally-famous Poodle and a popular Labrador.

Curly-Coated Retrievers are often described as loyal, intelligent, and extremely outgoing dogs who love having a job to do.

They are mostly known for their dense coat and tight curls that cover the entire body.

This feature is something that comes from their Poodle parent side. Curly-Coated Retriever is usually seen in two colors, a deep black or rich liver color.

Curly-Coated Retriever was specially bred to retrieve game from game or water. That being said, if you welcome this breed you can expect to spend several hours weekly next to the water.

Not only that they are huge water-lovers, but they are great swimmers as well.

Next to retrieving they were active as gamekeepers, hunters, and poachers. Today, they are mostly full-time pets and sports dogs who are superb when it comes to dog sports, such as agility and obedience.

They are also often seen participating in flyball. When they are not being active and winning trophies they can be seen working as therapy dogs.

Did you know that dog experts claim that Curly-Coated Retriever is the oldest of the Retriever breeds?

Or that Curly-Coated Retriever is the tallest of the Retriever breeds? This dog has not only Poodle and Labrador running through his veins but the English Water Spaniel as well.

Originally from the 18th century, this need is considered to be an old breed. The very first club of the breed was founded in 1933.

Quick Facts

Real name: Curly-Coated Retriever
Origin: England
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 65 to 100 pounds
Height: 1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 9 to 12 years
Litter Size: 6 – 8 puppies
Color: Black or liver color
Coat: Short coat with tight curls

Curly-Coated Retriever History

Curly-Coated Retriever is a breed that originated in England sometime during the 1700s.

Breed’s exact origin has been lost, but it’s known that Poodle and Labrador are the main breeds used to develop this breed. This curly breed first appeared in 1860 in England, where it was originally developed.

Dog experts believe that Curly-Coated Retriever has been the first dog used for well-planned and serious retrieving.

This is primarily why this breed was ao loved by gamekeepers.

Hunters appreciated the breed’s ability to be active, retrieve, and overall help them during the entire game.

The period of World War I was a big milestone for this breed as at the time there were only five Curly-Coated Retrievers registered.

As if this wasn’t scary enough the breed almost completely disappeared during WWII.

However, thanks to dog lovers and breeders, the breed survived. As for the States, the first Curly-Coated Retriever was registered in 1924.

The Curly-Coated Retriever Club of America was founded in 1979.

Curly-Coated Retriever Physical Appearance

The Curly is a medium-sized dog with a well-muscled body. At first look, it’s obvious that this breed is different in appearance when compared to other Retrievers. They also seem a bit leggy.

Overall, the Curly-Coated Retriever is slightly longer than tall. They are strong and have an elegant movement that only adds to their overall elegant posture.

Males are slightly bigger when compared to females, weighing up to 85 pounds, and standing to 25 inches at the shoulder.

The most original trait of this breed are their tight curls. Tight curls are waterproof and should repel water and prevent any coat-related damage.

This breed can only appear in two colors, solid black, and solid liver. In some, white hairs may appear, but that’s rare.

Dogs with significant white patches are always disqualified from the dog show.

Curly-Coated Retriever Personality

When you have a mixed dog with Labrador genes, you cannot expect anything else but a sweet personality.

Next to this, you can expect to witness enormous love for people. They are custom to spending long hours with people to begin active.

This is why they thrive when there is a job to be done. If there is a duty that they can perform, while spending time with their family members, nothing could make them happier.

Curly-Coated Retrievers are fun-loving and vivid dogs who love both indoors and outdoor to explore. They may be aloof with strangers, which is why training and early socialization are important.

Curly-Coated Retriever With Children And Other Pets

Before you bring a Curly-Coated Retriever home, the very basic thing that has to be done is to educate your family members about dogs.

This means that house dog rules should be set and that children should know for to interact safely with dogs.

The second important step is that if you are a multi-member family, you have everyone’s word on mutual dog ownership.

Getting a dog should be everyone’s decision, so everyone can equally participate in training and socialization.

Curly-Coated Retriever is a great family addition, especially if there are older children.

Since this is a bit bigger dog, compared to famous lapdogs such as Pomeranian. They may be overwhelming for younger children who are easily knocked down in play.

If this is the case in your family, make sure that any children-dog interaction is supervised.

Keep rules simple: no ear pulling, no tail pulling, and no biting!

This curly dog should do fine with other dogs and smaller animals if socialization is done properly.

Curly-Coated Retriever Training

A mixed dog of Poodle and Labrador will need an experienced dog owner. They thrive on the positive reinforcement method and a lot of treats.

Training should start as soon as you bring your Curly home. Make sure that you have enough toys on hand, that you know how to start training sessions and how to keep it fun.

Consistency is what gives the best result and that is your main tip – be consistent.

For maximum results, keep training sessions regular, fun, short, and packed with treats.

Did you know that dogs can master basic commands at only eight weeks of age?

By the time, socialization ends, your pup should know commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘no’, ‘come’.

At the same time, their vaccination should be completed, after which you can start introducing your puppy to other dogs in the dog park, and new areas.

Dogs learn by exploring, which is why walks are so important.

Curly-Coated Retriever Exercise

Curly-Coated Retrievers are dogs packed with energy and high playfulness levels. They are packed with a unique energy that only working dogs come with.

If they are not given adequate exercise, they will become bored and will show some form of destructive behavior.

If this happens they are not the ones to blame since they need not only proper training but adequate exercise time to help them bur out that extra energy.

If you want to keep your Curly-Coated Retriever both happy and healthy you should provide a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes per day.

Otherwise, you will have to deal with an extremely destructive dog, This behavior is manageable, but it will demand a lot of your time and energy.

Curly-Coated Retriever Grooming

You might be surprised to hear that this curly breed isn’t too demanding in terms of brushing.

You will have to invest minimal time with the right grooming tools to keep that coat and skin healthy and shiny.

If you think that a professional dog groomer is a better choice, you can take your Curly to a dog’s saloon.

It will be pricey, but it will save you some time. Still, think about brushing your Curly at least once a week so you two can bond.

Dogs thrive on touch and body language is a way of communication.

Plus, regular brushing can help you notice fleas or any early signs of skin infection.

To get out the maximum make sure that you implement regular grooming practice.

Regular grooming practice means that you can your dog enjoys:

  • Monthly nail trimming or grinding
  • Bathe time when needed
  • Regular eye check
  • Regular gums check
  • Teeth brushing if recommended
  • Weekly brushing

If regular grooming sounds like too much work for you you can think about professional grooming services. This may be a bit costly option, but it will save you time. S

till, if you opt for professional grooming services, stick to brushing because you will get an amazing opportunity to bond with your dog.

Curly-Coated Retriever Health

Curly-Coated Retrievers are considered to be healthy dogs.

If you decide to buy a dog, you should do your best to find not only a reputable but a responsible breeder as well.

The difference is that responsible dog breeders will put dogs’ health first place.

This means that you will get medical records on the puppy, and an honest overview of the puppy’s personality and behavior.

Responsible dog breeders will also show you the facilities, let you meet the bitch, and provide the right tips on further care.

They will also ask you a lot of questions and won’t be fast to hand you over the puppy.

Why? Breeders who care about their puppies want to make sure that they are putting them in the right hand.

If for any reason they suspect that you may not be a suitable owner, they will give you the puppy.

If they decide to give you the puppy, you will get information on proper care, proper nutrition, exercise requirements, and grooming tips.

Some breeders may even tell you that in case of hardship, you return the dog to them.

No matter how great a breeder might be you should still take your Curly to your vet as soon as you bring him home.

Double-checking Fido’s health is fine, and an early trip to the vet’s office should help your dog to be handled.

Some of the most common health issues in this breed are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye problems such as cataracts and distichiasis
  • Pattern baldness

This doesn’t mean that your Curly-Coated Retriever will ever experience any of the listed conditions.

It only means that you should be well aware of these conditions and react if you notice anything unusual in your Curly-Coated Retriever’s behavior.

Prevention is the best key when it comes to having a healthy and strong dog.

Provide regular veterinarian check-ups, tick and fleas prevention, and stick to recommended vacation schedule.

Once you get a dog you are directly responsible for his weight.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise and you don’t want your dog to be part of this negative trend.

No matter how much training, exercise, and love you provide your dog will primarily thrive on proper nutrition.

Learn how much you should feed your dog, how often you should serve meals to your Curly-Coated friend, and what kind of food he enjoys the most. This doesn’t mean that you should give him a bite of anything.

It just means that you should which dog food work the best for your furry buddy’s health.

Learn which human foods are safe for your dog and which should be avoided.

For example, cucumber and carrots are perfectly safe for your dog, water chestnuts should be served in moderation, while onion, garlic, and human chocolate should always be off-limits to your Curly-Coated Retriever.

In general, anything that contains xylitol should always be far from your dog’s reach.

Is Curly-Coated Retriever For You?

Curly-Coated Retrievers are strong dogs who are highly active. They are never suited for first time dog owners, nor they should end up in homes without active owners.

This means that they need an active owner, or active family to go on adventures together.

If you have experience with dogs and your week is packed with jogging, hiking, and swimming this breed is for you.

This breed isn’t for you if you don’t have time to provide proper training and exercise, or if you find it hard to deal with mouthiness.

Getting this dog isn’t quick, there is usually a waiting list since they’re very hard to find.

If this is an issue for you then this breed isn’t for you.

You might think about adopting a dog in that case?

Not only that adoption might be faster, but it is also one of the most humane things that you can do for a living being.

On the other hand, if you want an unusual-looking Retriever who is dependable and enjoys the active time, then a Curly-Coated Retriever may be right for you.

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