The Curly-Coated Retriever is the oldest of the English retrievers.
Body: Deep, broad chest, well-sprung ribs, broad brisket.
Coat: Small, tight, dense, crisp curls. Resistant to cold waters and harsh weather resistant and punishing cover.
Color: Solid black or liver brown.
Ears: Small, natural, set close to the head and at eye level.
Eyes: Large and black or dark brown.
Feet: Round and compact with well-arched toes and thickly padded.
Head: Long wedge shape with a flat skull, shallow and sloping stop, long, strong jaws and broad black or liver nose.
Legs: Forelegs muscular and sloping with deep shoulders. Hind legs are powerful, muscular and moderately long. Hocks are well let down and well bent.
Neck: Moderately long, no dewlap, powerful, and slightly arched.
Weight: 50 – 95 pounds
Height: 23 – 27 inches
Tail: Natural, carried straight, covered with curls and tapering towards the point.
Recommended for novice dog handlers
Requires a great deal of exercise – best suited for an athletic owner
The Curly-Coated Retriever is a tireless working dog bred to hunt birds and waterfowl. He’s a powerfully built dog with remarkable endurance yet moves with grace and elegance. This is a robust dog with a need for extensive exercise. He’s best suited for an owner who loves athletic activities such as jogging, biking, hiking, and swimming. His curly coat provides insulation from the harsh elements allowing him to endure frigid temperatures, work in rough, thorny underbrush, and swim in very cold waters any time of year.
More so than most retrievers, the Curly puppy needs lots of socialization to develop his sense of trust and confidence. Without early socialization he may become distrustful with strangers and unwilling to welcome them into his home. Early obedience is also a must to establish who is in charge.
The Curly is keenly alert, clever, friendly, intelligent, and fun-loving. He is generally good-natured but has been known to be aggressive with other dogs. With the proper obedience training and socialization he will make a wonderful family addition.
AKC Group: Sporting Group (gundog)
Originally bred for upland bird and waterfowl hunting.
The AKC Standard says, “A correctly-built and tempered Curly will work as long as there is work to be done, retrieving both fur and feather in the heaviest of cover and the iciest of waters.”
Care and Grooming
Exercise: Extensive exercise such as jogging, walking, swimming, hiking, and biking is a must. He needs to exercised daily to stay in shape.
Grooming: Use a comb to groom his tight curls. Grooming should be light, to keep his curls from becoming frizzy, except during shedding season when deeper grooming is necessary to remove his dead undercoat.
Life Expectancy: 9 – 13 Years
Eye problems – cataracts, corneal dystrophy, distichiasis, entropion, retinal dysplasia
Best if fed only high-quality foods such as meats and vegetables or good quality commercial dog foods.
Country of Origin
United Kingdom – England – 1800s