By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 18th October 2022

Curly Coated Retriever


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a highly popular retriever breed that developed in England. They are the only breed of retrievers with curly hair and are easily distinguishable by their physical characteristics, including the mass of tight curls covering their bodies.
This ancient English breed has a large, well-muscled body with a graceful and vigorous appearance. This dog has a large head with black, brown, or amber eyes, hanging ears, and a nose mostly having the same color as their coat. The legs are stout and muscular, while the tail is long and hanging downwards. They are known for their loyalty, confidence, and affection towards their masters.

Curly Coated Retriever Pictures

Quick Description

Other NamesCurly, CCR
CoatCurly, dense, short
ColorsBlack, Solid liver (brown)
TypeGundog, Retriever, Sporting Dog, Watchdog
Group (of Breed)Purebred
Life Span/Expectancy8-12 years
Height (Size)Large;
Male: 25-27 inches;
Female: 23-25 inches
Weight60-70 pounds (both sexes)
Litter Size7-8 puppies
Personality TraitsLoyal, social, energetic, alert, brave, independent, responsive, polite
Good with ChildrenYes (especially older kids)
Good with PetsYes
SheddingModerate; twice a year
Climate CompatibilityComfortable with both hot and cold temperatures
Country of OriginUnited Kingdom
Qualification InformationBreed Standards (AKC)

Video: Curly Coated Retriever Puppies Playing


Nothing concrete is known about its origin. However, the breed originally developed in England. Hunting waterfowls and upland birds were their main work.

Curly Coated Retriever was one of the first two retriever breeds that were established and recognized as early as 1860 (with the other one being the Flat-Coated Retriever, formerly known as the ‘Wavy-Coated Retriever’).

In 1907, this breed was imported to the US for the first time from England. Later, in the 1960s, after its rise in popularity, it was even imported from Australia and New Zealand.

In 1924, the Curly-Coated Retriever was officially recognized by the AKC, while in 1979, an association named ‘The Curly-Coated Retriever Club of America,’ dedicatedly meant for this breed, was founded.

Temperament and Behavior

These are dogs that have confidence, strong determination, and natural drive of retrievers. Dutiful as they are, they will not give up until a particular job allotted to it is completed. They are good with kids, especially the older ones, and even do well with pets in the family, including dogs of different breeds.

The Curly is also equipped with alertness and can act as an excellent guard and watchdog if it finds its family is in any ‘danger.’ They are reserved and shy when strangers are around. These retrievers have an independent mind, but at the same time, are willing to please their family members. However, they are prone to getting bored easily.

Some individuals may develop nipping or chewing habits. In fact, this mostly happens because, the curlies take a little longer time to mature compared to other breeds, and the owner might experience living with a full-grown pup for quite a few years. This behavior, however, does not make it a dumb dog. While the puppies are often quite avid and boisterous, the adults are calm house dogs.



Since retrievers are meant to work and stay active, this breed has a natural instinct to play, go outdoors, stay active, or run, especially when they are with their loved ones. They also love swimming. Indulge them in sports, that involve agility, like flyball. They need to run and walk every day for half an hour to one hour for mental stimulation and releasing their energy. Pups do not need vigorous schedules since they are already active throughout the day.


This breed sheds, especially the females, but moderately. Brush their coat clean thrice or four times a week, since their curly hair is prone to get matted easily. Bathe them using a mild dog shampoo when necessary.

Health Problems

Other than general issues like allergies, hair loss, etc., the health problems that are known to affect this breed include epilepsy, exercise-induced collapse (EIC), cancer, cardiac problems, hip dysplasia, glycogen storage disease (GSD), and eye problems like corneal dystrophy, distichiasis, cataracts, entropion, ectropion, or retinal dysplasia.


The Curly-Coated Retrievers respond well to training, though not always as fast as other breeds. Since the curlies have a mind of their own, they might as well ignore their trainers, initially. Constant praises and treats might ease the job.

  • To help your dog get rid of any shyness, timidity or weariness towards your visitors, socialize it by giving more exposure to different kind of people, sights, sounds, and experiences. Begin this when your curly is still a puppy. Take it out in your car, or to a children’s park, as well as in malls and other public places where dogs are permitted entry. Allow others, to fondle your little one, if the desire to do so. This way, your dog will surely learn to accept new faces and get used to new things.
  • To deter your dog from chewing things, you must teach your dog the difference between what is chewable and what is not. When your see your dog is developing that habit, do not snatch away the object from it. Rather, give a gentle tap on its back or shoulder to divert its attention, or offer a treat in exchange for the object in its mouth. If these tricks don’t work, you can always make its favorite chewing items unpleasant to it. Coat objects with safe taste deterrents like ‘Bitter Apple’ to make them unappealing to your dog. Renew the coat from time to time to maintain effectiveness.
  • To keep its stubborn behavior under control, give it obedience training from its puppyhood.


Many breeders and owners choose a natural diet for the curly coated retriever, which includes assorted vegetables and meat. However, commercial foods like kibbles are also right for them. No matter which one you choose, but make sure, it is of high quality. 3-4 cups of food divided into two balanced meals is sufficient for this breed.

Interesting Facts

  • The curly coated retriever is the tallest of all the retriever breeds in the world.
  • Knysna Conjurer was the first Curly that the American Kennel Club registered.
  • The CCRs rank 41st in Stanley Coren’s ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ list, marked by average working/obedience intelligence.
  • With a water-repelling surface, their coat is adapted for retrieving hunted animals from water bodies.
  • Interestingly, the type of curls varies from one dog to the other. Specimens would show tight crispy curls, open curls, small silky curls, or coarse wavy to brittle coats.

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