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Adopt a Curly-Coated Retriever

Curly-Coated Retriever Dog Breed

Picture: E-M Kramer/Info Hund/Okapia/Photo Researchers


gundog, retriever

Area of origin:


Original function:

water retrieving

Average size of male:

Ht: 25-27, Wt: 60-70

Average size of female:

Ht: 23-25, Wt: 60-70

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Curly-Coated Retriever Dog Temperament

The curly-coated retriever is an eager and tireless land and, especially, water retriever outdoors, but a calm companion indoors. She is sensitive and gentle, very good with children, and responsive to commands. One of the most courageous of the retrievers, she is nonetheless quite sensitive. She makes an ideal partner for an active, outdoor-oriented person who also wants a loyal family companion.

Curly-Coated Retriever Dog Care

The curly is an easy dog to maintain, requiring no unusual care. She needs daily exercise, preferably involving swimming and retrieving. She does best as an indoor, outdoor dog. Because brushing diminishes the tight curls, she should be combed only occasionally, preferably before getting wet. Some very minimal scissoring may be desirable to tidy up scraggly hairs. She does need regular brushing during her shedding seasons.

Curly-Coated Retriever Dog Health

Major concerns: CHD
Minor concerns: none
Occasionally seen: distichiasis, cataract
Suggested tests: hip
Life span: 8-12 years

Interested in the history of the Curly-Coated Retriever dog breed?

One of the oldest and most distinctive of the retriever breeds, the curly-coated retriever may have been used in England for retrieving as long ago as the late 18th century. Although the exact origin remains conjectural, she probably stems from crosses of the descendants of the Old English water dog with the Irish water spaniel, and a small type of Newfoundland. These breeds together combined some of the finest water dogs in existence into one animal. Later crosses to the poodle, a fine water retriever in her own right, served to further enhance the tight curls. By the mid-1800s, the curly-coated retriever was the most popular retriever in England, prized not only for her unsurpassed retrieving abilities but also as a staunch and trustworthy companion. She was among the first breeds to be exhibited at English dog shows. Exports to Australia and New Zealand were well-received, and the breed still enjoys great popularity there. The first exports to America were in 1907, with the breed receiving AKC recognition in 1924. The breed never became particularly popular in America, however. Even popularity of the curly in England waned during the 1900s. One theory about her fall in popularity is that several atypical curlies gave the breed the undeserved reputation as hard-mouthed retrievers, causing newer hunters to choose other retrievers. Those who give the curly a chance have found that the breed is actually quite soft-mouthed. They also find that she makes a versatile family companion.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Curly-Coated Retriever Dogs

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