Curly-Coated Retriever

Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: Males 25 to 27 inches, females 23 to 25 inches
Weight: 65 to 80 pounds
Coat: Single coat is water resistant and has small, tight, crisp, close-lying curls
Colors: Black or liver
Registries (With Group): AKC (Sporting); UKC (Gun Dog)

Origin and History

This staunch and steady retriever was developed in Great Britain in the early 1800s through crosses of the Close-Curled English Water Dog, the Old Water Spaniel, and the St. John's Newfoundland dog. It is suspected that the Irish Water Spaniel, Poodle, Pointer, and Labrador Retriever may have also contributed to the dog he is today—an exceptional retriever with a soft mouth. Despite his many contributors, the Curly-Coated Retriever type has been breeding true for nearly two centuries. His distinctive coat is waterproof and self-drying.

Personality Profile

The Curly is known for his gentle temperament. Easy to get along with but also with a playful, sometimes mischievous personality, he may not be as tractable as some of his retrieving cousins, but he has a lot of talent. He is in his element in the water; an active, outdoor-oriented family companion who thrives with attention and training.

Care Requirements


This breed requires a large amount of exercise. The big, sporty Curly also needs and relishes his outdoor time, especially if it involves swimming.


The curly coat of this retriever is fairly easy to care for. Brushing and combing will make it frizz but is necessary to remove dead hairs. After brushing, curls can be tightened by wetting them.

Life Span

The average life span of the Curly-Coated Retriever is 10 to 12 years.


The Curly-Coated Retriever is an intelligent dog who wants to work and as such needs to be trained and worked with to keep him mentally sharp. His sometimes clownish nature can prove challenging, but when he gets it, he shines.

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