AKC Dog Breeds: Curly-Coated Retriever

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Sporting Group
Height: 23-27 inches   Weight: 70-100 pounds  Color: black or liver

Distinguished by its coat of small, tight, water-resistant, crisp curls, the Curly-Coated Retriever is a strong, robust and agile breed. Developed to be a multi-purpose hunting retriever, the Curly will work for as long as there is work to be done, retrieving game in the heaviest of cover and iciest of waters. The Curly Coated Retriever is one of the oldest Retrieving breeds. Developed in England, this breed was a favorite of English huntsmen who admired their gentle retrieving capabilities. Curly Coated Retriever's are extremely popular in New Zealand and Australia. However, they are quite uncommon in the United States and are difficult to acquire.

General Appearance
The Curly-Coated Retriever is a large, hardy, athletic retriever with a distinctive crisp curly coat. The coat on the body is a mass of thick tight, small curls that lay close to the skin. The coat on the feet, face, and forehead is smooth, short, and straight. The coat is water and weather resistant.  The thick, black or liver-colored coat of tight curls protects the dog from brambles and icy water. Even the small ears, back of the head, neck and tapering tail are covered with little curls. Only the face, hocks and front of the legs are smooth. The ideal Curly should be agile, graceful, and strong, yet elegant. The body is slightly longer than the height at the withers. The back is strong and level. The limbs are muscular. The head is wedge-shaped - longer than it is wide. The foreface and skull are approximately the same length, with their toplines forming parallel planes when viewed from the side. The muzzle tapers to a well-developed, wide-nostril, dark nose. In black dogs the nose is black and in liver dogs the nose is amber or brown. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The smallish ears are pendant. The eyes are either black or chestnut. The tail reaches approximately to the hock and is carried straight.


An intelligent, friendly, and affectionate dog, the Curly coated Retriever has plenty of stamina, and is a determined and loveable dog that is well suited to inexperienced dog owners as well as the more experienced. The Curly coated Retriever is a very loving and loyal dog and makes a great companion and pet. Playful and a little immature even as an adult, the Curly coated Retriever is fun to be around. The Curly coated Retriever gets along well with children, and also tends to get along with other animals and pets, although he may be wary around strangers. He is a very independent dog, and van be strong willed, but with a confident and assertive owner will soon learn who's boss. This breed has plenty to offer, and he makes an effective watchdog, although he is not really guard dog material. He is a fast learner, and his obedience and problem solving skills are high, which can help to make training easier.


The Curly Coated Retriever breed is an average shedder. The Curly Coated Retriever breed requires minimal grooming. Occasional brushing will suffice. The Curly Coated Retriever should only be bathed when absolutely necessary using a mild shampoo. It is important that there be no damage to the coat. Regular checking of the ears for debris or infection is recommended.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The lifespan of the Curly coated Retriever is around 12 years, and there are a number of health problems associated with the breed. This breed is prone to eye problems, epilepsy, and hip dysplasia.

Activity Level
The Curly Coated Retriever needs an inordinate amount of physical exercise and mental stimulation. They enjoy and excel at swimming, tracking, retrieving, agility, as watchdogs, and competitive obedience. The Curly-Coated Retriever is a high-energy dog that needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to be truly happy. Preferably involving swimming and retrieving. They need to be taken on a daily long brisk walk, or jog. The Curly coated Retriever loves to get involved with a range of activities, and this include swimming, hiking, biking, running, and more, making him an excellent exercise companion.


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