Curly Coated Retriever
Curlies only come in liver like this dog
|Country of origin
United Kingdom -
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 8 Section 1 #110
||Gun Dog Breeds
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Curly Coated Retriever (curly) is an intelligent, friendly
dog originally bred
for upland bird and waterfowl hunting. He is the tallest of the
and is easily distinguishable by the mass of tight curls covering his body.
Curly Coated Retrievers were developed as upland game hunters and waterfowl
retrievers in England and were recognized as a breed as early as 1860. Curly
Coated and Wavy Coated (now known as the
flat-coated) Retrievers were the first two recognized retriever breeds.
The curly is an active, upstanding, well-muscled breed bred for upland bird
and waterfowl hunting. Although he is related to the other more popular
retrieving breeds, the curly is quite different in type and structure and
somewhat different in temperament than the more common retrievers. A correct
curly will appear slightly leggy but is actually slightly longer than tall. The
breed sports a coat of tight, crisp curls. He is balanced and agile with a
significant air of endurance, strength, and grace.
of the curly is a hallmark of the breed. A correct coat is a large mass of small
curls that lie close to the skin. Breeders aim for tight, crisp, individually
pronounced curls rather than loose, open curls. The coat is sufficiently dense
to provide protection in ill weather and icy water, and against brambles and
The only places on a curly's body that are not covered in tight curls are the
forehead, face, front of forelegs, and feet, where the hair should be short,
smooth, and straight. A looser curl is acceptable on the ears. The breed should
Patches of uncurled hair behind the
bald patches of skin are undesirable. The coat should not be sparse, silky,
fuzzy, very harsh, dry, or brittle.
Bald patches which may temporarily occur in growing puppies who are changing
to adult coat and in bitches who have recently whelped are not necessarily
indicative of a permanent problem.
The only acceptable colours for the Curly Coated Retriever are solid black
and solid liver (brown). Occasional white hairs are permissable, but white
patches are a serious fault.
Eyes should be either black or brown in black dogs, and brown or amber in
liver dogs. Yellow eyes are undesirable.
The nose should be fully pigmented, black in black dogs and liver in liver
Height and Weight
- Dogs: 25-27 in at the
- Bitches: 23-25 in
Weight should be in correct proportion to the size of the dog.
- Dogs: 70-90 lbs
- Bitches: 50-70 lbs
Care and Maintenance
To maintain the crisp, tight curls on a Curly Coated Retreiver, groomers
avoid brushing the dog as this could promote unwanted "fuzziness" or fluffiness.
However, the coat must be combed through to remove any dead hair. This should be
done before bathing the dog. After bathing the dog, the curl will be looser and
fluffier but will tighten up, especially if sprayed with plain water. A curly
kept as a companion and/or hunting animal need not be elaborately groomed but
needs to be kept clean and free of mats for the health of the dog. Bathing
should be as needed. Dead hair should be combed out of the coat as needed and
toe-nails should be kept trim.
Show ring exhibitors normally trim feathering from the tail, ears, belly,
legs and feet. Trimming is not required when exhibiting a curly at a dog show
but most judges will likely discount the dog if he is not trimmed. Shearing of
the body coat is undesirable.
All curlies shed. Bitches usually shed more heavily during their heat cycles
(usually twice a year). Dogs and bitches may also shed more in the spring,
especially those living in areas with extreme seasonal temperature changes.
Combing through the coat to remove dead hair is helpful, particularly during
those times of heavier shedding.
Curlies tend to shed hair in clumps, rather than one single hair at a time,
which aids in cleanup.
An active dog which is also prized for his endurance, the curly should be fed
a high quality food. Some breeders feed a natural diet, consisting of meat and
vegetables. Others feed good quality commercial dog foods. Some breeders feed
both. A good curly breeder or a veterinarian will be able to recommend a
suitable diet for a curly, depending on age, size and activity level.
The Curly Coated Retriever likes his exercise; he was bred for athleticism
and endurance in the field. A curly is an intelligent dog and is happiest when
he has adequate exercise and play. Swimming is ideal and so is running and
walking with his owner. Retrieving work OR play, such as retrieving a tennis
ball, is another way to exercise the dog. He is not a dog for the lazy owner.
While active and exuberant outside, at play, or in the field, the curly is a
calm house dog.
Average life expectancy is 9-12 years, although there are instances of
curlies living to 15 to 17 years of age.
Known medical issues
The Curly Coated Retriever is a very lively, fun-loving breed. They are slow
to mature, which makes them a great addition to any active family. As long as
the CCR has enough exercise, he can be very calm and laid back in the home
environment, which makes them both a great activity dog as well as a placid
member of the family. CCRs are great dogs for
agility trails as they love the outdoors, working with people, and
activities of any kind.
Curly Coated Retrievers were bred to work more independently than other
retrievers. This has given them a reputation for being reserved with strangers
and they are often accused of being aloof because of it. However, CCRs are very
loyal to those they know and are very fond of children.
CCRs are extremely intelligent, learn quickly and love to please their
owners; even so, training one can sometimes be difficult as they can easily get
bored with repetitive training. Short, fun sessions are the best way to a CCR's
mind. The breed is quick to figure things out, and once it has learned how to do
something (such as open a gate or door), he will use his new skill any time he
This breed can sometimes be stubborn and self-willed. These individuals need
careful motivational training, as preventing bad behavior is much easier than
reversing it. Negative reinforcement causes some dogs to refuse to obey
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