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BaxterBoo Blog
March 16, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Curly-Coated Retriever

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  • Height: 23"- 27”
  • Weight: 50-90 pounds
  • Historical function: Upland bird and waterfowl hunting
  • Modern function: Water dog, retrieving
  • AKC classification: Sporting group

Physical Characteristics:

The Curly-Coated Retriever is the tallest of the retriever breeds. It is easily distinguished by its tight curly coat. The body is slightly longer than it is tall. The coat is water-resistant and can be black or liver.

History of the Breed:

The Curly-Coated Retriever is one of the oldest retrievers. It was developed in England in the mid 1700's to hunt and retrieve upland birds and waterfowl even in frigid waters. Several breeds may have contributed to developing this retriever including the English Water Spaniel, the Poodle and the St. John's Newfoundland. 


The Curly is a high-energy dog that requires a lot of mental and physical exercise. They are loyal and eager to please, but may be independent due to the decision making required in the field. Slow to mature, this breed requires some patience and regular yet varied training during development. Adequate exercise provides a  mellow companion.

  • Best suited for: Active, outdoorsy people who would appreciate a lively companion.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog needs activity including swimming time. Needs at least a large yard. Is not suited to apartment living.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy care curly coat is wash and wear. Do not brush or comb the coat as it will become frizzy. Air dry.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk, and swim time, if possible.
  • Life expectancy: 8-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia, eye problems, and epilepsy.

Breed Club Links: Curly Coated Retriever Club of America Perfect Pairings: Guardian Gear Splash About Dog Pool

Have any stories about a Curly-Coated Retriever? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Mattias Agar.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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