The Curly-Coated Retriever


The Curly-Coated Retriever is one of the oldest retriever breeds and was developed during the 18th century. They were initially bred to act as gamekeepers’ dogs and used to hunt game birds like pheasants, quail, and grouse. Although his origins are a little fuzzy his ancestry probably includes the Irish Water Spaniel and later, the Poodle.

The Curly-Coated Retriever was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1924.

Sizing up

  • Weight: 60 to 70 lbs.
  • Height: 23 to 27 inches
  • Coat: Tight, crisp curls
  • Color: Solid black and solid liver with occasional white hairs
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years

What’s the Curly-Coated Retriever like?

Curly-Coated Retrievers will stick to you. They create very strong bonds with their families and want to do everything with them. Curly-Coats also love children, but keep playtime supervised so they don’t accidentally knock their little friends over; occasionally they can get a little too rowdy. This breed can appear distant toward strangers but a pat on the head will warm them right up. 

The Curly is very energetic and has lasting energy to play and run around with his family whether it’s going for a hike or playing fetch. He’s also very keen on cuddling up on the couch with his human pack for a little R&R. Curly-Coats mature a lot slower than other breeds so training on the day you bring one home is essential to avoid those dreaded “teenage years.” If left untrained this dog can be very rambunctious and can cause quite a mess in the house by knocking things over or running into furniture – or even into people.

Grooming your Curly-Coated Retriever involves keeping his hair clean and free from mats with an occasional brushing.


The Curly-Coated Retriever is generally a healthy dog, but watch for any of the following conditions:

Takeaway points

  • The Curly-Coated Retriever has a unique coat with tight curls.
  • The Curly-Coated Retriever is extremely easy to groom.
  • The Curly-Coated Retriever would be a great companion for someone who jogs or hikes.
  • The Curly-Coated Retriever can become quite destructive if left untrained.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.