Choosing a Curly Coated Retriever

Choosing a Curly Coated Retriever

PetPartners, Inc. is an indirect corporate affiliate of PetPlace may be compensated when you click on or make a purchase using the links in this article.

The curly coated retriever is one of the oldest of the retriever breeds and has a very unique haircoat. The breed is very popular in Australia and New Zealand as well as England, his native land.

History and Origin

The curly coated retriever was developed in the late 1700s in England and is considered one of the oldest of the retriever breeds. The ancestry of the curly coated retriever is unknown but it is thought that various now extinct water dog breeds as well as the Irish water spaniel, Labrador and poodle were used in the breed's development.

The curly coated retriever was developed as an excellent water retriever and is particularly good at retrieving duck and quail. Quite popular in Australia and New Zealand, the breed is not very well known in the United States even though the first exports were about 100 years ago. The popularity of the breed in England began to wane when the Labrador retriever was developed.

In 1924, the curly coated retriever was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the sporting group.

Appearance and Size

The curly coated retriever is a medium to large dog with a characteristic haircoat. The body is a little longer than it is tall. The head is wedge shaped and is longer than it is wide. The ears are small, hang and lie close to the head. The tail is straight and not docked.

The coat of the curly coated retriever is unique. It is comprised of a thick layer of tight curls that are weather resistant. The hair of the face and the front of the legs and feet is short and straight. The color of the coat can be black or liver.

The adult curly coated retriever stands around 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 65 to 80 pounds.


The curly coated retriever is a loyal and devoted family pet and a good multi-purpose hunter. They are intelligent dogs but need training beginning early in life. Courageous in the field, the breed is independent and standoffish toward strangers.

Home and Family Relations

The curly coated retriever is a loyal family pet but can be timid with strangers. He enjoys being a part of the family and will do best with an active family with older children. This dog has lots of energy and won't do well in an apartment or being left outside alone all day. The curly loves to retrieve and swim. Early socialization will help the dog get along with other pets and children.


The curly coated retriever is very intelligent and can be easy to train with persistence and patience. They tend to be somewhat independent and become bored easily so training needs to be kept fresh and fun. The breed can excel in obedience and agility and is a natural retriever.

Special Concerns

The curly coated retriever does not like to be left alone with nothing to do. They are intelligent dogs and need mental stimulation to prevent destructive behaviors.

Common Diseases and Disorders

The curly coated retriever is a hardy breed that has few known diseases. The most common are:

  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Epilepsy is a seizure disorder, which develops between the ages of 2 to 5 years.
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.
  • Ectropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes eversion of the eyelid margin. It most commonly affects the lower central eyelid.
  • Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to loose transparency and can result in blindness.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition usually begins in older pets and can lead to blindness.
  • Distichiasis is a condition in which there is growth of extra eyelashes from the glands of the upper or lower eyelid.

    Life Span

    The average life span of the curly coated retriever is approximately 8 to 12 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

  • number-of-posts0 paws up

    Previous / Next Article

    Previous Article button

    Dog Breeds

    Choosing an English Springer Spaniel

    Next Article button