Curly Coated Retriever Dog Breed Description

Large and athletic, the Curly Coated Retriever dog breed is easily recognizable by its thick coat of tight black or liver-colored curls. The curls cover the entire body, even the wedge-shaped head, small pendant ears, and tapering tail, providing protection from icy water and brambles.

  • Curlies are graceful, agile, and elegant dogs with a hardy build and muscular legs.
  • Tireless land and water retrievers, Curly Coated Retrievers have endless energy during outdoor work and play, but tend to be calm companions once indoors.

Kita by Mattias Agar from Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


  • Curly Coated Retrievers are known for loyalty and affection. They are eager to please, extremely intelligent, clever, mischievous, and sensitive.
  • Curlies are highly trainable, but require firm but gentle obedience training early in life. When Curlies are socialized early they are excellent with children and other pets; however, they have a tendency to become timid with strangers if socialization is not done properly.
  • These retrievers are superior watchdogs who will protect their families from danger.
  • The Curly Coated Retriever dog breed is perfect for owners who are active and are looking for an outdoor companion.

Height and Weight

  • Adult males and females tend to be 25-27 inches tall and weigh around 65-80 pounds.

Living Conditions and Exercise

  • Curlies are not well-suited for apartment life; they are recommended for families with a large yard.
  • High-energy dogs, Curlies should not be left alone all day. They require lots of mental stimulation and physical exercise, including swimming, retrieving, long walks, and jogs.

Life Expectancy

  • Well-cared for Curly Coated Retrievers can be expected to live 8-12 years.


  • The curly coat should be washed occasionally.
  • Curlies are average shedders, and need regular brushing during the warmer seasons. Brushing may make the curls frizz; owners should wet the coat after grooming.


  • The Curly Coated Retriever dog breed was developed as early as the late eighteenth century in England, making it one of the oldest retriever dog breeds.
  • The breed is most likely a cross between the Close Curled English Water Dog, the Old Water Spaniel, and the St. John’s Newfoundland.
  • Curlies are water retrievers with gentle mouths, bred to fetch duck and quail.
  • Curlies are most popular in New Zealand and Australia.

Group and Recognition

  • Grouping: AKC Sporting Group, Gun Dog