Type: Gun Dog
Height: 23 - 27 inches.
Weight: 65 - 85 lbs.
Life Span: 8 - 14 years.
Litter Size: 7 - 8 puppies.
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Activity: Indoors - Medium. Outdoors - High.
Watch-dog: High. Curly-Coated Retrievers are on alert and ready to let you know.
Guard-dog: Low. Although they are better guards than their cousins, they are still rather friendly dogs and are not the best at this skill.
Description: The Curly-Coated Retriever is a strong, smart, upstanding dog showing activity, endurance and intelligence. Their body is covered with a tightly curled coat which does not need trimming, supposedly descended from the Poodle. They are medium to large sized dogs, the size of any Labrador retriever, with a muscular body and strong fore and hind limbs. Their entire body except for their face and paws (and lower legs) are covered in tightly curled ringlets, which make it an exceptional water dog as their fur does not need drying after a jump in the lake. They have dark, almond shaped eyes and ringlet-covered drop ears. They have deep chests, long tails and big hearts. Curly-Coated Retrievers have an excellent nose and a good memory. Bred for retrieving quail and waterfowl, they are superb swimmers with great stamina and they know how to carry dead or wounded animals gently in their mouth. Curly-Coated Retrievers have also been known to work over difficult terrain, quite often in the Australian outback or wilds of New Zealand. They are even tempered, immensely alert when at work, and very determined in what they do. They can be playful, energetic, and adaptable to their owner's temperament. Although slightly reserved with strangers, they remain loyal and friendly to friends and family.
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Colors: Solid black or solid liver.
Coat: A mass of crisp, small curls all over, except on face, paws and lower legs. Coat does not need much care, as it never grows shaggy, and is water-resistant.
Temperament: Curly-Coated Retrievers are responsive, friendly, affectionate, and proud. They are very energetic and playful, but are also adaptable and adjust to their owner's mood. The Curly-Coated Retriever is better at guarding than other retrievers, and is generally a very good obedience dog. They can be scrappy when in the field with other dogs, but are very trainable. They are affectionate with family, reserved with strangers. Curly-Coated Retrievers enjoy children and get along with other pets.
With Children: Yes, provided children do not pester them, they are generally good with children.
With Pets: Yes, usually gets along well with other animals.
Special Skills: Field sports dog, retriever and family pet.
Care and Training: Minimal coat care is required for Curly-Coated Retrievers. Their coats do not grow to a shaggy length, are water-resistant, and dry quickly. Periodic brushing is all that is needed. All the coat needs for cleaning is to be damped and massaged in a circular motion. Rigorous exercise is needed, however, and consists of a long daily walk, outdoor activity, such as fetching sticks, and swimming. An intelligent breed, Curly-Coated Retrievers need training that will be a challenge as monotony will cause them to lose interest. If this breed does not get enough exercise or work they can be very badly behaved.
Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - High. Curly-Coated Retrievers are rather intelligent, and are serious in the work field.
Special Needs: Attention and training.
Living Environment: A home with a fenced yard is essential. Curly-Coated Retrievers should also have the opportunity to swim on occasion. A firm yet patient leader is needed for this breed. The Curly-Coated Retriever does well with a hunter as they are an excellent water retriever. The best owner for this breed would be a family in a rural or suburban home with a fence and capabilities to exercise.
Health Issues: Cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, and skin disorders such as Alopecia. Other health concerns include eye problems such as cataracts, entropion and ectropion, as well as bloat. Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but Curly-Coated Retrievers can be particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests.
History: A cross between the Newfoundland, the English Water Spaniel, the Irish Water Spaniel, and the Poodle, the Curly Coated Retriever's roots go back into the 1800s of British history. It is the oldest known retriever that has come from Britain. The exact origins of the breed are not well documented, however it is known that the breed was frequently used for retrieving waterfowl and other hunting game in England. Later when it was imported into Australia and New Zealand the breed became very useful and well-known. In NZ and AU the breed is used for hunting quail as well as water birds, and is talented in each category. The breed's numbers in NZ and AU are more than that of the number in their native country. It was first exhibited by the UK in 1860, and was one of the first to be used for retrieving in England. They were very popular during the nineteenth century but have lost a lot of support today. Today they are among the least known retrievers, but still surviving in parts of the States as well as Australia and New Zealand.
First Registered by the AKC: 1924
AKC Group: Sporting
Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 8), KC (GB), UKC