Curly Coated Retriever: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The curly-haired retriever dog breed, also known as a curly coated retriever, is characterized by its affectionate and affectionate character. It is a balanced, intelligent and courageous dog. Its physical appearance is strong and elegant; with a curly coat that covers its entire body. At Petlifey, we explain the behaviour and characteristics of the curly-haired retriever.

Character of the curly-haired Retriever breed

The curly-haired retriever has an extremely affectionate, affectionate and affable character. It is an animal of intelligent behaviour, balanced , trustworthy, courageous and independent . Sometimes it can seem reserved.

It is a loyal, dedicated dog and, thanks to its great personality, it likes to please its master. It is a proud, confident and highly intelligent animal.

Even so, its temperament is not exactly the same as that of other members of its family such as the Golden retriever, the Labrador retriever or the flat coated retriever.

The curly is more reserved and is more suspicious of strangers, even avoiding their presence or rejecting it if it feels threatened.

  • Energy: Medium / high level. Due to its large and muscular build, it needs to get plenty of exercise. Running, walking, jumping, swimming … any activity is beneficial for them.
  • Temperament: It is an intelligent, balanced, trustworthy and courageous dog. Affable and affectionate, it is somewhat independent, so it can appear reserved.
  • Adaptability: Medium. It loves the outdoors and life in the country. But it can adjust to living in an apartment in the city if long walks are assured.
  • Sociability: Medium / high. It lives well with the family, but is somewhat reserved with strangers. Can’t stand continued loneliness.
  • Health: Good. You may be prone to hip or elbow dysplasia.
  • Longevity: Medium. Live between 8 and 10 years.
  • Utility: Versatile. Today it is a companion dog, but it is used for hunting and as a utility dog.

How does it behave around children and other animals?

It is ideal as a companion for children, and it gets along quite well with adults and other animals. Of course, as long as it is allowed to have contact with them from an early age, since, if not, it tends to be shy and reserved.

Can it be left alone for many hours?

The curly loves spending time with its family. It loves the company of people, so leaving them alone for many hours can be the first step to a failed coexistence story.

Is it an active dog?

The best way to make them sociable, healthy and calm is to take them out a lot, take them to different places and give them all the exercise it requires.

Therefore, it is an ideal choice for active individuals and families, who like to spend time outdoors and take their dog with them at all times. Also, as a good retriever, it loves to swim and can be a fun playmate on the beach or in the river.

Can you live in the city or in an apartment?

The curly coated retriever loves the countryside and enjoying the outdoors, so living in the city or in an apartment is not the best choice for them.

Ideally, you should live in a house with land, where you can move around and get some exercise. Of course, it is even better if you do it on a large farm and also have water available to swim in.

However, these conditions can be supplemented with good field sessions and exercise to, in this way, make your physical and mental balance complete.

In this case, it will be an active and fun dog in the country and a calm and calm animal inside the house, and it will not have the need to find its own amusements.

Curly-haired Retriever characteristics

The curly-haired retrievers have the physical appearance of a strong, active dog, with an elegant bearing and a very distinctive curly and tight coat.

This is the largest of all retrievers. Its structure is rectangular and its head is significantly different, larger and with a barely marked stop.

In addition, its appearance and expression are very characteristic, since the muzzle and face are covered with very short and fine straight hair that contrasts with the profuse curls that start from the forehead.

Like the flat coated retriever, it comes in two solid colors : the black color and the liver or chocolate color, sometimes with a small white patch on the chest.

How is the Curly Coated Retriever physically?


With a strong and elegant constitution, its body structure is rectangular, since the length of its body is slightly greater than its height at the withers, which is around 68 cm in males and 63 cm in females.

The feet are placed under straight, robust, fairly long and strong legs. The feet of the curly coated retriever are round and collected, with very curved toes.

Its tail is covered by the typical short, very curly and tight fur of the rest of the body, the tail reaches up to the hocks and when the dog is in motion it carries it straight, at the level of the back.


The head is wedge-shaped and well proportioned to the body. The skull and the muzzle are of the same length and the stop is poorly marked. The truffle harmonizes with the mantle.

Their eyes are large, not very bulging or sunken, and are oval in shape. They are black in the specimens with a black coat, and brown in those with brown fur.

The ears hang close to the head and are covered with the typical tight curls of its mantle, in contrast to the hair on the rest of the face, which is very short and straight.


The coat is single-layered and completely covers the dog’s body. The coat is made up of a large number of hairs that are organized into multiple curls that are firm, tight, frizzy and close to the skin. On the other hand, in other areas of its body, such as the forehead and the snout, the hair is completely straight.


The animal advances without apparent effort, with a free and energetic step. The front legs have a good reach, and the back legs give a strong push. Both move in a parallel plane and, at a higher speed, they tend to approach the median plane.

Curly Coated Retriever breed standard

  • Origin: United Kingdom.
  • Size: Very large.
  • Height at the withers: between 67.5 and 68.5 cm for males and between 62.3 and 63.5 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 33 and 35 kg for males and between 30 and 32 kg for females.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 110. Group 8 – Retriever Hunting Dogs, Lifting Hunting Dogs and Water Dogs. Section 1 – Retriever Hunting Dogs.
  • Use: Hunting retriever.
  • Other names: Retriever á poil bouclé / Kraus Gelockt.
  • General appearance: It is a strong and active dog, with an elegant bearing and a very distinctive coat, as it is made up of a layer of tightly curled hair of a solid dark, black or brown color.
  • Head: Well proportioned to the body and wedge-shaped.
  • Skull: Long, well proportioned and not totally flat.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): It is little marked.
  • Muzzle: It is long, fine and strong.
  • Nose: It harmonizes with the coat, which is why it is black in the black specimens, and liver in the brown ones.
  • Jaws: They are large and strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite.
  • Eyes: They are large, but not bulging, oval in shape and set obliquely. Like the truffle, they are black or brown depending on the color of the coat.
  • Ears: Rather small, set rather low, just above the eye line, set close to the head and covered with short curls.
  • Neck: It is strong, slightly arched, quite long and has no dewlap. Free and easygoing, it is placed obliquely on the shoulders.
  • Body: Muscular, balanced and slightly rectangular, with a well leveled top line.
  • Back: The loin is short, vigorous and strong.
  • Chest: It is deep and with the ribs well fitted and extended backwards.
  • Tail: Harmoniously lengthens the top line, is moderately long, reaches the hock and, when the dog is in motion, carries it straight, at the level of the back.
  • Forelimbs: They are straight and well placed under the body.
  • Shoulders: Muscular, they are very oblique. Forearms and arms: They are long and strong.
  • Hind limbs: They are characterized by being strong and muscular.
  • Legs: They are powerful.
  • Knees: The joint between the femur, patella, and tibia is moderately angled.
  • Hocks: Low and layered.
  • Feet: Rounded and compact, with well arched toes.
  • Coat: The whole body is covered with abundant firm curls, very tight, frizzy and close to the skin. It comes in black or brown, and lacks an undercoat.
  • Color: They can be presented in two monochrome shades: black and liver-colored.

Curly Coated Retriever education and training

Very susceptible to training, the Curly Coated Retriever is an easy breed to maintain and care for, and does not present very great adaptation or character problems.

Rustic and strong, it can be very stubborn, which implies that the work of socialization and training should begin as soon as possible. This training has to combine fair and gentle treatment with firm and consistent authority.

If the dog comes to perceive that its owner is weaker than them, or that it works inconsistently and inconsistently, it may try to make its own decisions. It can end up being a difficult animal to handle.

Therefore, despite being a retriever, the curly is not a dog for everyone and it is always better if its owner has some experience in dealing with dogs.

If this is not the case, it is best to put yourself in the hands of a professional who will guide your steps down the path of a lasting and successful relationship.

And since this breed does not reach physical and psychological maturity until around three years of age , it needs that fair and firm treatment to be maintained until that moment. The animal must be very clear about who is the leader of its pack to, in this way, give the best of itself.

This capacity for doubt, or to question the orders received from its master, so characteristic of the breed, means that although it can compete with ease in disciplines such as agility or obedience, its execution is perhaps not so reliable. as in the case of the other retrievers

All in all, the curly can become an excellent watchdog, which even protects the family from any external danger.

It is also a good therapy dog, since its behaviour with people it trusts is much sweeter and calmer than that of the Labrador or the Golden, for example.

Curly Coated Retriever health and diseases

As a very energetic dog with a high exercise demand, this dog needs to work, move and be mentally stimulated to stay healthy and feel happy.

The perfect exercise includes water and charging sessions, but she also enjoys long walks and even running alongside her master. If it is lacking in exercise, it will be a sad animal and its health will suffer.

In addition, due to its structure and size, it can tend to suffer from joint diseases that are aggravated if the dog is not well toned thanks to daily exercise. So it will be necessary to put special effort in executing all the variety of possible movements.

These joint conditions are basically hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, as with other large breeds, although they can be controlled by selective breeding.

It is also essential, in this sense, that during the growth stage a balanced diet and moderate and adequate exercise are guaranteed.

Otherwise, its health is monitored with routine visits to the vet to complete a specific vaccination program. As well as the pertinent internal and external deworming.

It is also convenient to monitor the ears, because as it is a lop-eared dog, they have poor ventilation and the ear canal can cause infections or accumulate excess earwax.

These circumstances are aggravated in dogs that have a lot of contact with water, as the ear increases the production of wax as protection against humidity.

Curly-haired Retriever feeding

Regarding the diet of the curly coated retriever, it has to respond to the physical and physiological needs of the animal, which is active, sporty, working and large, so it must have strong and flexible muscles at the same time.

The maintenance of this muscular state can only be guaranteed by providing the necessary proteins that are of good quality.

It is also important to take care of the quality and quantity of the fat intake, since these are the main responsible for the health of the skin and hair, very important because they protect you from cold and water and help you to do your job in the best possible way. terms.

Curly hair is known to be healthy and well nourished when it is shiny, slightly greasy, and with tight curls that are almost crisp to the touch.

How to care for a Curly Coated Retriever?

Hygiene routines, on the other hand, are basic and very simple. As it has curly and very tight hair, it hardly needs brushing. This can be carried out from time to time with the help of a horsehair brush or a suede glove.

For areas with short and straight hair, such as the face, the front of the legs and the inner thighs, a soft metal card can be used .

The bathroom is reserved exclusively for when the dog is very dirty. Use a shampoo that does not alter the tight, hard texture of the curls. And above all, rinse very well so as not to leave any trace of soap.

To dry it, you do not need a hairdryer, it is best to air dry it, moving the curls from time to time with your hand to avoid weighing them down. What you should never do is stretch them.

The beauty and peculiarity of its coat make this dog a very attractive animal. Which, together with its good character, worthy of a retriever, and its great capacity for work, encourages fans of this breed to become true fans and take care of both their reproduction and development .

In fact, the curly coated retriever is quite a rare and exclusive dog nowadays, and if you want to find a good puppy you have to book it well in advance.

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