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Curly Coated Retriever

 Photo of Curly Coated Retriever
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Curly Coated Retriever Books

Group: Gundog - Breed Standard


Curly Coated Retrievers were developed as upland game hunters and waterfowl retrievers in England and were recognized as a breed as early as 1860. Curly Coated and Wavy Coated (now known as the Flat-Coated Retriever) were the first two recognized retriever breeds.


Ideal height at withers: dogs: 69 cms (27 ins); bitches: 64 cms (25 ins).

The curly is an active, upstanding, well-muscled breed bred for upland bird and waterfowl hunting. The Curly is quite different in type and structure and somewhat different in temperament than the more common retrievers. A correct Curly will appear slightly leggy but is actually slightly longer than tall. The breed sports a coat of tight, crisp curls. He is balanced and agile with a significant air of endurance, strength, and grace. The coat of the Curly is a hallmark of the breed. A correct coat is a thick mass of small curls that lie close to the skin. Breeders aim for tight, crisp, individually pronounced curls rather than loose, open curls. The coat is sufficiently dense to provide protection in ill weather and icy water, and against brambles and briars. The only places on a Curly's body that are not covered in tight curls are the forehead, face, front of forelegs, and feet, where the hair should be short, smooth, and straight. A looser curl is acceptable on the ears. The breed should have no undercoat. Patches of uncurled hair behind the withers or bald patches of skin are undesirable. The coat should not be sparse, silky, fuzzy, very harsh, dry, or brittle. Bald patches which may temporarily occur in growing puppies who are changing to adult coat and in bitches who have recently whelped are not necessarily indicative of a permanent problem.The only acceptable colours for the Curly Coated Retriever are solid black and solid liver (brown). Occasional white hairs are permissable, but white patches are a serious fault.


The Curly Coated Retriever is a lively, fun-loving breed. They are slow to mature, which makes them a great addition to any active family. As long as the CCR has enough exercise, he can be calm and laid back in the home environment, which makes them both a great activity dog as well as a placid member of the family. CCRs are great dogs for active sports such as hunt tests, flyball and dog agility trails as they love the outdoors, working with people, and activities of any kind. Curly Coated Retrievers were bred to work more independently than other retrievers. This has given them a reputation for being reserved with strangers and they are often accused of being aloof because of it. However, CCRs are loyal to those they know and are fond of children. CCRs are extremely intelligent, learn quickly, and love to please their owners; even so, training one can sometimes be difficult as they can easily get bored with repetitive training. Short, fun sessions are the best way to a CCR's mind. The breed is quick to figure things out, and once it has learned how to do something (such as open a gate or door), he will use his new skill any time he sees fit. This breed can sometimes be stubborn and self-willed. These individuals need careful motivational training, as preventing bad behavior is much easier than reversing it.

Breed Health

Average life expectancy is 9 to 12 years, although there are instances of Curlies living to 15 to 17 years of age. Known medical issues: Hip dysplasia; Eye problems such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy, distichiasis, entropion, ectropion, or retinal dysplasia; Cardiac problems; Seizuring (Epilepsy); Bloat


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Last link added: 08 Jan, 2006