Curly Coated Retriever

Curly Coated Retriever picture


The Curly Coated Retriever is one of the oldest English retrieving breeds and has been recorded in literature and paintings from as long as 200 years ago.

They are thought to have been derived from cross breeding a number of British and Continental breeds such as the Irish Water Spaniel, the Poodle (to give the tight curl), the Tweed Water Spaniel and the Barbet.

They were breed to be one of the largest retrievers and to be multi purpose initially, in water, the open or in thick cover.


The most distinctive features of the breed is its coat. The body ears and tail should be covered in tight, crisp curls but the face and muzzle in smooth short hair. The coat can be black or liver in colour. The coat of this breed doesn’t feature an undercoat like other retrievers although to protect him from wet he has a very oily skin and coat which has a distinctive smell!

They have a remarkable ability to mark game by sight, remembering locations and they also have a very good nose.

They are a friendly breed but can be somewhat aloof to new people in their life, but make very loyal companions.

They needs plenty of exercise and are essentially an outdoor dog.

In general Curlies are fairly hardy and low maintenance dogs.


Curlies are a fairly healthy breed. They are hip scored under the BVA scheme and also some breeder’s eye test at least once in the dog’s life although this is not a requirement as eye problems are seldom encountered.

Curlies do have a coat problem (coat patterning) where bald patches or a poor curl appear on the body which is known to be genetic.

Epilepsy has also been noted in the breed and studies are being carried out at present to find the DNA marker responsible and so work towards eradication of this problem.