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Curly-Coated Retriever

The Curly Coated Retriever is a large, yet elegant dog with a distinctive thick coat of tight, crisp curls all over the body, down the tops of the legs and tail, with the head and extremities of the limbs smooth haired. 

9–14 years
36 – 45kg
64 – 69cm
Liver or black
Kennel Club group
The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Basic training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

As with many breeds, the Curly Coated Retriever can suffer from:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Glaucoma which is a painful condition where the pressure in the eye builds up. 
- Exercise-Induced Collapse¹ which is a condition that can cause problems with nerve communication during exercise and can result in collapse.
- Glycogen Storage Disease² which is a disease where sugars are not broken down properly in the body. 
- Progressive retinal atrophy which is an inherited disorder where part of the eye degenerates and wastes away which can result in blindness.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
- Hip dysplasia Screening Scheme

¹K. M. Minor et al, 'Presence and impact of the exercise-induced collapse associated DNM1 mutation in Labrador retrievers and other breeds', 2011, The Veterinary Journal 
² B. L. Gregory et al, 'Glycogen Storage Disease Type IIIa in Curly-Coated Retrievers', 2007, Journal of Veterinary internal Medicine.


A rather ‘old fashioned’ retriever, the Curly Coat is quite independent, confident and bold, yet without the over-exuberant nature of some of the better-known retrievers. They can as a result seem aloof and distant, but in reality, they are simply more inclined to quiet, polite behaviour, and are very affectionate with their family and friends. This is an outdoor dog, who loves to swim, follow scent, explore and of course, retrieve from land or water. With the right training and care the Curly Coated Retriever can make a lovely companion or working dog - or indeed, both! 

Did you know?

Whilst Guide Dogs are typically thought of as being Labradors, Golden Retrievers or crosses of the two, Curly Coated Retrievers and their crosses, are becoming more popular. The low maintenance, waterproof coat doesn’t shed nearly as much as that of other retrievers and the breed stands a little taller, which is useful for taller owners. Famously, David Blunkett MP has had a number of Curly Coat Retriever crosses as Guide Dogs, including Lucy and her half-sister Sadie.

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