The Curly Coated Retriever is the largest and oldest of
all the Retriever breeds. A CCR is not for everyone.
They are a strong willed, challenging, intelligent dog.
A curly is not just a Lab with a perm. The different
retriever breeds all have distinct personalities and
temperaments. The curly tends to be reserved toward
strangers. This is part of their genetic makeup. This
does not mean overly shy or aggressive. Originally
bred in England, the curly was used at a meat dog, and
often as a game keepers dog. They will work all day as
long as their is game to be retrieved. They may not
tend to have the flash of the other retrievers, and
this is probably one of the reasons you do not see many
Curlies running field trials. But those that have
curlies marvel at the versatility. Retrieving waterfowl
as well as flushing upland game in the harshest of
Most Curlies are good with children, but like any dog,
you should supervise any interaction with small
children. As with any dog, they can be destructive if
left on their own all day. Training is a must. The
Curly enjoys and needs exercise, but should settle down
while inside. Grooming is minimal. Bathing when needed.
You can brush or comb the coat when the dog is
shedding. Brushing will frizz out the curls, but once
the coat gets wet again, the curl comes back together.
Trim off any thick collection of hair that blocks the
ear canal, or any long dreadlocks type mats. If you are
going to show your dog, more trimming is usually needed
to tidy the coat. Curlies are not hypoallergenic, and
they do shed.
The coat should be tightly curled, crisp to touch
and somewhat dull looking, as opposed to shiny. The
hair on the face and legs is smooth and short. Curlies
come in black and liver color. The curly can be prone
to a coat disorder known as patterning. A patterned
curly may have hair loose at the neck and backs of rear
legs. This may happen only seasonally, it may happen
only when the dog is young, or may be present all the
time. This is a fault and if you have a curly with
patterned baldness, be sure to let your breeder know.
Curlies before breeding should be checked for Hip
dysplasia, eye problems, cardiac problems. (OFA, CERF,
Courtesy of SoftMaple Curlies, www.curlycoat.org
The following health screenings are often performed by responsible Curly-Coated Retriever breeders:
CERF Screening (Canine Eye Research Foundation)
Hip Dysplasia (OFA or PennHIP)