The Curly-Coated Retriever – A Complete 9 Point Guide to the Greatest Companions

Today we are going to talk about one of my favorite breeds of dogs, the curly-coated retriever. These beautiful dogs have a lot of unique qualities that make them a great addition to any family, but there are also some things you need to know before bringing one home. So, let’s dive in and learn everything you need to know about owning a curly-coated retriever!

Here is a Quick Overview of the Curly-Coated Retriever:

Weight 60-95 Pounds 
Height23-27  inches 
Lifespan 9-12 years 
Colors black or liver 
Health 7/10
Grooming Needs7/10
Exercise Needs9/10
Shedding 5/10
Kid Friendliness 8/10
Pet-friendliness 7/10
Protectiveness 8/10
Good for apartments No
Average puppy cost 1,500 – 2,500 USD 
It’s important to keep in mind that these are generalizations, and individual curly-coated retrievers may vary in terms of their personality, health, and other traits. Make sure to do your research and talk to a reputable breeder or rescue organization to find a curly-coated retriever that is the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

Parent Breeds

The curly-coated retriever is believed to have been developed in England during the late 18th century. Its exact origins are unknown, but it is thought to be descended from a variety of breeds, including the now-extinct English Water Spaniel, the St. John’s Newfoundland, and the Poodle.

The English Water Spaniel was a popular hunting dog in England during the 18th century and was known for its curly coat and ability to retrieve game from the water. It is believed that the curly-coated retriever was developed by crossing the English Water Spaniel with the St. John’s Newfoundland, which was also a popular retriever at the time.

The Poodle was also likely introduced into the breeding program to add its curly coat to the mix, as well as its intelligence and trainability. The result was a breed that was an excellent retriever of game, both on land and in water, and had a distinctive curly coat that provided protection from the elements.

Today, the curly-coated retriever is recognized as a distinct breed and is valued for its hunting abilities, as well as its loyalty, intelligence, and distinctive appearance.


The curly-coated retriever is known for its loyal and playful temperament. They are a friendly and outgoing breed that tends to get along well with children and other animals. They are intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train, and they respond well to positive reinforcement methods.

As a hunting breed, the curly-coated retriever has a strong prey drive and a natural instinct to retrieve. They are an energetic breed and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Daily walks, runs, or play sessions are necessary to keep them physically and mentally fit.

While they are generally friendly with strangers, curly-coated retrievers can be reserved or aloof around new people or in unfamiliar situations. They are not typically aggressive but may bark to alert their owners of potential threats.

Overall, the curly-coated retriever makes a great companion for active families who can provide them with the exercise and mental stimulation they need. They are affectionate and loyal dogs who thrive on human companionship and make great pets for those who are willing to give them the attention they deserve.

Health and lifespan

The curly-coated retriever is generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues. It’s important to work with a reputable breeder who tests their breeding stock for any genetic health problems to reduce the risk of inherited health issues in their offspring.

Some health concerns that can be seen in curly-coated retrievers:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Eye problems (such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy)
  • Epilepsy
  • They may also be prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears, so regular ear cleaning is important.

With proper care and nutrition, the curly-coated retriever can live for 12-15 years. Providing them with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and routine veterinary care can help keep them healthy and extend their lifespan. It’s important to watch for any signs of illness or discomfort and seek veterinary care promptly if needed.

As with all breeds, it’s important to research and understand the potential health issues that can occur in curly-coated retrievers, and work with a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care can help keep your curly-coated retriever healthy and happy for many years to come.

Nutritional Needs

curly-coated retriever nutritional needs

Like all dogs, curly-coated retrievers require a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain good health. A diet that is appropriate for their size, age, and activity level is essential to keep them at a healthy weight and reduce the risk of health issues.

Curly-coated retrievers are a medium to large-sized breed, and their nutritional needs can vary depending on their individual metabolism and activity level. As a general guideline, a healthy diet for a curly-coated retriever should include high-quality protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals.

A balanced diet for a curly-coated retriever should consist of the following:

  • 20-25% protein
  • 10-15% fat
  • 50-60% carbohydrates.

High-quality protein sources can include chicken, turkey, beef, fish, and lamb. Fats should come from healthy sources such as fish oil, flaxseed oil, and coconut oil. Carbohydrates can come from sources such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and vegetables.

It’s important to avoid overfeeding your curly-coated retriever, as they can be prone to obesity. Feeding them two to three smaller meals throughout the day can help keep their metabolism steady and prevent them from overeating.

Consulting with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist can help you determine the appropriate diet and portion sizes for your curly-coated retriever. They can also advise you on any necessary supplements to ensure that your dog is getting all the essential nutrients they need for good health.

When your curly-coated retriever grows up, you can start gradually reducing the amount of food they have to 2 meals a day. You can learn how to transition your dog from puppy food to adult food here. 


The curly-coated retriever has a distinctive appearance with a dense, curly coat that provides protection from the elements. Their coat can be either black or liver in color, and it has a natural sheen that gives it a lustrous appearance.

The breed has a broad skull and muzzle, with well-set eyes that are either brown or black. They have pendant ears that hang close to their head, and a strong neck that leads to a sturdy, muscular body. Curly-coated retrievers have a deep chest and a straight back, with powerful legs that end in webbed paws, making them excellent swimmers.

Overall, the curly-coated retriever has a unique and striking appearance that sets it apart from other breeds. Their curly coat, combined with their muscular build and athleticism, makes them a beautiful and impressive dog.


Curly-coated retrievers are known for their confident, intelligent, and independent personalities. They are also loyal and affectionate towards their families. Curly-coated retrievers are often described as having a “joie de vivre,” or a zest for life, which makes them lively and fun-loving companions. They are generally good with children and other pets, but can be reserved or aloof with strangers.

Curly-coated retrievers are known for their high energy levels and need for regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are natural athletes and excel at activities such as retrieving, swimming, and hunting. However, their intelligence can sometimes lead them to be independent thinkers, which may require consistent training and socialization.

Grooming Needs & Shedding

The curly-coated retriever has a unique, curly coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking healthy and neat. While they do not shed as much as some other breeds, their coat does require a significant amount of maintenance.

The curly coat of a curly-coated retriever should be brushed at least once a week to prevent matting and tangling. It’s also important to give them a thorough brushing after any outdoor activity to remove any debris or burrs that may have become caught in their coat. A slicker brush or pin brush can be used to gently remove any tangles, while a steel comb can be used to work out any mats.

Regular bathing is also important for a curly-coated retriever, as their dense coat can trap dirt and debris. They should be bathed every 2-3 months using a high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner. It’s important to thoroughly rinse their coat to avoid any residue that can cause skin irritation.

While curly-coated retrievers do not shed as much as some other breeds, they do shed moderately throughout the year. Daily brushing during shedding season (usually in the spring and fall) can help to remove loose fur and minimize shedding around the house.

Regular grooming of a curly-coated retriever can be time-consuming, but it’s an essential part of their care to keep them healthy and comfortable. It’s important to establish a grooming routine early in their life to make it a positive experience for both the dog and the owner.

Exercise Needs

Curly-coated retrievers are an active breed that require a moderate to high level of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They are known for their endurance and love for the outdoors, so regular exercise is essential to their well-being.

Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day for a curly-coated retriever, which can include brisk walks, runs, or hikes. They also enjoy swimming and playing fetch, which is great for their physical and mental stimulation.

It’s important to note that curly-coated retrievers are prone to weight gain, so it’s important to monitor their diet and exercise regularly to prevent obesity. Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from health problems, such as joint issues and heart disease.

In addition to physical exercise, curly-coated retrievers also require mental stimulation to keep their minds sharp. Training sessions, interactive toys, and puzzles can help to keep them mentally engaged and prevent boredom.

Overall, curly-coated retrievers require an active lifestyle with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. A lack of exercise can lead to behavioral problems, such as destructiveness and anxiety, so it’s important to meet their exercise needs.


Curly-coated retrievers are intelligent dogs that are eager to please their owners, making them relatively easy to train. However, like all dogs, they do require consistent and patient training to ensure they learn the desired behaviors and commands.

Start training your curly-coated retriever as soon as you bring them home, using positive reinforcement methods such as treats, praise, and playtime. Avoid using harsh or punitive methods, as these can damage the bond between you and your dog.

Some key training areas to focus on with curly-coated retrievers include:

  1. Socialization: Curly-coated retrievers are friendly dogs, but early socialization is essential to ensure they are comfortable around people, other dogs, and new environments.
  2. Basic obedience: Teach your curly-coated retriever basic obedience commands, such as sit, stay, come, and heel. These commands are essential for safety and control, especially when in public places.
  3. Retrieving: As a retriever breed, curly-coated retrievers have a natural instinct to fetch and retrieve objects. Training them to retrieve on command can provide mental and physical stimulation and can also be helpful for activities like hunting.
  4. Exercise: As previously mentioned, curly-coated retrievers require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Training them to exercise on command, such as running alongside a bike or swimming, can be helpful in ensuring they get enough physical activity.
  5. Advanced training: Once your curly-coated retriever has mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced training, such as agility or obedience competitions.

Remember that training is an ongoing process and requires patience and consistency. With time and effort, your curly-coated retriever will become a well-behaved and well-trained companion.


In conclusion, curly-coated retrievers are an amazing breed that can make great pets for the right family. These dogs are friendly, loyal, intelligent, and have a strong prey drive and natural instinct to retrieve. They are a healthy breed but like all dogs, can be prone to certain health issues. Providing them with proper care, nutrition, exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups can help keep them healthy and happy for many years to come. If you are interested in bringing a curly-coated retriever into your home, make sure to do your research and work with a reputable breeder or rescue organization to find a dog that is the right fit for you and your lifestyle.


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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