Curly coated retriever Dog

The curly coated retriver (or curly coated retriever in Spanish) is a medium to large sized dog originating in England, whose curly coat makes many find it similar to a mix of the Labrador retriever with the poodle or poodle. However, it is a dog breed recognized by the main canine federations in the world as a water retriever with the characteristic friendly and energetic character of retrievers, but somewhat more shy and reserved with strangers.

If you are interested in adopting a dog with these characteristics, or if you simply want to learn more about the dog breeds in the world, keep reading this AnimalWised sheet, in which we will tell you much more about the history and characteristics of the Curly Coated Retriever . as well as the care they must receive to enjoy an excellent quality of life with their guardians.

Origin of the curly coated retriever

It is considered one of the oldest breeds of retriever dogs , but its origins remain a real puzzle even today. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the first individual officially recorded as a “curly coated retriever” was exhibited in the United Kingdom around 1860, but there are indications of the use of dogs very similar to the curly coated retriever for sport hunting since the 1700s or even before.

The lack of a well-documented history also makes it difficult to know exactly which dog breeds – natural or selectively bred – have been involved in their development. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), it is assumed that the extinct English water spaniels and retrieving setters , as well as the Irish water spaniel and St. John’s dogs, would be the main ancestors of the curly coated retriever. In addition, there are versions that claim that some selective crossings were carried out with poodles or poodles to achieve a curlier coat and a more elegant appearance.

In addition, they are usually considered to have been the first dogs trained specifically as retrievers , that is, to retrieve animals that their owners hunted, especially medium to large-sized birds. In fact, his natural talent as a retriever led him to achieve a lot of notoriety in the late 1900s, becoming highly sought after not only in Great Britain, but also in Australia and New Zealand (former British colonies).

However, its population was drastically reduced due to the effects of the two Great Wars on the European continent and it would never regain its popularity. In fact, in 2006, the British Kennel Club (The Kennel Club) began to consider the Curly Coated Retriever as one of the rarest breeds of dogs originating in the United Kingdom , including it on its list of “vulnerable native breeds.”

Characteristics of the Curly Coated Retriever

This dog breed shares most of its morphological characteristics and several aspects of its history with the flat coated retriever , but the curly coat allows us to differentiate the curly coated retriever not only from its closest British relatives. , but also other retriever-type dogs, such as the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever, whose coats are mostly smooth.

The desirable height at the withers in curly-coated retrievers is around 69 cm for males and 64 cm for females. As for weight, in males it ranges from 32-41 kg and in females it ranges from 23-32 kg. Its head is wedge-shaped , seen both from the front and from the side, with a size proportional to the rest of the individual’s body and a slightly marked stop (naso-frontal depression). On the face of the curly-coated retriever we see large , but not prominent, oval eyes that are positioned obliquely. A good-sized nose also stands out, which should be black in dogs with black fur and brown in liver-colored specimens. In the mouth, we find long and strong jaws that support a complete set of teeth with a scissor bite.

Finally, a very characteristic feature of the Curly Coated Retriever is its rather small ears , drooping and close to the head, whose insertion is barely higher than the line of the eyes.

Curly Coated Retriever Colors

Its body is completely covered, from the occiput to the tip of the tail, by a generous, thick coat that is made up of small, firm, tight curls that stick well to the skin . However, on the head, face, feet and the front of its front legs, we see shorter, straight and smooth hair. There is no presence of undercoat or bald patches on the coat of the curly-coated retriever.

Regarding the colors of the Curly Coated Retriever, the standards of the International Cynological Federation (FCI) and the AKS define only black and liver-colored as acceptable , and make a brief parenthesis to highlight that a small amount of white hairs can be allowed in some spots on the coat, but spots are considered undesirable. Likewise, it is worth clarifying that the presence of other colors, patterns or spots on the coat do not define the personality or nobility of a dog, so it is okay if you have adopted a Curly Coated Retriever that turns out to be not “totally pure.” ”. You will also be able to enjoy an incredible companion with great elegance and intelligence!

What is the Curly Coated Retriever puppy like?

An interesting fact is that the characteristic firm and well-armed curls of the curly-coated retriever develop as the dog also grows , so the puppies’ fur will, at first, be wavy and soft and, little by little, become gaining the length, texture and density necessary to form the well-curled coat that covers the body of adult individuals. In fact, the general appearance of a Curly Coated Retriever puppy is quite similar to that of puppies of other types of medium or large-sized water dogs , and the typical traits of this breed should appear as the little one ages. developing both their body and their cognitive and sensory skills.

Speaking of development, childhood is a critical period in the education of a curly-coated retriever and the ideal time to begin its socialization, with the aim of optimizing the recognition of friendly species and the assimilation of the behaviors we want. see reflected in the behavior of an adult dog. Furthermore, taking into account the great hunting instinct that characterizes the Curly Coated Retriever, an adequate early socialization process will be key to allowing a harmonious coexistence with small children and other animals, especially if the objective is to raise them solely as a family or companion dog.

Character of the curly coated retriever

Beyond its beautiful curly coat, the Curly Coated Retriever is distinguished from other retriever dogs by the complexity of its character, which makes it particularly interesting to live with and train. Although we are going to find the typical optimism and enviable energy of retrievers in the temperament of the curly-coated retriever, we will perceive greater independence when learning and carrying out their tasks, as well as a certain shyness in the presence of unknown people or animals.

In fact, the AKC is very assertive in defining the particular character of the Curly Coated Retriever, highlighting its perceptive intelligence, but warning that, at times, it can appear to be a dog that is “distant, stubborn and less demonstrative , particularly toward strangers, than other dogs.” retriever breeds. That is to say, curly-coated retrievers do not have the typical good-natured behavior of the Labrador Retriever nor are they as openly affectionate as the Golden Retriever, but they are perfectly capable of building a bond of extreme loyalty with their family members.

Insecurity, excessive fear and mainly aggression are considered behavioral problems that indicate obvious problems in the socialization of the curly-haired retriever and/or a systematic exposure to poorly applied traditional educational methods, negative reinforcements and punishments.

Care of the Curly Coated Retriever

Very good news is that maintaining the Curly Coated Retriever’s coat is much simpler than it may seem. Of course, it will be necessary to brush him with some frequency (once a week or every two), using a type of brush appropriate for his curly coat and being careful not to pull the small curls that are very close to the skin, as this It can be very painful for the dog. To help you, here at AnimalWised we tell you how to brush a water dog , with curly hair or drags.

Another essential care has to do with the socialization of the curly-haired retriever, taking into account that its natural tendency to show a certain shyness with strangers and its well-developed hunting instinct can cause accidents during interactions with other animals and small children. . It is also highly recommended to teach him at least basic obedience commands from an early age, as this will help stimulate his intelligence and promote more stable behavior inside and outside the home.

Activity level

Moving on to physical activity, the curly-coated retriever is as active as any other retriever dog and needs a good daily dose of exercise to expend energy and stay mentally healthy. Beyond taking at least three walks a day with your dog, we recommend that you evaluate the benefits of starting him in a dog sport, such as Agility, flyball or canicross if you are also a running lover.

To complement this physical exercise routine, remember to enrich your home with toys and a good variety of sensory stimuli that allow your best friend to keep his mind and body active, especially when he is alone at home to prevent symptoms of stress and destructive behaviors. We talk about it in this post: ” Environmental enrichment for dogs .”


Finally, do not forget that your dog’s diet must be compatible with the nutritional requirements of each stage of its life to prevent deficiencies in certain nutrients from weakening its immune system and leaving it vulnerable to numerous diseases. And like a good retriever, the curly-coated retriever has a certain tendency toward gluttonous behavior that can lead to overweight, obesity and gastric torsion that can be fatal for dogs. Therefore, it is essential to promote good eating habits from an early age, and the Kong is a toy that can help you in this process and is also very interesting for preventing many behaviors associated with anxiety.

Discover What dogs eat in this other article.

Education of the Curly Coated Retriever

The ability to develop remarkable self-confidence is a great ally when training or teaching any type of obedience command or activity to a curly-coated retriever, especially when positive reinforcement is used to motivate and reward him for his actions. achievements. However, it must be kept in mind that these dogs take time to mature and are more stubborn than other retrievers. Therefore, although they are so intelligent and predisposed to training, their training and education in general will require a little more patience and knowledge on the part of their tutors.

To facilitate the learning and assimilation of the most appropriate behaviors for a good coexistence, the most ideal thing is to start the educational process of the Curly Coated Retriever from the moment it arrives at home, preferably while it is still a puppy, although the same rule applies in in case you decide to adopt an adult dog. If you need help, here at AnimalWised we tell you how to start training a puppy and we also share some practical tips for training adopted adult dogs .

Another good practice in the education of the curly-coated retriever is to begin its socialization before its third or fourth month of life , since at this moment the critical period of socialization culminates, during which the recognition of friendly species occurs. Ideally, you should start by introducing your puppy to other trusted dogs and animals that you know are healthy, vaccinated and dewormed, as well as other people outside the daily life of the home (that is, they are part of the human family). When your little companion has received all the mandatory puppy vaccinations, you can start walking him on the streets, parks and squares so that he continues to interact with a variety of stimuli, environments and individuals. Likewise, if you have adopted an adult Curly Coated Retriever, or if you have not had the opportunity to socialize him at the most appropriate age, here are our Socialization Tips for Adult Dogs .

Regarding the training of the Curly Coated Retriever, which is not the same as education, it is essential that you follow a progressive dynamic to train your dog . This means that you will start with the simplest and easiest to execute commands, and you will always work one at a time with your dog, carrying out short sessions of 10 to 15 minutes a day, until you perceive that your best friend is already capable of reproducing them in a way fluid. To help you, at ExpertoAnimal we tell you what are the 5 dog training tricks that every tutor should know .

Health of the Curly Coated Retriever

When it has access to a balanced diet, good preventive medicine and a positive environment, the Curly Coated Retriever becomes a strong and determined dog that can enjoy a life expectancy of 9 to 14 years , and can reach 16 years of age. in optimal conditions.

However, these furry dogs have a certain genetic predisposition to some diseases common in retriever dogs, especially hip dysplasia , as well as some disorders that affect the eyes , such as cataracts , progressive retinal atrophy and ectropion .

Where to adopt a curly coated retriever?

Every year, thousands of dogs with and without a defined breed are collected from the streets of Spain and many other countries inside and outside of Europe. Therefore, if you would like to have a companion with the physical and behavioral characteristics of a curly-haired retriever, we advise you to contact an animal shelter or shelter that is relatively close to your home to schedule a visit and find out about the dogs available for adoption. There you will have a great chance of finding a furry friend compatible with your personality and lifestyle who will also be a much more faithful and grateful companion than you could have imagined. And if you have questions about the step-by-step adoption process, we recommend the following article: “ How to adopt a dog?” ”.

However, if you choose to go to a breeder, although at ExpertoAnimal we do not encourage the sale and purchase of animals, we suggest that you seek as much information as possible to ensure that the establishment is duly registered with the authorities, complies with health and hygiene guidelines. and ethics required for the responsible breeding of dogs and seriously commit to waiting for the puppies to complete their weaning period before separating them from their mother and siblings. Even so, we encourage you to reflect on this decision taking into account both what it means for pregnant dogs and the number of dogs that are in shelters.

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