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Curly Coated Retriever

Country/Date of Origin: England/1800s A water retriever with a coat to do the job. The Curly-Coated Retriever is an old breed probably created with a dash of Irish Water Spaniel, another of Poodle and possibly a bit of Newfoundland thrown in. The Curly Coat first appeared in the show ring in England in 1860 and was being shown in the United States by 1907. Although never very popular in America where it went head to head with the Chesapeake for water work, it was and still is the water dog of choice in Australia and New Zealand.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Gamekeeper's Dog

AKC Group: Sporting

Breed Club: Curly-Coated Retriever Club of America

Rescue Club: Sheila Callahan-Young, (978)-281-3860 (Massachusetts)

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Body Type:

  • A large, strongly built sporting dog with a distinctive curly coat
  • Height: 25-27 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 70-80 pounds
  • Hanging ears are not altered
  • Tail is not altered


  • Devoted and loving to family but aloof with strangers
  • Makes a better watchdog than most sporting breeds
  • Intelligent, though stubborn
  • Does not get along well with other dogs


  • Body and tail are covered with tight ringlets. In contrast the face is distinctively smooth
  • Solid black or solid liver are allowed colors
  • Surprisingly low maintenance grooming

Health Concerns:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Frequent seborrhea skin irritations, especially when kept indoors
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Not at all common anywhere in the U.S. Finding a puppy may take considerable time and effort
  • Becomes hyperactive and cranky if not allowed ample exercise
  • Don't expect to be able to walk past any body of water from puddle to sea without the Curly Coat checking it out
  • Most Curly-Coated Retrievers are dual purpose, being actively used for both hunting and show

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