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Curly Coated Retriever

Group: Gundogs (Group 3)
Club: Curly Coated Retriever Association Of Victoria Inc
Contact: Mrs Melinda Naughton
Phone: 0401 138 905

Brief History

The Curly Coated Retriever is considered to be one of the oldest retriever breeds and has a distinctive curly coat. It is thought that the St John’s Newfoundland, the Irish Water Spaniel, the old English Water Dog together with the Poodle all lent something to this breed’s origin. The Kennel Club in England first recognised the Curly Coated Retriever in 1854. It is believed that the breed came to Australia in the 1800’s as the first documented evidence of its presence here was in the early 1880’s.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime.

The average life span is 13 to 14 years.


The Curly Coated Retriever is kind-hearted and even-tempered, loyal and devoted to his family. He is bold, friendly, self-confident and independent and may sometimes seem aloof.

General Breed Description

This is a large, upstanding gundog, with a degree of elegance and a tapered, wedge-shaped head. Its usefulness as a gundog comes from a combination of pace, endurance, intelligence and a good nose. With their size and strength, they are able to retrieve almost anything. It is in water that they excel, usually showing a strong desire to swim from an early age. The Curly is slow to mature; this may take up to three years, so training may take some time. The breed is well suited to most activities including Obedience, Agility, Tracking and Conformation dog shows.

The Curly Coated Retriever has a water-proof coat of tight, crisp curls which provide protection from thorns and rough undergrowth. It may be black or liver in colour.

Coat and Care Requirements

As with all large dogs, the Curly Coated Retriever needs plenty of exercise to keep him in good, hard condition. As he is a keen retriever, this can be achieved with minimum effort on the part of the owner. They have the unique benefit of not needing much grooming; they are a "wash and wear" dog. No more than two or three times a year, a 10-minute session is required, using scissors to trim any scraggly bits from the coat, mainly around the ears and tail. On no account should a brush or comb be used.


Height: Males 69cms (27ins), Females 64cms (25ins).


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does. The Curly Coated Retriever is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Hip Dysplasia (HD), Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV bloat), and Eye Problems. The Curly Coated Retriever can also have Hereditary Bald Patterning, which appears from about 14 months of age.


Curlies make ideal companions for all members of the family and adapt well to most situations. They are best suited to active people who can provide regular exercise and mental stimulation, as this is an energetic breed that needs at least a daily walk and some play in the yard. Once they have had some basic training, they are obedient, but in their own time. This independence is a trait that devotees find attractive.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to Dogs Australia Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders