Curly Coated Retriever (often referred to as a Curly)
is an intelligent, friendly breed of dog originally
bred for upland bird and waterfowl hunting. He is the
tallest of the retrievers and is easily distinguishable
by the mass of tight curls covering his body. Curly
Coated Retrievers were developed as upland game hunters
and waterfowl retrievers in England and were recognized
as a breed as early as 1860. Curly Coated and Wavy Coated
(now known as the Flat-Coated Retriever) were the first
two recognized retriever breeds.
The curly is an active, upstanding,
well-muscled breed bred for upland bird and waterfowl
hunting. Although he is related to the other more popular
retrieving breeds, the Curly is quite different in type
and structure and somewhat different in temperament
than the more common retrievers. A correct Curly will
appear slightly leggy but is actually slightly longer
than tall. The breed sports a coat of tight, crisp curls.
He is balanced and agile with a significant air of endurance,
strength, and grace.
The coat of the Curly is a hallmark
of the breed. A correct coat is a large mass of small
curls that lie close to the skin. Breeders aim for tight,
crisp, individually pronounced curls rather than loose,
open curls. The coat is sufficiently dense to provide
protection in ill weather and icy water, and against
brambles and briars.
The only places on a Curly's body that
are not covered in tight curls are the forehead, face,
front of forelegs, and feet, where the hair should be
short, smooth, and straight. A looser curl is acceptable
on the ears. The breed should have no undercoat.
Patches of uncurled hair behind the
withers or bald patches of skin are undesirable. The
coat should not be sparse, silky, fuzzy, very harsh,
dry, or brittle.
Bald patches which may temporarily occur
in growing puppies who are changing to adult coat and
in bitches who have recently whelped are not necessarily
indicative of a permanent problem.
The only acceptable colours for the
Curly Coated Retriever are solid black and solid liver
(brown). Occasional white hairs are permissable, but
white patches are a serious fault.
Eyes should be either black or brown
in black dogs, and brown or amber in liver dogs. Yellow
eyes are undesirable.
The nose should be fully pigmented,
black in black dogs and liver in liver dogs.
The Curly Coated Retriever is a lively,
fun-loving breed. They are slow to mature, which makes
them a great addition to any active family. As long
as the CCR has enough exercise, he can be calm and laid
back in the home environment, which makes them both
a great activity dog as well as a placid member of the
family. CCRs are great dogs for flyball and dog agility
trails as they love the outdoors, working with people,
and activities of any kind.
Curly Coated Retrievers were bred to
work more independently than other retrievers. This
has given them a reputation for being reserved with
strangers and they are often accused of being aloof
because of it. However, CCRs are loyal to those they
know and are fond of children.
CCRs are extremely intelligent, learn
quickly, and love to please their owners; even so, training
one can sometimes be difficult as they can easily get
bored with repetitive training. Short, fun sessions
are the best way to a CCR's mind. The breed is quick
to figure things out, and once it has learned how to
do something (such as open a gate or door), he will
use his new skill any time he sees fit.
This breed can sometimes be stubborn
and self-willed. These individuals need careful motivational
training, as preventing bad behavior is much easier
than reversing it. Negative reinforcement causes some
dogs to refuse to obey commands.