History of the Curly-Coated Retriever Breed
The curly-coated retriever may be one of the oldest retriever breeds. Its distinctive look likely comes from such descendents as the Old English water dog, the Irish water spaniel, and a small Newfoundland-type dog. It is believed that it was later crossed with the poodle, which enhanced the curly coat. Other sources claim that this breed came from crosses of other dogs, such as the Tweed spaniel and the curly water dog. Whatever its origin, the result was that the curly-coated retriever became the most popular retriever in England by the mid-1800s, and it was known for its outstanding retrieving abilities as well as its companionship. It was one of the first breeds to be shown at English dog shows. The curly-coated retriever was later taken to Australia and New Zealand, and the breed is still popular in those places. The first curly-coated retriever was brought to the United States in 1907, and it was recognized by the AKC in 1924. However, this breed was never very popular in America, and its favor in England also decreased during the 1900s. Some feel this decline was caused by a number of atypical specimens that were known as hard-mouthed retrievers, effectively ruining the reputation of the breed in general. This caused some hunters to choose a different type of retriever. But the curly-coated retriever is actually soft-mouthed, in general. This breed almost died out during the First World War, and again during the Second World War, as food became scarce during these times. It was just a few English breeders that are credited with the survival of the breed and bringing them back after the Wars.
Size and Appearance of the Curly-Coated Retriever Breed
Considered to be the most graceful and elegant of the retrievers, the curly-coated retriever is more agile and somewhat longer legged than the others. The front legs are strong and straight, while the back legs feature powerful, well-muscled thighs. The compact feet are round with well-arched toes and thick pads. The tapered head is clean cut and has large, almond-shaped eyes that offer an alert and intelligent expression. The ears are quite small, and they lie close to the head. The wedge shaped muzzle roundly tapers at the end and features long, strong jaws with a scissors bite. The nose is black or brown with large nostrils. The slightly-arched neck is strong and flows smoothly into the shoulders. The level back is strong, and the tail is carried quite straight. It is covered with curls. The gait of this breed is described as efficient and balanced with agility and power. The distinctive coat is made up of small, tight curls that lie close to the skin. The coat is water-resistant and offers the dog protection from the elements. The curly-coated retriever is usually black or liver in color.
Curly-Coated Retriever Temperament
While eager and tireless outdoors, the curly-coated retriever is a quiet and calm indoor companion for the family. It is a sensitive and gentle dog that is usually very good with children and quite easy to train. It is generally good with other pets. Training should be done in a gentle but firm manner, as this breed can be sensitive. Socialization (both with people and animals) should begin at an early age to prevent timidity. It can be a good watch dog and has been known to protect its family in dangerous situations. The curly-coated retriever is slow to mature, taking about three years to reach full maturity. This breed is extremely loyal, and they are not aggressive by nature. The deep bark may startle strangers.
Curly-Coated Retriever Recommended Maintenance
The unique coat of this breed is fairly easy to maintain. Brushing will diminish the tight curls, so this dog should only be combed occasionally, preferably before getting wet. Minimal scissoring will help to tidy up scraggly hairs. During its shedding seasons, it does need to be brushed regularly. This breed is considered to be an average shedder. The curly-coated retriever is an active dog that requires daily exercise. It prefers activities that involve swimming and retrieving. This breed is not recommended for apartment dwelling. It does best with a large yard. In addition to much exercise, this dog needs the opportunity to be challenged mentally. It also enjoys long walks and fetching. Without sufficient exercise, this breed may misbehave.
Curly-Coated Retriever Health
Life span: 8 – 12 years
Major concerns: CHD
Minor concerns: none
Occasionally seen: distichiasis, cataract
Suggested tests: hip