Curly-Coated Retrievers


Curly-Coated Retrievers

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Breed Notes:

The Curly-Coated Retriever is believed to be one of the oldest of all breeds that are now classified as retrievers. Although the exact ancestry of this breed is unknown, it is believed that in the early 1800s small Newfoundlands called St John's Newfoundlands were crossed with Irish or English Water Spaniels to create a serious land and water retriever. It is possible that the Poodle was later introduced into the mix that creates this breed. The Curly-Coat was introduced into the United States in 1907 and registered with the American Kennel Club in 1924. The breed is particularly popular in England, New Zealand and Australia where he is used to hunt quail and other wild fowl. He is not as popular as other hunting breeds are in the United States.
The Curly-Coated Retriever is an enthusiastic and hard working gundog. Although sober, independent and wary of strangers, he is a pleasant companion for his owner and easy to care for since his coat does not require excessive grooming. Due to his enthusiasm and energy, he needs vigorous outdoor exercise with time in the water, if possible.
The Curly-Coat's head is long, as is the muzzle. The drop between skull and muzzle (the stop) is almost imperceptible. The eyes are large and either dark brown or black in color. The ears are small, triangular and set at eye level. They hang close to the side of the head. The muzzle is strong with a level bite. He is a squarely built dog. He has a deep chest, muscular shoulders, straight topline and well-muscled hindquarters. The tail, though not docked, is relatively short for a retriever and held out level with the back. The coat is made up of crisp, small, weatherproof curls which cover all of the body except the muzzle and foreface which are covered with shorter, smoother hair. Coat colors include solid black or solid liver. Average height is between 25 and 27 inches. Average weight is between 70 and 80 pounds.


dakota@discover-net.net of Wisconsin writes:

Only for the intelligent and patient.
After 25 years owning this breed, I will tell you the most important thing: the human must be more intelligent than the Curly.
Forget all the crap about this being a "new" breed: Curlies have been a part of the U.S. experience since AT LEAST 1850.
These are very bold, very confident, very intelligent dogs. Yep, they can smooch your kids, love you up, but they need things to do. Curlies have historically been bred to be the dog who finds and retrieves birds without direction or comment. I have hunted with them for 25 years: we soon learned that you follow the Curly, rather than direct the Curly, if you want to find and flush birds.
Curlies are designated as retrievers by the AKC but historical anecdotes and bird dog book accounts portray them as upland hunting dogs supreme. In 25 years of upland hunting, including 20 years in South Dakota, I agree with that summary.
Curlies want and demand to be part of your family. A Curly left to days in a kennel will prove to be too stubborn to train. If you are a person who believes you could be more intelligent than a dog, and who would throw a ball for a while each day, and allow the dog to travel in your pickup or van to the grocery store each day, and really believes in a dog as a member of the family, the Curly is for you.
I know this: several hunting guides in South Dakota have proclaimed various Curlies I have owned or bred as the best pheasant dogs, no matter what breed or age, they have ever seen. A Curly bred by a hunting breeder may be the best hunting dog you ever had, as long as you understand the unique personality and temperament of the breed.


ccrsurgedis@msn.com of Memphis, TN writes on 8/24/01:

Wonderful hunting companions, but with issues.
The Curly-Coated Retriever is the oldest of the retriever breeds. The Curly-Coated Retriever is not a Poodle and is not a Labador, but a breed of its own. These dogs are wonderful hunting companions but they do have an attitude. Unlike the Labador, Goldens, Chessies, and others the Curly is is not a dog one can take to the field once aweek do repitious training and then be ready to hunt. You must do short training sessions not on how to do the task but more of why. here is an example the young 8 month old Curly surge was hunting with me. I shot a duck and he gladly went to get it and brought it back. The next duck I shot surge looked at me as to say, "I got the last you go get this one." The Curly also is not a dog you can send out to be trained by a professional, these dogs are more of a one handler dog. The Curly is a brave dog not willingly to back down from fur or feather. They do make a pretty good alarm but is not a guard dog. Should an intruder arrive the Curly will bark loudly as to say ,"Hey human, there is something out there." This next point is a very important point and should not be taken lightly by a potential Curly owner. the Curly is not a kennel dog. Curlies like to be part of the family, if you are inside they want to be inside, if you are outside they want to be outside. Some facts about Curlies: yes they do shed, yes they do need to be groomed, no NEVER blow dry a curly, yes they are good with children(but as with any breed never leave children unattended with a dog), no you don't have to Curly their hair, yes they need a significant amount of excercise, yes they love to swim, and most of all they love to be loved (they try to be a lap dog whenever possible. Like so many of the larger breeds some of the problems they have are hip dysplasia elbow dysplasia cancer in some lines and eye problems. there is an additional problem that should be mentioned, in some lines there is pattern baldness(bald spots on the dog. It is a genetic problem that one should discuss with the breeder of the pups being considered. Any questions you may have please feel free to contact me and I'll share all my limited knowledge of the Curly-Coated Retriever and will share some of the things they do to keep their humans laughing. WONDERFUL dogs BUT not for everyone.


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