The Curly-Coated Retriever, often affectionately called “Curlies,” is a breed of hunting dog that has a largely undocumented history. Some believe that the hunting dog breed developed in England in the late 18th century. What is known is that they have been used as hunting dogs since the 19th century. Their signature curls are said to be inherited from the Poodle, one of the hunting dog breeds they are descended from.
The Curly-Coated Retriever is a multi-purpose hunting dog. They are able to work well in the water as well as on land. They were originally bred to be hunting dogs, so this hunting dog breed can work well within gun range. Curlies have good musculature and endurance, making them great working huting dogs. Their thick, curly coats are waterresistant and protect them from burrs when retrieving waterfowl. The Curly-Coated Retriever is considered to be soft-mouthed and handle the game they retrieve carefully.
The Curly-Coated Retriever is a very intelligent animal, which makes them very receptive to training. However, trainers should be careful to keep their training methods flexible. Intelligent hunting dogs will often be more willful and tire of repetitious strategies, trying to find new ways to perform tasks that the trainer may not approve of. Punitive training is not altogether effective with this hunting dog breed and harsh training can make willfulness a much bigger problem.
The most distinguishing feature of these hunting dogs is their tightly curled coat, which has a water-resistant quality, making them great for work in the water. Coats can be liver or solid black in color. These hunting dogs are on the larger end of the medium-sized spectrum. Male Curlies, can stand 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh 65 to 100 pounds. Female Curlies, can stand 20 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh 50 to 60 pounds
Like their flat-coated counterparts, Curly-Coated Retrievers are very active, intelligent, and eager to please. They tend to be more independent, however, so they may seem aloof at times. They tend to be very affectionate with their owners and members of their household, but less so with strangers. These hunting dogs need daily exercise in order to curb boredom and destructive behaviors, such as nipping and chewing, which they are prone to. Plenty of mental and athletic stimulation as well as good training should make for well-behaved hunting dogs.