Curly Coated Retriever

The Curly Coated Retriever is a large gundog with a waterproof coat made up of distinctive tight curls.

Curly Coated Retriever introduction and overview

The Curly Coated Retriever breed is also known as the CCR, Curly or Curlies. It is a large athletic, compact gundog with a coat consisting of tight waterproof curls on the entire body, tail and ears. Only the face and muzzle areas are smooth haired. The Curly Coat is a tall dog and appears ‘leggier’ than the Flat Coated Retriever.

The breed is a keen and natural swimmer and will gravitate towards water on the dog walk. The waterproof coat provides protection against cold water, and acts as a natural barrier against the elements as well as thorns and brambles. A soaking wet dog simply needs to shake a few times and is virtually dry. This is an ideal all-weather dog. It does not have an undercoat.

Like all large dogs, this breed is prone to the potentially fatal condition known as bloat. One large single meal a day should be avoided, and smaller portions should be offered throughout the day to prevent this condition. Soaking dry kibble in water for 10-15 minutes before serving can help to avoid this potentially fatal condition.

Curly Coated Retriever temperament

Retrievers have an excellent reputation as good family dogs, and the Curly Coated Retriever certainly lives up to that reputation. It is friendly and devoted to his master, although can be stand offish with strangers.

The breed is good with children, and loves being involved in family activities. Caution should be taken when introducing cats and other small pets around this breed, and good training and socialisation skills should be adopted from early age.

This is a large dog requiring a good deal of living space and doesn’t suit an urban lifestyle. The Curly Coat is happiest working outdoors in a rural enviroment where it can achieve the high levels of exercise it requires. This is certainly not a breed for the physically inactive dog owner.

Curly Coated Retriever Breed Group

The Curly Coated Retriever belongs to the Gundog group.

Size of the Curly Coated Retriever


Colour Varieties of the Flat Coated Retriever

This distinctive gundog is commonly seen in solid black, although liver is available too;

  • Black
  • Liver

Country of Origin

Great Britain

Time of original development

The Curly Coated Retriever dog breed was developed around 200 years ago. The breed was created to produce an efficient working dog to retrieve game birds from both land and water. Its ancestry is unclear, but the breed was probably developed from mixing Water Spaniels, various types of Retrievers, Pointers and Poodles.

Size and weight of the Curly Coated Retriever

Height bitch 58-64cms

Height dog 64-69cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 22.7-31.8kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 31.8-40.9kgs

Exercise requirements of the Curly Coated Retriever

High. The Flat Coated Retriever requires at least 2 hours of exercise daily, ideally off the lead.This is a dog with plenty an abundance of stamina and endurance. The Curly Coated Retriever is a dog best suited to country life, and an active owner who can provide the physical exercise, stimulation and time commitment this athletic breed requires. It also thrives on work and mental stimulation, and excels at obedience, agility and even flyball.

Is the Curly Flat Coated Retriever a good dog for a first time dog owner?

No. The breed is easy to train and a quick learner, but any prospective owner must appreciate the very high exercise levels and mental activiity the breed requires, as boredom can quickly result in unwanted behaviour around the home. Other Retrievers such as the Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever may be a more suitable breed for inexperienced dog owners.

Curly Coated Retriever coat length

Medium. The coat is a bundle of tight, crisp curls that cover the whole body apart from the face and muzzle. There is no undercoat.

Grooming requirements of the Flat Coated Retriever

Low to Medium. The mass of curls on this magnificent coat are actually quite easy to manage and groom. A very soft slicker brush will remove any tangles or matts quite easily. The dog is perfect for walking in bad weather as mud and water simply slide off the waterproof coat.


No. The breed sheds throughout the year and therefore not suitable for allergy sufferers.

Health Issues in the Curly Coated Retriever

The breed is prone to a variety of health problems, so do consult your breeder:

  • Bloat
  • Eye problems - cataracts, corneal dystrophy, entropion and ectropion, retinal dysplasia and distichiasis
  • G.S.D. - glycogen storage disease
  • E.I.C. - exercise induced collapse
  • Cancer
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye problems
  • Heart problems
  • Ear problems

Average lifespan of the Curly Coated Retriever

8-12 years. Maybe higher if your dog manages to avoid the known health issues, especially cancer that sadly this breed is prone to.

Approximate Curly Coated Retriever pedigree puppy price

Puppies are rarely available and pedigree puppies cost in the region of £600-£800. Litters tend to be produce around 7-8 puppies. There were just 83 puppies registered with the Kennel Club in 2016.

Estimating how much a Curly Coated Retriever would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 30kgs requires 365gms of complete dry food per day. A dog weighing 35kgs requires 402gms of complete dry food per day.

The weekly cost of feeding a bitch is around £7.30

The weekly cost of feeding a dog is around £8.00

Our estimates are based on feeding a slightly above average quality complete food bought from a popular supermarket on the high street. This is an estimate only, and doesn’t allow for higher activity levels of working dogs who may need above average amount of food due to higher activity levels.

ther necessary costs and regular expenses to consider when owning any dog

Remember to budget for other necessary routine costs and procedures for your dog that are not covered by general pet insurance:

  • Worming preparations
  • Flea treatments
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Dental treatments
  • Neutering/spaying

Many veterinary practices now operate monthly budget schemes to allow you to spread the cost over the year.