Curly Coated Retriever - Information and NZ Breed Standards

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Curly Coated Retriever

General Information - Curly Coated Retriever



8-12 years




Watchdog ability:

Protection ability:

Area of Origin:

Date of Origin:

Other Names:

Original Function:
water retrieving


The Curly-Coated Retriever is considered to be one of the oldest retriever breeds. It has been used for retrieving as long ago as the late eighteenth century in England, where it was developed. The breed probably resulted from crosses with the Close-Curled English Water Dog, the Old Water Spaniel and the St. John's Newfoundland dog. Some sources suggest the Irish Water Spaniel, the Labrador, and the Poodle. In any case, the Curly is a fine water retriever with a gentle mouth, particularly ideal for duck and quail. He is an excellent hunting companion and Gundog, and his gentle temperament also makes him an outstanding family companion.

Here in New Zealand, Curlies were established before the 1900's. Our isolation and own limitless hunting opportunities further honing their working skills. Kept primarily as a highly valued hunting dog, over the years only a small minority have been in the competitive arena. Since virtually the inception of field trials in this country, Curlies have experienced a marked degree of success, taking out various Island and National Titles, as well as individual Field Trial and Grand Field Trial Championship awards. Now, they are beginning to make their mark in other disciplines such as search and rescue (dual operational status), agility etc. They have also acquitted themselves well in the show ring, winning numerous group awards and gaining the distinction of a smattering of In-Show awards.


The Curly-Coated Retriever is easy to get along with, loyal and eager to please. This breed is not for everyone; they need early, gentle, but firm obedience training. They can do well in competitive obedience and agility but are not as predictable a performer as a Golden Retriever. They like to do things their own way. The Curly-Coated Retriever is affectionate, loving, and excellent with children; however, they may accidentally knock over a toddler. Socialise them well with people and other pets at an early age, as this breed tends to be reserved and even timid with strangers if not properly socialised. It is a good watchdog that will also protect the family if danger threatens. This breed loves to swim. They also make good therapy dogs. Curly-Coated Retrievers make an ideal partner for an active, outdoor-oriented person who also wants a loyal family companion. This breed does not fully mature until it is about three years old.


The Curly is an easy dog to maintain, requiring no unusual care. It needs daily exercise, preferably involving swimming and retrieving. It can live outdoors in temperate weather, but it does best as an indoor – outdoor dog. Because brushing diminishes the tight curls, it should be combed only occasionally, preferably before getting wet. Some very minimal scissoring may be desirable to tidy up scraggly hairs. It does need regular brushing during its shedding seasons.

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