The Clever, Intelligent Curly-Coated Retriever Temperament: Plus 5 More You Need to Know Before Bringing This Dog Home

Bred to retrieve game from water or land, the Curly-Coated Retriever temperament is intelligent, trainable, and lively.Photo of Curly Coated Retriever Portrait

While little is known about the Curly-Coated Retrievers origin, they were highly prized by gamekeepers, hunters, and poachers.

They are one of the oldest retriever breeds and thought to be descendants of the extinct English Water Spaniels and other retriever-type dogs.

Gamekeepers appreciate the Curly-Coated Retrievers amazing ability to hunt birds and retrieve waterfowl.

Curly-Coated Retriever Temperament and Personality

They have an immense drive and determination

The Curly-Coated Retriever dog has a strong determination and drive. They will work until a job is done and will not quit before you do. This quality helps make them excellent hunting dogs.

Photo of Curly Coated Retriever With Hunter

Curly Coated Retriever With Hunter

They adore their family

Curly-Coated Retrievers are family oriented. They have that even-temper found in retrievers and love to be around their favorite humans.

Curlies, as they are sometimes known, become very attached to their families, though, and want to do everything with them. If you aren’t a fan of a constant dog-shadow, this breed isn’t for you.

They absolutely love children and other dogs

The Curly-Coated Retrievers lively nature make them ideal companions for families with children. However, because of their size, a home with older children may be better.

Young children could get accidentally knocked down during playtime. Curlies also get along well with other dogs with proper socialization.

Can be reserved with strangers

Unlike most retrievers, Curlies can be more reserved around strangers – especially when they are in their own home. When in social settings, though, Curly-Coated Retrievers are typically friendly towards new people.

They tend to mature slower and are independent thinkers

Curly-Coated Retrievers take longer to mature than other dog breeds. Be ready to deal with a full-grown puppy for several years. Curlies are also independent thinkers and aren’t typically recommended for first-time dog owners.

Photo of Curly Coated Retriever Curious

Training a Curly-Coated Retriever

While the Curly-Coated Retriever is trainable and eager to please, they do have a mind of their own and stubborn tendencies.

Curlies need a firm, kind owner who will show consistent leadership.

A too-tough training regimen will upset them while a too-soft training regimen means they won’t listen.

When training a Curly-Coated Retriever, avoid repetition and make training sessions as fun as possible. Curlies become bored with too much repetition and respond best to training sessions full of treats and praise.

Some Curly-Coated Retrievers do well with dog sports such as obedience, but they truly excel in fieldwork.

The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan a world-class Dog Trainer from New Zealand is worth taking a look at. This online resource has hundreds of fun informative dog training videos that will help you learn the basics and advanced training techniques.

Finding the Perfect Curly-Coated Retriever

Ready to add the Curly-Coated Retriever to your family? You’re certainly in for a treat.

Now it’s time to find the perfect one.

Before you add this breed to your family, you’ll need to decide whether you want a puppy or an adult. Keep in mind that Curly-Coated Retrievers stay in puppyhood longer than other breeds. Is this something you can handle?

Curly-Coated puppies are cute, but they are hard work. If you aren’t ready for a Curly-Coated Retriever puppy, consider adopting an adult from a rescue organization. Not only are adults less rambunctious than puppies, but they often know basic commands and are housebroken.

Curly-Coated Retriever Puppies for Sale

Purebred Curly-Coated Retriever puppies for sale will cost between $600-$800 depending on the breeder and location. The Curly-Coated Retriever price also depends on litter availability and whether they are AKC registered.

A Curly-Coated Retriever for sale from a rescue will cost between $200-$400, depending on the organization and location.

Curly-Coated Retriever Rescue and Adoption

Have you decided on Curly-Coated Retriever rescue? Your first stop should be the Curly-Coated Retriever Club of America.

Photo of Curly Coated Retriever Sitting Portrait

The Curly-Coated Retriever Club of America has a rescue section with rescues and referrals. However, because they are so rare, they won’t always have Curlies available for adoption.

You can also check with local rescue organizations to see if they have any Curly-Coated Retrievers or Curlie mixes available for adoption.

Curly-Coated Retriever Breeders

If you’d like to purchase a puppy from a Curly-Coated Retriever breeder, the Curly-Coated Retriever Club of America has a breeder directory with breeders available by location.

You can also ask your vet (if you already have a pet), visit dog shows, or reach out to local breed clubs to find a breeder.

When choosing the perfect breeder, plan visits to different ones and prepare a list of questions. Some great questions to ask are:

  • “Where do the puppies live?”
  • “How many litters do you raise per year?”
  • “Do you have health certificates?”
  • “Can I meet the parents?”

Reputable breeders will always be willing and able to answer any questions you have about their litters!

Caring for a Curly-Coated Retriever

The Curly-Coated Retriever weight is between 60-95 pounds and they stand between 23-27” tall. They live between 10-12 years.

Grooming a Curly-Coated Retriever

Curly-Coated Retrievers have quite a unique coat. They have small, tight curls that cover their body from head to tail. Their coat is water and weather-resistant. It also protects their skin during hunting. Curlies color can be black or liver (a deep reddish-brown color).

You might be asking if the Curly-Coated Retriever sheds – and the answer is yes. But, Curly-Coated Retriever shedding only happens twice a year.

The Curly-Coated Retriever is not hypoallergenic, though.

Curlies actually have minimal grooming requirements. In fact, many owners don’t brush their Curly-Coated Retriever as it can cause frizz. They also don’t need frequent baths – a wet-down and air dry is sfficient.

Staying Healthy

Like most dogs, Curly-Coated Retrievers are prone to certain diseases and health conditions. Several health conditions Curlies are prone to include:

Note: Don't let the many issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely Curly-Coated Retriever pet from expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.


Curly-Coated Retrievers are an active breed that requires a lot of exercises. However, Curlies are also great at hanging out and relaxing at home with you.

If they receive enough exercise, they can live anywhere – from apartments to farms.

Curly-Coated Retrievers love to have a job to do – whether that’s a walk, swim, or playing with mentally-stimulating toys. Curlies are perfect for active families who can provide them with enough exercise.

Conclusion: Why the Curly-Coated Retriever?

The Curly-Coated Retriever is loyal, lively, and clever.

This is a sensitive breed who does best with a kind yet firm training. They are great for active families with older children.

If you’re looking for an adaptable, independent, and intelligent breed, the Curly-Coated Retriever is the perfect companion.