Curly-Coated Retriever Pros And Cons

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on 5 December 2022

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a confident and intelligent dog.

Curly-Coated Retriever

Breed name: Curly-Coated Retriever
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Height: 23 inches to 27 inches
Weight: 60 to 95 lbs

You may be surprised to learn that the Curly-Coated Retriever is one of the oldest of all the members of the Retriever breeds.

The Curly-Coated Retriever has a reputation for being a peerless swimmer, expert gun-dog and a great family pet.

At the time of writing, the Curly-Coated Retriever is ranked 167th out of 284 in the American Kennel Club’s breed popularity ranking.

The AKC go on to describe the Curly-Coated Retriever as being less needy and more independent than the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever.

The Curly-Coated Retriever is thought to have descended from two breeds that have since become extinct: the English Water Spaniel and the Retrieving Setter.

The AKC recognised the Curly-Coated Retriever as a dog breed in 1924.

In this article, we’ll hear from Kaffe (@kaffegram) to learn more about the Curly-Coated Retriever.

Curly-Coated Retriever Pros


Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

The Curly-Coated Retriever is an extremely versatile dog that is capable of excelling in a variety of different areas. As we mentioned at the top of the article, the Curly-Coated Retriever is a proficient swimmer and an excellent gun-dog. They can also thrive in a family home but they’ll need sufficient mental and physical stimulation. Curly-Coated Retriever will enjoy exploring with their owners whether it’s an urban or rural setting.

Harri further emphasised the breed’s versatility based upon their experience with Kaffe (@kaffegram).

Curlies go well in different situations and different places. You can take a curly on a hike in the mountains, paddleboard trip on the lake or for a business lunch in the city. Curlies in general are confident and not overreactive.


Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

As a dog that is adept at retrieving and swimming, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Curly-Coated Retrievers are usually an athletic dog breed. They’ll usually range between 23 and 27 inches in height and can weigh anywhere from 60 to 95 pounds. Curly-Coated Retrievers are members of the AKC’s sporting group.

Kaffe’s owner Harri (@kaffegram) described the Curlies as a hard-working dog breed.

You can really see that Curlies are made to move. They are the biggest breed in Retrievers and even if they are heavier than Labradors the overall look with high legs is more light and elegant. They’re not the fastest nor strongest but a breed that keeps on working.


The AKC describes the Curly-Coated Retrievers as confident, proud and smart. They’ve got the affectionate, gentle and loving side that you would expect from a Retriever breed like Goldens and Labradors. The organization go on to add that Curly-Coated Retrievers are more independent and less needy than the two aforementioned breeds.

Harri shared that Kaffe (@kaffegram) is an outgoing and smart dog.

Curlies are intelligent and friendly and even if it might be only human interpretation every curly-owner knows that these dogs have a good sense of humour. They do well with other dogs too.

Drawing attention

If you’re someone who doesn’t like attention or answering questions from dog enthusiasts, the Curly-Coated Retriever may not be for you. However, if you’re a passionate dog lover who is excited to share information about a less common dog breed, you could excel in the role of Curly-Coated Retriever ambassador.

Here’s Harri to explain more based upon his experience with Kaffe (@kaffegram).

You don’t see Curlies that often and every time we go out in the city somebody comes to ask about him. Kaffe is known to turn heads wherever he goes! A Xurly owner should be prepared for answering many questions with “No – it’s not a Labradoodle”, “No – it’s not a Spanish/Portuguese waterdog” and “No – his other parent is not a sheep.”

Life-coach ability

Curly-Coated Retrievers have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years in which these wonderful dogs can fulfill many roles in a pet owner’s life. The AKC write that the Curly-Coated Retriever is a “thinking person’s Retriever” who will “never quit before you do”. Harri touchingly shared all the wonderful ways that Kaffe (@kaffegram) has enriched his and his family’s life.

While this goes well for all other breeds too, the Curly Coated Retriever is a loyal companion, personal trainer, therapist and a friend that makes you a better person! You can learn a lot just by looking at a dog.

Curly-Coated Retriever Cons

Challenging models

Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

Curly-Coated Retrievers do have a striking appearance that is rather uncanny when compared to the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever. If aesthetics is your thing, the Curly-Coated Retriever may not have the glamour of an Irish Setter or a Cocker Spaniel. However, you’ll find their curls charming.

Harri shared some of the problems he’s encountered when it comes to photographing Kaffe (@kaffegram).

As a professional photographer, I could definitely have made things easier for me by not choosing a companion with all black, matte-finish, sheeplike appearance. They look both handsome and goofy, the smooth short haired head combined to a Curly body does divide opinions.


You shouldn’t underestimate the size of the Curly-Coated Retriever. They’re relatively big dogs that can be challenging to handle due to their size if you’re unfamiliar with day-to-day life with a medium-sized dog breed.

Harri shared some of the challenging aspects of owning a Curly-Coated Retriever.

They are big dogs and they pull on leash with big power. They eat a lot and they take a lot of space in the car. Somehow we ended up in this situation where Kaffe sleeps in the bed and needless to say he takes a lot of space there too.


Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

You shouldn’t underestimate how much exercise Curly-Coated Retrievers require. They’re an active breed that need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to prevent unwanted behaviours. It’s recommended that a Curly-Coated Retriever gets at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, but in truth, they will need a lot more. You should consider some brain games and mental stimulation activities to keep the cogs moving in these smart dogs.

Harri underlined this point, sharing his routine with Kaffe (@kaffegram).

They demand a lot of exercise but I guess it does not differ from most dogs. Kaffe gets to run off leash in the forest or beach everyday. You should also give CCR some mental exercise – it’s a good idea to practise new tricks frequently and keep the sessions rather short. They might get bored easily. For me the everyday walk or run in the forest is a highlight of the day but I can see this might be a con for someone.


Curly-Coated Retrievers have a great personality but just like any dog, their personalities can have some challenging aspects – too. As we mentioned earlier in the article, they’re an independent breed. When you think of a Retriever such as a Golden or Labrador, you think of an all-loving, outgoing dog that loves all members of the family, friends and people in general. However, Curly-Coated Retrievers can be focused on their family and disinterested in new people. They can have a stubborn streak that could make training challenging. It’s a good idea to start training from a young age.

Curly coated retriever is friendly but not over-friendly. They are not too interested in other people than the members of own family – although a family may involve a lot more people and dogs than just the ones living with you! They are rather independent and stubborn. When training a Curly it’s not enough to show how. You need to tell why.

Overall trouble of having dog

Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

Kaffe the Curly-Coated Retriever (Photo: @kaffegram / Instagram)

Curly-Coated Retrievers are all-action dogs that can make your home look a little messier like most dog breeds. So if you’re thinking about getting a Curly-Coated Retriever, you should be prepared for dog hair in your home. They’re moderate shedders. As active dogs, they may add some dirt to your home.

Harri provided further insight into life with a Curly-Coated Retriever.

I think this goes to all big breeds. If you like it easy, comfortable and clean then you should probably do something else. Kaffe does shed but not as bad as a Labrador. I think keeping the house clean is easier with a Curly. When enjoying a dinner, someone will most likely find a dark, curly, pube-looking hair on the plate. Now there’s an icebreaker for the evening!

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