Curly Coated Retriever

  • Overview

    Curly-Coated Retrievers are diligent retrievers who have a quiet, introspective appearance. They aren't quite as exuberant or outgoing as other retrievers, but they still make dedicated, active family companions. These large dogs stand about 2 feet tall and weigh about 65 pounds. They can easily be identified by their lustrous black, curly coats. If you are looking for a mellow, thoughtful dog who is still quite pleased to work as an active retriever, look no further than the Curly-Coated Retriever. These dogs are happiest when they have a job to do or an activity to entertain themselves, and they appreciate living in homes with respectful owners who take their hard-working, focused personalities seriously.

  • Personality

    Curly-Coated Retrievers can be a little aloof around strangers, but they aren't aggressive dogs. They just don't have the exuberance or the patience of some other popular retrieving breeds. Curlies are probably not going to tolerate children or other dogs climbing and pawing all over them like Golden Retrievers do, so if you are hoping for an incredibly tolerant, docile dog, the Curly might not be for you. Curlies have their own agenda. They are diligent workers who take pride in their skill and their abilities. They need plenty of exercise, and they drastically prefer fetching, retrieving and active play to going on a short walk. Curlies flourish with plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Without plenty of activity and attention, they can resort to destructive habits. They also have a tendency to be a little mouthy, especially when they are young. Teach them positive habits from an early age and help them learn proper behavior by providing them with plenty of chew toys, puzzle toys and stimulating activity or chores to do. Despite their more independent personalities, Curly-Coated Retrievers are still incredibly responsive to their owners. They love to please and they enjoy nothing more than completing tasks, so once they accept their owner's dominance, they will quickly learn commands.

  • Coat Care

    Curly-Coated Retrievers are easily recognizable because of their unique coats. Their whole bodies are covered in a dense, thick coating of tight curls. The curls are crisp to the touch and help protect Curlies from briars and underbrush. The entire coat should be curly, except for the hair around the face and legs, which is soft and smooth. Even their tails and ears are covered in curls, which can sometimes be looser and wavier than the rest of the body. Curly-Coated Retrievers are either solid black or solid liver.

Curly Coated Retriever
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Surprisingly, the Curly-Coated Retriever's beautiful coat does not require too much grooming. Excessively brushing or combing the Curly Coated Retriever's coat can cause the curls to break apart and lose their texture. This creates the dreaded "frizzy" effect, with which curly-haired humans are all too familiar. Therefore, keep brushing to an as-needed basis. When your Curly-Coated Retriever is in need of a good brushing, gently run a metal comb or small slicker brush through the coat and bathe your dog afterward so the curls maintain their shape.

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With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but dogs with short coats do produce a distinctive dog odor, so your nose may encourage you to bathe them more frequently - about every 8-12 weeks. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Wipe wrinkled breeds with a soft cloth and make sure they are totally dry after bathing; high-velocity dryers work great to remove excessive loose hair with shedding; coat should be fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair.

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Hair Clipping

Some owners prefer to trim any feathering around the ears, underbelly, legs and feet, especially if they want to show their dog or if they notice that their dog is uncomfortable.

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Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

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Eyes / Ears

Curly-Coated Retrievers will appreciate having their ears cleaned and checked for infection on a routine basis.

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Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.