The Curly-Coated Retriever originated in the 19th century in England where he was first exhibited in 1860. The breed is thought to be descended from a mixture of the English water spaniel, possibly the poodle, the Newfoundland and a setter. The Curly-Coated retrievers were especially valued by estate gamekeepers and common men who used them to locate and retrieve missed game after the gentry hunt. Referred to as a "meat dog" or "gamekeeper's dog," the Curly's exceptional hunting skills could be relied upon to locate and retrieve fowl and small game, and provide dinner for the working's man table.
The Curly-Coated retriever's distinctive coat, somewhat similar to the Irish Water Spaniel, is either black or liver, covering the dog in short, tight curls, except for its forehead, face, lower forelegs, and feet. According to the breed standard, the ideal height should be 25-27 inches at the withers.
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Because he matures slowly, this dog must have obedience training to prevent mischief. The breed's slow maturation process often means that these dogs are not ready for the field for two or three seasons, unlike the Labrador, which can hunt its first year. He does better with gentle rather than harsh methods.
Curly-coated retrievers are intelligent, steady, reliable, bold, friendly, self-confident and independent. They may be aloof with strangers, but never aggressive. His temperament makes it an ideal family dog as well as a tireless worker in the field.
- FCI standard #110
- Encyclopedia Britannica
- Tom Quinn, Stephen Bodio. The Working Retrievers
- Steve Smith. The Encyclopedia of North American Sporting Dogs