Curly Coated Retriever Dog Sports
Curly-Coated Retrievers

The Curly Coated Retriever can do it all!


Participation in canine activity is important in developing and maintaining a safe and healthy relationship with our dogs, enhancing the human canine bond. A curly is so versitile, you can explore opportunities for human and canine education, continued socialization, exercise and competition. Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Lure coursing, Agility, Nose Work, Hunt tests, Tracking, Therapy, Dock Diving and many more activies. Through continued participation in canine activities, your Curly will maintain trust in you as their pack leader and in turn will be a happy member of your family.

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Originally bred to retrieve ducks on English seaboard marshes, the Curly-Coated Retriever is a black or liver-colored dog easily recognized by his coat, which is one mass of crisp curls that covers his entire body. The coat is easy to care for, as the curls stay in place with little or no attention. The Curly-Coated Retriever is a strong, smart, active dog who exhibits intelligence and endurance. He will practically live in the water. Temperamentally easy to train, he is a charming and faithful companion, and an excellent guard dog. His curious nature may lead him into many amusing escapades that call for an owner with a sense of humor.

The Curly is a hunting dog for the person who likes variety: ducks, pheasant, grouse and a dog who can also be a companion to children and a family friend. Though he is designated as a retriever, the Curly is also an outstanding upland game dog on pheasant, grouse, quail, etc. Curlies are currently being hunted throughout North America, and are used extensively for hunting in New Zealand (where they are the hunting dog of choice) and Australia. Many, if not most, of the people hunting Curlies are family oriented who just want a dog that hunts and can be a companion so hunting Curlies is rather a silent revolution.




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Barn Hunt




Training can improve your relationship with your Curly. While obedience is a competitive sport there is also practical obedience which is not much different than teaching basic manners and communication. If you are uncomfortable with the formality and, yes, rigidity, of formal obedience you can still become a happy team in practical obedience. I recommend obedience to any Curly owner. It will make your dog a better member of your family.

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A large, hardy, athletic retriever with a distinctive crisp curly coat. The thick, black or liver-colored coat of tight curls protects the dog from brambles and icy water. Even the small ears, back of the head, neck and tapering tail are covered with little curls. Only the face, hocks and front of the legs are smooth. The ideal Curly should be agile and graceful, strong yet elegant. Curlies are intelligent and smart. They are easily trained, but do not generally tolerate repetitious training well. Their streak of independence can make some types of training a little more difficult, as the dog will start making his own decisions. Because they mature slowly, training frequently takes longer than in some of the more popular retrievers.

The Curly Coat is possessed of an imperturbable temperament. Even tempered, this dog is intensely loyal and will be protective of the family while maintaining unfailingly good manners to humans likewise mannered. Curlies tend to be reserved rather than extroverted with strangers. However, this reserve can be shed rather dramatically when someone the dog knows and loves approaches! Curly Coats are very slow to mature and this should be taken into account when training them. They are always quick and intelligent, however, so tailoring your training into multiple, short, and interesting sessions will yield the best results over time. Of course, not all Curlies are paragons of virtue.

Most Curlies cannot be kept out of the water and are great natural swimmers. You should exercise due sensibility when introducing a puppy to water. Never throw the pup into the water: allow him to approach the water himself on a gently sloping entry with plenty of shallow water with little or no current. As he gains confidence, he will be splashing about in no time. If an adult dog is around to encourage the pup, he will probably be swimming before you (or he) know it!

gab2 The curly is an active dog, with a great sense of fun. They are well balanced and slightly longer than tall. They are also distinguished from all the other retrievers both in temperament, being slightly more aloof with strangers, although a protective and loyal family dog, to their distinctive tightly curled, dull coat, which is impenetrable to water. The face and front of legs remains straight haired. They are the tallest of the retrievers ideally being 27” for a male and 25” for a female. They are slow to mature and this needs to be taken into account when any training is given. They are highly intelligent dogs and their brains need to be used to the full. Although their coat is so distinctive it is virtually trouble free, no daily/ weekly brushing or combing is required (although this can be helpful when they do moult) Damp the coat down once a week, massaging it with the fingers and patting flat is all that is required.


The Curly is an erect, alert, self-confident dog. In motion, all parts blend into a smooth, powerful, harmonious symmetry. A correctly built and tempered Curly will work as long as there is work to be done, retrieving both fur and feather in the heaviest of cover and the iciest of waters. To work all day a Curly must be balanced and sound, strong and robust, and quick and agile.



Dock jumping is probably one of the safest dog sports out there. There’s no real pressure on the joints, as the dogs are landing in water, which is especially good for older dogs. There’s also no training required to participate, unlike most other dog sports; you can just come out and try it with your dog. Some are very competitive and do lots of training and conditioning for their dogs. Others just see it as another way to have a fun time with their dogs and meet a lot of fellow dog lovers! 



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