Living with a curly
Curly-Coated Retrievers

Living with a Curly Coated Retriever

I would not say I agree with all of this....but these are some things you will read on the internet about the Curly-Coated Retriever!

Curly-Coated Retrievers need a half hour to an hour a day of exercise and stimulation. One of the best ways to keep a Curly active and stimulated is to provide him with a variety of jobs, from walks to swimming to carrying light items for you. Puzzle toys such as Buster Cubes will keep Curlies entertained, as will training them for obedience, agility, and other dog activities.

destruct3 Curly-Coated Retrievers are rambunctious as puppies. Early training is a must, and it's a great way to bond with your active pup. Puppies have a high activity level, but they also need lots of naps to recharge, so the hard exercise you might give an adult isn't necessary for them.

Curly-Coated Retrievers tend to be mouthy and will nip and chew everything they find. This can cause expensive veterinary bills if the puppy happens to eat something that could harm him.

To keep your puppy safe and to help with housetraining, crate training is recommended. Crate training benefits every dog and is a kind way to ensure that your Curly doesn't have accidents in the house or get into things he shouldn't. A crate is also a place where he can retreat for a nap. Crate training at a young age will help your Curly accept confinement if he ever needs to be boarded or hospitalized. Never stick your Curly in a crate all day long, however. It's not a jail, and he shouldn't spend more than a few hours at a time in it except when he's sleeping at night. Curlies are people dogs, and they aren't meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.

Although they enjoy the great outdoors, Curly-Coated Retrievers are not dogs who can be kenneled outside. They enjoy being with their family and can become very destructive when left away from them.

Curly-Coated Retrievers are sporting dogs and have the energy that other sporting and working dogs have. If they are not given adequate exercise, at least 30 to 60 minutes per day, they can become quite destructive in their boredom.

Curly-Coated Retrievers tend to be mouthy and will nip and chew everything in reach, including toys, clothes, and hands.


Bad girl Petra! 

 Coat and Shedding
The Curly-Coated Retriever has the most unusual coat of all of the retriever breeds. The coat requires only moderate grooming, and the breed sheds only twice a year.

A Curly-Coated Retriever has a relatively easy-care coat and usually sheds only twice a year, although the amount of shedding varies among individual dogs. Preparation in puppyhood is key. As with all breeds, it's important to start grooming your Curly-Coated Retriever puppy when he's young. Make grooming a positive and soothing experience, and he'll be easier for you and other people to handle when he's grown.

Shedding season is also a good time to give him a bath. He shouldn't need one on a regular basis unless he's gotten into something stinky. Use a shampoo made for dogs to keep the coat from drying out.

And the opinions don't always agree!

Curlies don’t shed much, but they do shed. If your Curly spends time in the house, you will find hair on the furniture or floor. The coat usually sheds a small amount year-round, with a heavier shed twice a year.


One site says:
Curly-coated retrievers shed very little since they have no undercoat—just crisp tight curls over most of their bodies.
They need to come look at the tumbleweeds in my kitchen!


The Curly-Coated Retriever stands up to 27 inches tall at the shoulder, and has a distinctive black or liver-coloured coat that is covered in dense, tight curls that lie close to the body. His coat is oily and sheds dirt, mud, and burrs easily. An easy-care dog for grooming, his coat requires no trimming.

During shedding season, some brushing may be necessary to keep loose hair under control. Ideally, the coat should be brushed out with an undercoat rake or slicker brush before bathing. Once the hair dries, the curls will return to the coat. The degree of shedding will determine how often brushing and bathing is necessary. Otherwise, baths are only needed every month or so, unless the Curly-Coated Retriever gets into something stinky or sticky.


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 Other pets and children
In general, Curly-Coated Retrievers do well with children but small children should never be left unsupervised with any dog regardless of breed.

The Curly-Coated Retriever is very confident and affectionate with its owner and family and consequently aloof and reserved around strangers. It will be friendly around children if they are for the most part well-behaved and they also get along with other household pets and dogs. They need to be socialized from a very young age in order to avoid excessive shyness and timidity. The Curly-Coated Retriever is not recommended for the novice dog owner as well.

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a great companion for older children who can stand up to his size and energy level, but he may be overwhelming for younger children who are easily knocked down in play. Any time your Curly interacts with children, lay down some ground rules for dog and child. No ear pulling, tail pulling or biting allowed! For the safety of both, never leave small children unsupervised with any dog.

Curly-Coated Retrievers generally do very well with other dogs and animals but socialization is still important in regard to animal interactions.


Curlies are charming, affectionate, and gentle housemates in the way of all retrievers. They are, though, more emotionally complex—a bit more independent-minded and less needy—than Labs or Goldens. With loved ones they’re playful and mischievous, but Curlies will hold themselves aloof from strangers until proper introductions are made. This wariness makes them more discerning watchdogs than other, more compulsively gregarious retrievers.

kid1 Curly-Coated Retrievers are intelligent, charming, gentle, and affectionate dogs, and they are great with children. They are ideally suited to a household with loving, outdoor-oriented, and active family members. Although these dogs are naturally active, athletic, and determined, they are surprisingly relaxed around the home. They are easy-going and loving with family members, although they tend to be a bit more reserved and quiet around strangers.

These dogs become very strongly attached to their human family members and enjoy doing everything and going everywhere with them. This is a good breed choice for anyone who wants a shadow dog, but it's not a great match for busy people who prefer independent dogs. Their shadowing is not something that can be trained out of the breed, as it is more about devotion and affection than separation anxiety.

Curly-Coated Retrievers were born to run and hunt and play outdoors, and they need a good balance of love, attention, and outdoor tasks to keep them fully satisfied both mentally and physically. Regular exercise along with dog sports, such as flyball and agility, will keep these dogs stimulated and satisfied. Keeping them busy ensures they remain well behaved.

The Curly Coated Retriever is a slow maturing dog and may take up to three years to reach maturity. Their temperament is kind and good-hearted. They are not apt to bark, but when they do their deep bark alone is enough to stop unwanted intruders in their tracks. The Curly does have a mind of its own and is obedient, but tend to be so in its own time. They are a fun loving, gentle companion for all members of the family.

This dog breed is loyal, affectionate and responsive. They get along well with children and other dogs and pets. This dog breed tends to be a little wary of strangers, but will only show aggression if they sense danger. They are an exceptionally well-mannered breed that is proud and very sociable.


A biddable and intelligent breed, Curly-Coated Retrievers are highly responsive to training and good with commands. They are eager to please and make great companion animals, provided they have proper training and socialization. However, without sufficient training and a steady supply of jobs to do, these dogs will quickly become bored and destructive. Therefore, this breed is not the best choice for first-time dog owners.

Curly-Coated Retrievers are slow to mature, which means training may take a little longer than with some other breeds. Positive reinforcement generally works very well with these dogs, and the breed responds exceptionally well to play and food rewards. Of course, it is always important to limit treats and food rewards to prevent overeating and weight-related problems.

These dogs need a lot of attention and stimulation. Without plenty of company, toys, and exercise, Curly-Coated Retrievers can become noisy or destructive. In cases where human family members must be away from home for long periods, a second dog can provide much needed company. Ideally, the dogs should be raised together to prevent personality clashes and fights.


 Even a curly who isn't afraid of guns used in hunting can act different with Thurnderstorms
Your Dog's Fear of Thunderstorms. We vets call it storm phobia. You call it your worst nightmare. Either way, we all want the same thing: A calmer dog who doesn't have to suffer the psychological damage done by booming thunder, wicked lightning and plummeting barometric pressures

1502868_10204037847844229_7568899339732120231_o Always reward calm behavior. Don’t wait for your dog to act fearful to give her attention. When you console a whimpering dog you’re actually rewarding the unwanted behavior. So instead, praise her and shower her with affection when she’s completely calm. That way she knows that this is the correct way to behave.

Use a Thundershirt when it’s not raining. Lots of owners make the mistake of putting their dogs in these snug-fitting calming jackets (other brands include Storm Defender and Anxiety Wrap) after a storm has begun. In fact, having Rover wear the shirt before a storm hits, when he’s already happy and relaxed, will help him associate the sensation of wearing it with feeling calm.

Create a safe, storm-proof place for your pet. Pay attention to where your pet goes when a storm starts. If possible, help make this her permanent safe zone by adding a blanket, toy, or water dish. Crates can be safe spots, but a key feature should be that it’s as far away from storm sounds as possible.


Bitches in Britches!

When Will My Female Curly Have Her First Season?

12694833_10208077843081585_6952628324800569933_o If you have brought a female Curly-Coat puppy into your home, you will probably at some point have to deal with her coming into season.

Many vets now prefer to wait until after a Retrievers first season to spay, so even if you are planning on having her neutered you will need to manage at least one season beforehand.

Your unspayed Curly will likely have her first season any time from six months of age onwards.

The average age is between nine and twelve months. Some large breed female dogs won’t have their first heat until as late as eighteen to twenty four months old.

How Often Do Curlies go into Heat?

10527497_10204080217543445_6223242242123987446_n Your female Curlies season will normally form a fairly regular pattern. Although the pattern may vary widely from dog to dog.

The space in between seasons will usually be somewhere between every six months and annually.

An eight to ten month cycle is longer than average but still considered to be normal, and occasionally a bitch will come into season every three or four months.

Although variations in heat cycles is normal, it is a good idea to chat to your vet if your bitch’s heat cycles are very different from the average six monthly interval, and especially if they suddenly change to a new pattern.

This is just a precaution in case there is an underlying health issue that needs looking at


How long will my dog’s season last?

Your female Curlies season will last approximately three to four weeks. The time that she will ovulate is about ten days to a fortnight in.

At this point the colour of her discharge may change from pink to colorless and her flagging will increase.

How long your a female dog spends in each stage of her heat (proestrus and oestrus) varies widely from dog to dog. On average oestrus begins 7-10 days after the start of your girl’s season, but you simply cannot assume that she will be average.


Keep your Curly fit!

Because of his high-energy and athleticism, the Curly-Coated Retriever needs a good quality diet specifically formulated for active dogs. It is best to feed dry food as it will help to eliminate plaque buildup on the teeth which can cause inflamed gums, tooth decay and smelly breath. The Curly should never be fed one large meal. Meals should be split into a morning meal and an evening meal to help prevent canine bloat, a potentially fatal problem. Free feeding is an option provided the dog does not overeat and become overweight.


How to tell if your Curly is overweight

193113_1903995077316_2413638_o Check the ribs. Yes, there should be a little fat over them, but you should be able to feel them. If you can’t find them…you’ve got a problem. In fact, feel around for the major bones all over your dog’s body–legs, spine, shoulders, hips. If you have trouble finding any of them, then your pet has a bit too much padding.

Check the breathing. If your dog breathes heavily even after little or no exertion, or has a hard time recovering from a short walk or play session, there could be a problem.

Check the base of the tail. A little fat should cover this area, but if you can’t feel the bones at all, you dog is very overweight.

Look down. Seriously: check your pet’s silhouette from above. Can you find a waist? Can you tell where the ribs end and the hips begin?

Check the “abdominal tuck.” The tuck is the area behind the ribs. It should be smaller around than the chest. How much smaller depends on the breed, and the more deep-chested your dog, the greater the difference. A dog who’s too thin will have a very severe tuck, while a fat dog may have no tuck at all.


Im just big-boned! 


bath2 Curlies rarely require bathing, unless living indoors and leading outdoor lives as well. Frequent bathing deprives the coat of natural oils. I try to bath my dogs 4 to 5 days before a show, using a liquid shampoo as mentioned in the beginning. If close to the sea, very little can equal a swim in salt water just prior to the show to wash out the dirt and grit and harden the coat. The trick is making sure he doesn't roll in the sand before you get him home. However, if you can't get to the beach shampooing is often necessary. DON'T rub you dog dry. Put him on a lead and let him shale most of the water off and then if necessary, and you don't have the energy to take a 1 or 2 mile walk, place a towel over his coat and pat it down hard to flatten curl and absorb the moisture. Every day until the show I gently massage the coat in a circular motion with a wet hand or dampen the coat down with water and slap it in. Once again, shower of rain does wonders. On the morning of the show a light coat of oil rubbed onto the hand and massaged into the coat brings up a shine. Never overdo this or you'll produce an oily greasy coat that looks terrible. I prefer to spray the coat with water 10 minute before judging to lift off the dust and show off the curl. Again don't overdo it, a fine mist is all that is needed.

cleancurly Curly-Coated Retrievers require little care. In fact, over brushing can diminish the breed's tight curls and leave the coat frizzy. A good combing, especially before swimming, can prevent matting and tangles. Scraggly hairs can be tidied with scissors, when necessary.

During shedding season, some brushing may be necessary to keep loose hair under control. Ideally, the coat should be brushed out with an undercoat rake or slicker brush before bathing. Once the hair dries, the curls will return to the coat. The degree of shedding will determine how often brushing and bathing is necessary. Otherwise, baths are only needed every month or so, unless the Curly-Coated Retriever gets into something stinky or sticky.



SoftMaple Curly Coated Retrievers
Mark and Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan New York 13327
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Curly-Coated Retriever