Curly Coated Retrievers ~ Hunting and Field Work
Curly-Coated Retrievers

Duck Duck24

6 1/2 week old SoftMaple Curly-Coated Retriever Pups

jet12 drake

Hunting Style of the Curly-Coated Retriever

bouclee9 The Curly-Coated Retriever was developed in England in the early 1800s to find and retrieve game with little direction or comment. Originally bred by gamekeepers to put food on the table, they were used to clean up a field already covered by a driven shoot. Prized for innate field ability, courage and indomitable perseverance, a correctly built and tempered Curly will work as long as there is work to be done, retrieving game in the heaviest of cover or the iciest of waters.

Curlies are designated as retrievers by the AKC but historical anecdotes and bird dog book accounts portray them as versatile hunting dogs developed to assist in both waterfowl and upland bird hunting. To work all day a Curly must be balanced and sound, strong and robust, and quick and agile.

Training and experience will influence the nuances of a working Curly, but in all instances the dog should require little or no encouragement to hunt an open field, wetland or woods. A properly bred Curly will work a field at a moderate pace, suitable for a full day of hunting. The Curly will consistently utilize ground and air scent, along with experience to hunt the cover most likely to hold birds. An experienced Curly will conserve energy by shunning thin or likely non-productive cover, but will never avoid the thickest of cover, especially when directed by the handler. Because of this a Curly may not hunt in a defined “windshield wiper” pattern.

The Curly should naturally work within gun range, checking back periodically on its own or when called by the handler. Hunting underfoot is not acceptable. The dog will generally signal the presence of scent by an increasingly enthusiastic pace and noticeable tail movement. When hunting down wind the dog will often pirouette at the first indication of scent. Curlies should produce birds with an aggressive flush, although a “flash point” is neither uncommon nor undesirable.

beaut11 Curlies should demonstrate good marking ability. If the dog misses the fall or a crippled bird moves the Curly should use its strong nose to find and follow the trail post-haste. Curlies are naturally independent and bore easily with repetitive drills as a result most do not handle as crisply as other retrievers. Since the ultimate goal is to the retrieve the game the true measure of good handling is team work between the Curly and handler.

Curlies are natural retrievers and should promptly retrieve the bird for the handler. There should be no hesitancy to pick up the bird and the dog should not demonstrate any tendency toward hard mouth. Curlies are excellent swimmers and should show no hesitancy to enter water. At the same time, Curlies are known to be “wickedly smart” and may choose the fastest route to the bird rather than the shortest distance.

To summarize: The Curly-Coated Retriever is a methodical hunting dog that utilizes its nose and experience to focus on the most productive cover. It does not hunt with a uniform pattern. Curlies should produce birds with an aggressive flush, although a “flash point” is neither uncommon nor undesirable. The curly should possess an excellent nose and demonstrate tireless trailing ability. Curlies must show a willingness to enter water but may take an indirect route to the bird if they believe there is a faster route.



CH SoftMaple's O'Dark Thirty MH WCQ CD CGC, TT HOF

Jet is only the third MH CCR, and the first AKC CH Master Hunter CCR.

Jet was winner and co-winner of the CCRCA annual Field Trophy

(The Sarona Jacob of Marvadel & Sarona Sam of Marvadel Memorial Field Trophy)
Trained by Mary Fowler of GraceFarms Retrievers

bi17bi18 dana1lodi7 emmett3D2251234 D2251225D2240589dd1 lance

gabbuckgabbirdgab7 gab6

gab5gab4gab3 dd2


Curly-Coated Retriever

Many dog experts believe that the curly-coated retriever is one of the oldest retriever breeds. According to the AKC, the breed originated in England and was the product of a cross between the now-extinct English water spaniel (or possibly the Irish water spaniel) and retrieving setter. In the mid-1800s, curly coat breeders supposedly crossed their dogs with the now-extinct St. John's water dog, which arrived in England from Newfoundland aboard the ships of cod fishermen.

Later that century, curly coats were reportedly crossed with the standard poodle to give the curly coat breed tighter, more water-resistant curls. These modern curly coats were exported for hunting ducks in Australia and New Zealand beginning in the late 1880s and sent to the United States in the early 1900s.



Hunting Style

sky2 The Curly-Coated Retriever is a multi-purpose hunting dog. They are able to work well in the water as well as on land. They were originally bred curly-coated-retrieverto be hunting dogs, so this hunting dog breed can work well within gun range. Curlies have good musculature and endurance, making them great working huting dogs. Their thick, curly coats are waterresistant and protect them from burrs when retrieving waterfowl. The Curly-Coated Retriever is considered to be soft-mouthed and handle the game they retrieve carefully.


The Curly-Coated Retriever is a very intelligent animal, which makes them very receptive to training. However, trainers should be careful to keep their training methods flexible. Intelligent hunting dogs will often be more willful and tire of repetitious strategies, trying to find new ways to perform tasks that the trainer may not approve of. Punitive training is not altogether effective with this hunting dog breed and harsh training can make willfulness a much bigger problem.

Dec 1  Dec 2 063Dec 1  Dec 2 065denzelrabbitGambol7aaDec 1  Dec 2 028denzelfield3Bucleebumpersboucleedivecd4V field with duckjIMG_7142-XLswayze3stellagabbyrr5emmettboucleeRielly6MR1_6631MR1_6598jetwcq2Jetwater4xxjet10xTG010484sTG010438sTG010380gab2gabD22409282D2251227sD2251158sD2240820sD2240592sJRlodi2jhHUNTIMG_7376kyrawcxm8jet1emmapupduckbranchsport4AApic3a13015302_557356914450642_3846223372294660965_n


L20 L8


CCRCA Sarona Jacob of Marvadel & Sarona Sam of Marvadel Memorial Field Award

Winner 2003, Co-winner 2001