Golden Retrievers with curly hair

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Golden Retrievers are great family dogs known for their lovable and friendly nature. The quirky-looking curly-haired Retriever is one of the oldest breeds among retrievers.


Though the ancestral lineage of the Curly retriever is unknown, they have been around since the 1800s. 

Genetically, we've found a reason why golden retrievers also have curly hair [source]

Like their golden buddies, curlies were also a favorite among Gamekeepers in large English estates.

They are great companions for families that love spending time outdoors. The Curly Retriever is intelligent and energetic.

Let us get ahead and describe everything there is to know about the curly haired Golden Retriever! 

Golden Retriever Coat Stages

First off, we must figure out whether your retriever is really a curly one or merely going through the stages of growth.

For this, we need to know about the coat stages.

Golden Retriever Puppy Coat

The puppies are born with a thin coat of fur that is wet at birth. It soon dries and becomes fluffy.

From Fluff to Fur

This happens at around 3-4 months of age. The Golden Retriever puppies will transition from having fluffy hair to fur.

This is when the coat growth begins. It is the tail fur that grows first and may seem a bit curly.

This is when people get confused about whether they have a curly pup or a straight hair golden retriever.

Coat Transition Stage

Just when you begin to love the fluffy fur on your retriever pup, it begins to shed in a way that makes you question getting a dog in the first place.

But this is only a temporary shedding to make way for the transition to an adult coat. 

Feathering Stage

This is when the full coat begins to develop, and you get to know if you have a Golden Retriever with wavy hair or straight or curly hair.

This can occur over a period of 8-18 months of age.


Characteristics of Golden Retriever With Curly Hair

With curls that look permed to perfection, this dog breed knows how to make heads turn. They are sturdy and love to run and swim.

Their coats are primarily water-resistant, which means they can swim without getting cold.


Physical Attributes

With a lifespan of about 10-12 years, Curly Retrievers can grow up to 27 inches tall. Their ideal weight range is between 60-90 pounds.

Their shedding is seasonal but is usually high due to the density of their coat. They are physically active and enjoy sporting activities. 

Their eyes are usually brown, black, or amber-colored, and their ears have a signature triangular shape and fall down the side of their face. 

They usually have black or liver-colored waves and have the general retriever body shape and build.

Though they look similar to a poodle, they have no relation to them. 


Curly Retrievers have dense fur and small curls covering most of their bodies. The fur on their ears may be less dense and closely bound than the rest of their body.

They have a relatively straight coat on their face and front legs.

Depending on the Curly Golden Retriever coat stages, the coat may be either tightly curled or in small tufts.


Environment  and Activities

Curlies are generally very adaptable and can come to terms with various living situations.

However, the apt environment for them to flourish is where they get ample space to roam about.

Thus, a home with a large fence or dog-friendly neighborhood is where Curly Retrievers are most happy.

However, if you live in an apartment and own a Retriever, just make sure that you take some time out of your day to take your dog on long walks. 

Because they belong to the retriever family who are basically hunting dogs, Curlies need regular exercise to keep their mood and energy in check.

Swimming is an activity that they enjoy greatly, and they definitely love a good hike. 

Getting your curly-coated retrievers involved in dog sporting activities is also a good idea as they are better at focusing, fetching, and field activity than other breeds.

It will also help them stay fit and exercise their mental abilities.



Curly Retrievers are great family dogs and work well with making friendships with humans. They are particularly good with young children.

If you let your dog spend time with other dogs early on, they become well-socialised. 

They are highly intelligent and tend to behave aloof around strangers, unlike their people-pleasing straight-coated counterparts.

Curly-coated Retrievers are fiercely loyal and love spending quality time with their humans.

They are affectionate and active, which is also why they get bored easily. 

Similarly to their normal golden retrievers, they're very easily trained too - very eager to please.

FAQs on Golden Retriever with Curly Hair

Here are a few FAQs that will clear out any lingering doubts.

Why is My Golden Retriever’s Hair Wavy?

A Golden Retriever’s coat, whether it is straight, curly, or wavy, depends on genetics.

Puppies inherit their coat style from their parents, and sometimes a gene can be carried over to generations.

Thus, if your dog has a wavy coat (curly or wavy fur), he probably got it from his mama or papa.

Are Curly Haired Retrievers Extinct?

No, they are clearly not. However, sometime during the 20th century, they almost went extinct but were revived later on.

Are They Good With Children?

Yes! Curly Retrievers are very affectionate towards children and are so adaptable that they can live in any kind of family situation. 

How are Curlies Different from Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers have straight, wavy, or curly hair, while a curly coated retriever always has a curly coat.

Their height and lifespan also differ, along with a slight difference in temperament. 


Curly-haired Golden Retrievers are good to look at and a great companion for all families alike.

They do not require much grooming other than a trim every now and then.

While golden retrievers have curly fur, wavy fur, or straight coat, curly-coated retrievers are always curly and pretty. 

They are similar to Golden Retrievers and Labradors but do not have the same temperament and health.

Take care of your curly friend with regular veterinary appointments and grooming sessions, and they will stand out from the crowd due to their unique beauty.

about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.

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