The curly coated retriever was a favourite of English gamekeepers in the 1800s, used to retrieve wounded and dead game on land and in water. Prized for its field abilities, courage and determination, the breed suffered a decline with the rise of labradors.
The tallest retriever, it is strong, upstanding and elegant, with a wedge-shaped head, small ears, deep chest, slightly tucked up abdomen and distinctive coat of tight curls in black or liver. It is an intelligent, active and bold dog with a streak of independence, requiring short and varied training sessions. Protective and loyal to its owners, it is more aloof with strangers and requires early socialisation. It is considered good with children although slow to mature and somewhat boisterous when young.
The curly coat can be used in the picking up or beating line at driven shoots and is an excellent wildfowler. Many compete in other canine activities and the breed is used by Guide Dogs for the Blind.