curly haired dog

19 Curly Haired Dog Breeds That Will Steal Your Heart

From elegant poodles to the truffle-finding Lagotto Romagnolo, curly haired dogs have always fascinated canine enthusiasts. Let’s dive into 19 of these stunning breeds.

19 Popular Curly Haired Dog Breeds

1. Poodle

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  • Sizes: Toy, Miniature, Standard
  • Coat & Color: Tight curls; Colors range from white, black, apricot to silver and more
  • Origin: Germany
  • Personality: Intelligent, Trainable, Elegant
  • Shedding: Low; often considered hypoallergenic

The Poodle, synonymous with sophistication, finds its roots in Germany but rose to stardom in France. This breed’s curly coat is functional, historically designed for water retrieving. The distinctive “Poodle clip” evolved to facilitate swimming while offering protection against cold waters.

Their intelligence combined with their eagerness to please makes them standouts in various canine disciplines. Poodles, despite their upscale image, are playful and devoted family companions.

2. Curly-Coated Retriever

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  • Coat & Color: Tight, water-resistant curls; primarily black or liver-colored
  • Origin: England
  • Purpose: Hunting – upland bird and waterfowl
  • Personality: Energetic, Independent, Affectionate
  • Shedding: Moderate; seasonal

The Curly-Coated Retriever, one of the oldest retriever breeds, boasts a uniquely curly coat crafted for the rugged demands of hunting. Originating from England, this coat allowed them to traverse dense terrains and cold waters. Their seemingly independent streak is complemented by a deep-rooted loyalty and warmth, making them cherished family members and hunting companions.

3. Lagotto Romagnolo

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  • Coat & Color: Dense curls; varies from off-white, brown, to roan
  • Origin: Romagna region, Italy
  • Purpose: Initially water retrievers, later renowned truffle hunters
  • Personality: Affectionate, Loyal, Keen senses
  • Shedding: Low to moderate; less dander

The Lagotto Romagnolo stands as a testament to Italy’s canine legacy. With roots in Romagna, they began as skilled water retrievers. As landscapes changed, so did the Lagotto’s duties, transitioning seamlessly into truffle hunting due to their unparalleled olfactory skills and natural digging propensities. Beyond their vocational prowess, Lagottos are known for their unwavering loyalty and warm disposition.

4. Bichon Frise

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  • Size: Small
  • Coat & Color: Soft, curly fur; primarily white
  • Origin: Mediterranean region
  • Personality: Jovial, Playful, Social
  • Shedding: Low; frequent grooming required to prevent matting

The Bichon Frise, enveloped in a plush, curly coat, has journeyed from the Mediterranean, garnering admiration from Italian nobles and the French elite. Their name, “Bichon Frise,” translating to “curly lap dog,” beautifully captures their essence. Apart from their historical allure, Bichons are beloved for their sunny disposition and love for companionship, making them the life of any household.

5. Portuguese Water Dog

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  • Sizes: Medium
  • Coat & Color: Wavy to tight curls; colors range from black, white, brown, and combinations of these
  • Origin: Portugal
  • Personality: Energetic, Loyal, Intelligent
  • Shedding: Low; often considered hypoallergenic

Originating from Portugal, the Portuguese Water Dog was historically employed by fishermen to herd fish into nets, retrieve lost gear, and deliver messages from boat to boat. They have a robust build and a love for water. Their curly coat is resistant to water and doesn’t shed much, making them popular among allergy sufferers. In recent years, they’ve gained attention as the chosen breed of the Obama family, serving as the First Dogs in the White House.

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6. Irish Water Spaniel

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  • Sizes: Medium to Large
  • Coat & Color: Tight, curly liver-colored coat; often likened to a “rat tail”
  • Origin: Ireland
  • Personality: Playful, Energetic, Alert
  • Shedding: Low to moderate

Hailing from Ireland, the Irish Water Spaniel is often considered the clown of the spaniel family. They have a distinctive curly coat and a peculiar “rat tail,” which is thick at the base and tapers to a fine point. Their origins are a bit mysterious, but they’ve been recognized for their excellent water retrieving skills. Their playful demeanor and love for water make them both entertaining and effective working dogs.

7. Kerry Blue Terrier

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  • Sizes: Medium
  • Coat & Color: Soft, wavy to curly coat; born black, but their color changes to various shades of blue-gray by age two
  • Origin: Ireland
  • Personality: Spirited, Loyal, Alert
  • Shedding: Minimal

The Kerry Blue Terrier, or simply “Kerry,” is a true-blue Irish breed. They’re known for their striking blue-gray coat, which interestingly starts as black at birth. Historically, Kerries were all-round farm dogs, herding animals and hunting pests. They’re known for their strong guarding instincts and are fiercely loyal to their families. Their curly coat requires regular grooming to maintain its texture and appearance.

8. Bedlington Terrier

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  • Sizes: Small to Medium
  • Coat & Color: Curly, woolly coat; comes in liver, sandy, and blue
  • Origin: England
  • Personality: Affectionate, Energetic, Intelligent
  • Shedding: Minimal

The Bedlington Terrier, with its lamb-like appearance, is deceptive in its looks. Though they appear gentle, they were originally bred for hunting and have the heart of a lion. Originating from the mining town of Bedlington in Northumberland, England, they were used to chase rats and other vermin. Their curly, woolly coat gives them a unique appearance, and while they are playful and affectionate with families, they still possess a strong prey drive.

9. American Water Spaniel

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  • Sizes: Medium
  • Coat & Color: Double coat with tight curls or waves; usually solid liver or brown
  • Origin: United States (Midwest)
  • Personality: Energetic, Loyal, Intelligent
  • Shedding: Moderate

Originating from the Midwest region of the United States, the American Water Spaniel is a versatile hunting dog adept at retrieving from boats. Their curly coat serves as protection against the elements, especially cold water. As family dogs, they are known to be eager to please, loyal, and often good with children. While they have a love for water and outdoor activities, they are also content as indoor companions.

10. Barbet

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  • Sizes: Medium
  • Coat & Color: Dense, curly, and woolly; ranges from black, brown, fawn, grey, and sometimes white
  • Origin: France
  • Personality: Friendly, Joyful, Obedient
  • Shedding: Low

The Barbet, a French water dog, is an ancient breed with a rich history dating back centuries. They were primarily used as waterfowl retrievers. With a distinctly woolly and curly coat, they are well-suited for water activities. Barbets are known for their amiable nature, often getting along well with other animals and children. Their friendly disposition makes them ideal family pets.

11. Spanish Water Dog

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  • Sizes: Medium
  • Coat & Color: Curly or wavy; ranges from black, brown, beige, and white
  • Origin: Spain
  • Personality: Energetic, Loyal, Hardworking
  • Shedding: Low

Hailing from Spain, the Spanish Water Dog is a versatile working dog, historically employed for herding and as a waterfowl retriever. Their curly or wavy coat, which often forms cords when long, provides protection from the water and harsh weather. Known for their agility and intelligence, they excel in various canine sports. While they are hardworking, they also have a gentle side, making them affectionate companions.

12. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

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  • Sizes: Medium to Large
  • Coat & Color: Short, dense curls; colors range from brown to reddish-yellow
  • Origin: United States (Chesapeake Bay region)
  • Personality: Brave, Intelligent, Loyal
  • Shedding: Moderate to High

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, fondly known as the “Chessie,” was bred for waterfowl retrieving in the challenging conditions of the Chesapeake Bay. They have a dense, waterproof coat that aids in their water tasks. Recognized for their tenacity and bravery, they are fearless retrievers, often working in icy waters. When it comes to family, Chessies are known for their protective nature, often forming a close bond with their human companions.

13. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

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  • Sizes: Medium
  • Coat & Color: Soft, silky, and wavy to curly; warm wheat color
  • Origin: Ireland
  • Personality: Friendly, Energetic, Adaptable
  • Shedding: Low

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, hailing from Ireland, is recognized by its soft and silky wheaten-colored coat. Traditionally, they served as all-purpose farm dogs, performing tasks from herding to guarding. In the family setting, they are known for their playful nature and adaptability. Their friendly disposition often extends to both humans and other animals, making them popular as family pets.

14. Bolognese

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  • Sizes: Small
  • Coat & Color: Loose, fluffy curls; predominantly white
  • Origin: Italy
  • Personality: Loyal, Playful, Responsive
  • Shedding: Low

Named after the northern Italian city of Bologna, the Bolognese is a member of the toy group, beloved for its charming demeanor. Historically, they were adored by Italian nobility and often featured in paintings from the Renaissance era. Their fluffy curls and expressive eyes make them irresistibly cute. Known for forming strong bonds with their families, Bolognese dogs are affectionate companions and thrive on human interaction.

15. Cockapoo

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  • Sizes: Varies (Teacup, Toy, Miniature, Standard)
  • Coat & Color: Soft, dense curls; wide color range due to Poodle and Cocker Spaniel lineage
  • Origin: United States (1950s)
  • Personality: Affectionate, Intelligent, Trainable
  • Shedding: Low to Moderate

The Cockapoo, a delightful blend of the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle, was among the first designer breeds developed in the U.S. in the 1950s. Renowned for its affectionate nature and intelligence, the Cockapoo often inherits the best traits of both parent breeds. They are typically easy to train and get along well with children and other pets. Their curly coat, reminiscent of the Poodle, adds to their appeal.

16. Komondor

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  • Sizes: Large
  • Coat & Color: Long, corded, and curly; white
  • Origin: Hungary
  • Personality: Protective, Loyal, Independent
  • Shedding: Low once corded

The Komondor, often referred to as the “mop dog,” is an iconic breed due to its unique corded coat. Bred in Hungary for guarding livestock, their coat serves to protect them from harsh weather and potential predators. The cords form naturally as the dog matures and give the Komondor its distinctive appearance. Though they are gentle with their families, their protective instincts are deeply ingrained, making them diligent watchdogs.

17. Labradoodle

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  • Sizes: Varies (Miniature, Medium, Standard)
  • Coat & Color: Wavy to curly; wide color range due to Labrador Retriever and Poodle lineage
  • Origin: Australia (1950s)
  • Personality: Friendly, Energetic, Intelligent
  • Shedding: Low to Moderate

The Labradoodle is a cross between the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle. Initially bred in Australia as a hypoallergenic guide dog, they’ve since gained immense popularity worldwide. Their temperament often combines the gentle, friendly nature of the Labrador with the intelligence and low-shedding coat of the Poodle. Their versatile coat can vary, but the curly variety is particularly sought after for its hypoallergenic properties.

18. Goldendoodle

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  • Sizes: Varies (Miniature, Medium, Standard)
  • Coat & Color: Wavy to curly; typically cream to golden, but can vary
  • Origin: North America (1990s)
  • Personality: Sociable, Intelligent, Loyal
  • Shedding: Low to Moderate

The Goldendoodle, a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle, has gained significant attention due to its charming looks and amiable nature. As with many “doodle” breeds, they often combine the best of both parent breeds. Their curly coats are soft and, in many cases, hypoallergenic. Alongside their striking appearance, Goldendoodles are also known for their intelligence and affectionate nature, making them beloved family pets.

19. Puli

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  • Sizes: Medium
  • Coat & Color: Tight, corded; predominantly black, but also white, gray, or cream
  • Origin: Hungary
  • Personality: Agile, Loyal, Watchful
  • Shedding: Low once corded

The Puli, with its distinct corded coat, is a historic herding breed from Hungary. Its unique coat not only provides protection from the elements but also from potential predators when guarding livestock. Pulis are agile and alert, with a high level of energy that requires regular physical and mental stimulation. While they can be reserved with strangers, they are fiercely loyal to their families.

Care and Maintenance of Curly Haired Dogs

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Caring for a curly-haired dog requires a unique approach tailored to their distinct coat type and potential breed-specific needs. From grooming to health checks, ensuring their well-being means understanding the nuances of their curly locks.

1. Grooming

Curly haired dogs often require regular grooming to prevent their curls from becoming tangled and matted. Depending on the breed and the tightness of the curls, grooming might be needed anywhere from once a week to daily. Regular brushing can also help in reducing shedding and the accumulation of dander, which is particularly beneficial for those with allergies.

2. Bathing

While these dogs don’t necessarily need frequent baths, it’s essential to ensure that their curly coats are thoroughly dried post-bathing to prevent fungal or bacterial growth close to the skin. A diffuser on a hairdryer can be a handy tool, allowing for gentle drying that doesn’t frizz their curls.

3. Ear Care

Due to the curly hair, some breeds may have hairs growing inside their ears. These can trap moisture, leading to potential ear infections. Regular ear checks and cleaning can help in preventing such issues.

4. Diet and Nutrition

Just like any other dog, curly haired breeds need a balanced diet to maintain their overall health and the vitality of their coat. Specific diets or supplements, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, can help in enhancing the coat’s luster and health.

5. Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Many curly haired breeds, especially those with working or hunting backgrounds, require regular physical and mental stimulation. Engaging toys, training sessions, and regular walks or play sessions can help in keeping them active and mentally stimulated.

6. Regular Health Check-ups

Given the dense nature of their coat, any skin issues might not be immediately visible. Hence, regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to ensure that there are no underlying skin problems or other health concerns.

7. Training

Some curly haired breeds are known for their intelligence and can sometimes be a bit stubborn. Consistent training, positive reinforcement, and early socialization can be beneficial in ensuring they are well-mannered and adaptable.

Fun Facts about Curly Haired Dogs

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The world of curly-haired dogs is filled with intriguing stories and characteristics that set them apart. Dive into these fascinating tidbits to discover what makes these breeds so special beyond their curly coats.

1. Natural Swimmers

Many curly haired dogs, like the Poodle and the Portuguese Water Dog, evolved with their curly coats because of their water-based tasks. The curls provided insulation and helped to make the coat water-resistant. The curly coat acts as a natural buoyancy aid, trapping air and providing insulation, which helps these breeds excel as swimmers.

2. Diverse Origins

Curly haired breeds hail from diverse climates and regions, from the freezing landscapes of Russia (like the Curly-Coated Retriever) to the temperate meadows of Italy (like the Lagotto Romagnolo). The adaptability of the curly coat, providing warmth in colder climates and acting as a protective layer in warmer regions, shows nature’s versatility.

3. Hypoallergenic Qualities

The tight curls of many curly-haired breeds, like the Poodle and Labradoodle, often trap dander, making these breeds a popular choice for many allergy sufferers. The unique structure of the curly coat captures and holds onto dander and hair, reducing airborne allergens.

4. Not Always Naturally Curly

Some breeds, like the Bichon Frise, require regular grooming to maintain their curly appearance. Without it, their hair might become straighter or mat easily. Grooming plays an essential role in maintaining the iconic curly look of some breeds.

5. Truffle Hunters

Some curly haired breeds, particularly the Lagotto Romagnolo, are renowned for their truffle hunting abilities. Their curly coat helps protect them from thorny underbrush as they dig for this culinary gold. The curly coat offers protection against rough terrains and environments, showcasing how form meets function.


Whether you’re charmed by the playfulness of the Curly-Coated Retriever or the elegance of the Poodle, curly haired dogs offer a unique blend of personality and beauty. Their distinctive curls make them stand out, making them an eternal favorite among dog lovers.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.