Top 10 Reasons not to get a curly
Curly Coated Retriever

Top Ten Reasons NOT to get a Curly! 

baldmom #1 Curlies Shed Curlies shed a lot. A female will generaly blow her coat(shed heavily) 2 times a year with her heat cycle. All other Curlies neutered and unneutered males, and spayed females will shed moderatly throughout the year and more so as the seasons change. This hair collects on furniture, clothes and blows accross the floor in tumbleweeds. For some reason it was passed around that curlies are non shedding dogs. Well, come take a look at my house!

#2 Curlies are not hypoallergenic If you have allergies to dog hair, dander or saliva, you may have problems with a curly. The somewhat oilier coat does keep down some dander, but not all of it. If you have severe dog allergies, you will probably have problems living with a curly. Many breeders and owners would be glad to have you visit their dogs to see if you can tolerate being around them. It is never fair to get a puppy then find out your allergies are too bad and you have to tie the dog up outside away from the family for the majority of its life. A curly should be with people. Think of what is best for the dog.

#3 Curlies are not clean If you are a neat freak, you will not like a Curly. They shed. They can dig holes in your yard. Track in mud. Chew on things. Flick eye boogers on your walls. Leave tail whip marks on your walls. Clear off the coffee table with one wag of its tail. If you are a neat freak, and want a dog as a showpiece, don't get a curly. Get a stuffed dog or one of those new robot dogs.

kid15 #4 Curlies need a lot of exercise The Curly is an active breed. This may not seem a problem if you are in the mood for some exercise yourself. But they need an outlet for this energy every day. That means when it is raining, on days you work late, when you are not feeling good- your curly will still want to go for a run, walk, play ball, go swimming...whatever you two do. If you do not provide an outlet for his pent-up energy....he may find one!

#5 Curlies are prone to some genetically linked problems Hip dysplasia, Eye problems, Epilepsy, Coat Patterning, GSDIIIa ...the list goes on. Just because a breed is semi rare does not mean they are genetically superior to other more common breeds. Do your homework! Ask the breeder about epilepsy, coat problems, heart problems, premature death of any cause, Hip scores on parents and grandparents, eye problems.

#6 Curlies are prone to other health problems Some of which may or may not be genetically linked. Include but not limited to: Bloat, PANO, GSDII, EIC, PRA, Thyroid problems, Kidney problems, Pancriatic problems and other immune system and endocrine problems.

#7 Curlies stay puppies for a long time You may think, great- I love puppies. Well, only there minds stay puppies. There bodies get big! They remain clumsy, hard-headed, goofy and immature a long time. Curlies are not really hard to train, but you have to be persistent. They do need some form of training. Curlies don't really mature until they are 3 years old.

#8 Curlies can be hard to find This is a good thing and a bad thing. It can take a while to find a breeder you trust, and a litter you want a puppy out of. You may loose patience and purchase a puppy from an unreputable source just to get a pup, and run into many problems with the pup as he grows. Most good breeders plan 1 or 2(usually less) litters a year. They often wait years in-between breeding so they can evaluate what they are producing. Beware of a breeder who always has puppies, or seems to be breeding numerous litters every year. They may be out for there own gain, and not for the overall health of the breed.

kid1 #9 A Curly may not be the best dog if you have small children Curlies are usually good around kids, but like all dogs, they have to be taught to behave around children. A small puppy will naturally bite and chew on, clothing, shoes, hands.... Those sharp puppy teeth can hurt a childs hands without the puppy knowing it. A growing puppy will often knock down a toddler in play. You have to supervise any dog arround small children.

tumbleweed1 #10 Curlies Shed Oh, did I say that one already? I couldn't see the computer screen thrugh all these tumbleweeds.......


This page was written in good humor. Curlies aren't all bad! If they were, I wouldn't be hooked on them. But... I get a lot of phone calls from people who want a curly because they are hypoallergenic, or because they don't shed, or because they once had a lab who was hyper, or they had a Golden that had Hip Dysplasia, and they now want a breed without problems. Just because you don't hear about Curly problems, doesn't mean they don't have problems. There is no perfect dog. If there was, no one would breed, we would have scientists cloning that one perfect dog! A dog is a living creature. Even the best breeder has produced a pup with problems. If a breeder tells you all their dogs are perfect, RUN! It hasn't happened yet.

Each dog is different. I say a Curly needs exercise. Some dogs need a long run every day, or want you to throw a ball non-stop. Other Curlies are content to sleep at your feet most of the day. I like a curly that is active outside with me, but knows how to tune it down when inside. I would not call the Curly a Hyper breed, but I have seen some hyper individual curlies. Do your homework. Ask about the parents temperament and energy level. Pick a breeder who will choose a pup for you, based on your needs. Also, be honest with the breeder. Don't tell them you have 80 acres of fenced in woodland, just because you think that will increase your chances of getting a pup! They may sell you a dog that NEEDS 80 acres of fenced in woodland! And please, if you can't take a little dirt, kinky hair, slobber, eye boogers and a Curlies sense of humor.... just pick another breed. This breed is very special, and the people that love the breed are also special. There are hundreds of breeds out there. Don't pick a Curly based on a picture in a book, or a flashing glimpse of one on TV. A Curly is a 10 to 14 year commitment.



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How do you know the breeder you have contacted is a person of integrity committed to bettering the CCR? Following are a few guidelines to help you make that determination.

1. A reputable breeder suggests that pet-quality animals be spayed or neutered, or sold on a limited registration.   Be wary of breeders who do not mention altering.

march20s 2. A reputable breeder in most cases requires a contract, which varies from breeder to breeder, but usually spells out the rights of seller and buyer, health information, altering and buy-back/return policy.

3. A reputable breeder shows a general interest in, love for and knowledge about the breed. He or she cares about placing puppies in good homes and will often interview potential buyers thoroughly, ask for references and refuse to sell a dog if necessary.

4. A reputable breeder will guarantee a puppy's general health for a certain period of time (which varies from state to state under puppy lemon laws). While no one can guarantee against inheritable diseases, a reputable breeder is well-informed about genetic problems in her particular breed of bloodlines, routinely has dogs/pups tested for problems and passes this information along to buyers. Beware of breeders who scoff at genetic testing and say their particular breed/line is problem-free.

5. The environment (kennel or home) in which the breeder keeps the dogs should be clean and well maintained. Trust your instincts on this!

6. A reputable breeder is actively involved in the dog fancy, including showing or breed clubs. While there are exceptions...a retired individual who has shown dogs for 20 years... a person who is not involved with others in the breed can be suspect. When in doubt, call several members of the CCRCA and ask them about this particular breeder, have any complaints been made about them. Do not base your choice of breeder on how great they tell you they are...base it on how great others in the breed tell you this person is.

7. A reputable breeder will allow you to meet the puppy's parents if available and, if the father isn't available, be willing to show pictures.

8. A reputable breeder will be willing to provide answers to questions you may have and is willing to provide names of others who have purchased pups.

9. A reputable breeder follows up on puppies. He or she is interested in how the pups develop physically and mentally, difficulties in the owner/dog relationship and health problems.




Puppy buyer checklist

PD19c You don't always get the opportunity to meet every Curly breeder. The breeder you are looking at may be located across the country. When you are looking for a curly pup, your number one question should not be How much is the pup? You don't necessarily want the cheapest curly pup you can find, you should want a well socialized, healthy curly pup that is going to best fit your lifestyle. You want a pup from a reputable breeder who has put a lot of time into researching dogs and planning the litter. You don't want to buy from someone who is breeding to fill a demand for pups. I have to be honest, I am very turned off by people who call about a pup and ask, how much do you charge, and do you have any pups now? Occasionally I have a prospective new family have to back out of a pup at the last minute, so I do have a pup available, but most of the time, I have people on a long waiting list for a pup. Its not *first come, first serve* when I place pups. I evaluate why I bred the litter. What personality and temperament traits the parents have. What kind of home would these pups best fit. At 49 days, the pups are put through a puppy evaluation (or Puppy Aptitude Test) with an independent evaluator. I am trying to make a puppy/owner match that will last. The questions the prospective owner asks are very important. It tells me they have done some homework, and are interested in more than getting the first pup they can get someone to sell them.

ubu2You as the prospective new home for a curly for the next 10 to 13 years should be interested in how your puppy came about. Do you want a puppy from an accidental litter between siblings that have skin allergies and hip problems? Do you want a pup out of an out of control aggressive dog that was returned to the breeder, so the breeder just had to breed him to get back some of the money they lost.? If your an older couple who lives in an apartment, do you want a pup out of a highly driven field breeding? Do you want to get a pup then have your vet tell you the pup has a hereditary eye or hip problem that you later find out that his mother had the same thing? No one sets out to get a dog with problems. Even the best breeder has and will produce a puppy with problems. There is no such thing as a perfect dog. But a lot of the problems can be decreased if the breeder does health testing, and only breeds healthy, fully coated dogs with OFA hips, OFA Hearts, and OFA/CERF eyes. In addition the breeder should be checking for, or at least be aware of breed specific genetic tests. GSDII, PRA, EIC.

Here are a few questions you may want to think about asking the breeder you choose to call.


What did you hope to get by breeding this litter? A good Breeder allways has a specific reason for breeding a litter. The answer should not be "To produce some Cute Puppies" There are plenty of cute puppies out there, many of them in shelters. The answer should not be Because I had enough people interested in the puppies. A good breeder does not breed to fill a demand. That is what a Puppy Mill does.

You should get answers like: I was trying to get more working ability, while keeping good movement and coats. or I was trying to preserve an older bloodline that I think is relitively free from epilepsy. or I was trying to increases size in my line, while keeping type. You may not understand all of the answers you get, but they should be geared to the overall health of the breed.

What Outstanding things did the Sire and Dam have to contribute to the breed? Not all dogs should be bred. Only the best animals should be allowed to pass on there genes. You should get varried answers with this question. A Championship pedigree is not a good enough answer. Just because a dog has some Champions in its pedigree does not mean it will produce good dogs. Also, just because a dog is a CH, does not mean it will produce Ch quality dogs. This is a semi-rare breed, it is easy for big breeders to *stack* the entery and produce a large number of Ch's within a short time by showing littermates against each other.

Some good answers would be: The sire consistantly passes good coats and great tempernments to his offfspring and The dam has excellent field ability and working drive.

Are you a member in good standing with the CCRCA? If not, why? I feel anyone dedicated to the breed should be a member of the National Breed Club. In our case that is the Curly Coated Retriever Club of America. It is a way to stay in touch with other breeders, learn about the current state of the breed. If they are not a member, ask them why.

What is the biggest problems in your line that you are trying to breed out, or stay away from? There is no such thing as a perfect dog. And there are no perfect bloodlines. The breeder may be trying to breed out bad coats, Coat patterning, flat feet, wide fronts, possibility of epilepsy, premature cancers, low field drive, tendency to pass bad or fair hips..
But at the same time, you can not condem a breeder for being honest about there problems. If one breeder tells you what they are trying to breed out, and another breeder does not mention any health problems.... chances are, one is not being totally honest.

Can you supply the Sire and Dam's OFA(hip) results? Do not take their word that both parents have been cleared. Ask to see the proof.

*You can look online at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) website ( Many breeders will send you here to check on parents, grandparents, great-grandparents in a litter.

Can you supply the Sire and Dam's Current CERF or OFA Eye results? Again, ask for proof. If the CERF is not current, should be done annually, Just ask them why. Some people do have a habbit of going to one particular eye clinic-and if the dam was in welp when the CERF became due, she may be over a month or two.

Do You Offer a Guarantee? Ask to see it, discuss things with the Breeder first. Do they offer money back if the pup comes up dysplastic? Do you have to give the pup back? These are things that you should work out before you buy a pup.

Have you ever had a pup or dog returned? Why? Lots of times, people buy a dog, and later their live situation changes- divorce, death in the family, and they can no longer keep the pet. Other people find that they made the wrong choice in breed of pet, and return the dog to the breeder. The breeder should allways be willing to take back any dog of their breeding- no matter how old or what the reason.




IMG_8392 rat3

Red Lights, Green Lights: Questions to ask the breeder


Expect your puppy to be registered with one of the reputable stud books: 
  • American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • United Kennel Club (UKC)
  • Field Dog Stud Book
  • Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
These kennel clubs make some effort to ensure the very worst "breeders" can not register. For example, persons convicted of cruelty to animals are suspended from the AKC (and UKC - I believe).
Remember however that a registration is simply a record that the dog is purebred. Registrations are given based upon the word of the breeder. No one from these organizations comes out to look at the litter or see how it's being raised. Registration is NOT a sign of quality.

Red Lights
  • If you come across a puppy that is registered at some other lesser-known registries, run away - very, very fast. There are a number of so-called registries that exist so that the puppy millers and others who have lost their privileges at the reputable organizations can continue to breed and sell puppies. It's not an easy thing to be suspended from these organizations. If someone has been, it's for a good reason.
  • You may come across a litter or a pup that is not registered for some reason. Why was the litter not registered? Does the breeder care so little about what they are doing? Be sure to ask why the puppy or litter isn't registered. And carefully consider the answer. If you are looking for a good family companion and care little about a registration - this may be less of a red light for you.

Green Lights
  • Parents registered in multiple registries.  This is called "cross registered". One of the registries will be the primary registry. Make sure it's one of the ones listed.  Use of Limited Registration for puppies.  Helping you with the AKC Paperwork. 
  • The breeder may supply the AKC Litter paperwork- you can use this to cross register your pup with UKC, CKC or other clubs that will let you do performance events with your new puppy

  • Expect your breeder to be willing to work with you when it comes to payment. Good breeders want their pups in the very best homes and will work with those homes to make that happen.
  • Expect to place some kind of deposit on a pup that is not ready to go home yet.

Red Lights
  • The ability to pay by credit card. This is a sign of a commercial operation. Commercial operations look to the bottom line - not necessarily the well being of their pups. It may be that the breeder has access to credit processing through another business. That would be OK, but check it out.
  • A breeder unwilling to work out payment arrangements. This is less of a red light, particularly in areas where demand is high and supply is low. In these cases, the breeder may have a waiting list of outstanding homes for pups and may not need to be a flexible in this area.

Green Lights
  • Breeders who offer "rebates" or "incentives". Breeders may offer rebates or incentives to their buyers for providing proof of excellent care and training. Examples might be: spay or neuter, completion of a Basic Obedience Class, or attainment of a title or award.  Discount for people who have gotten a puppy from breeder in past. Discount if you pick up a puppy vs having the puppy shipped. 
  • Breeders charging less for repeat buyers. 

Expect to see some kind of advertising:
  • Local Classified Ads
  • Pet Store Flyers
  • Dog Club Ads

Red Lights
  • Out of area advertising. There is one exception to this, which is advertising on the Internet - it can't help but be out of area. If you see ads in the classifieds for out of area breeders or "puppy brokers" (people who will find a pup for you) beware. If breeders are advertising outside their own area that means they are producing enough puppies that they have to advertise at a distance. Lots of puppies generally mean poor puppy care. 
  • Short classified ads. As a rule of thumb you can judge the quality of the litter by the length of the ad. More information means a more informed and responsible breeder.
  • Dropping puppy prices. A breeder who has so many pups left over that they are having to drop the price on pups in order to sell didn't go into the breeding very well informed. The best breeders usually have much of the litter sold before it's even bred.
  • The biggest red light of all: Breeders who sell through an intermediary like a pet store or a puppy broker. These breeders truly don't care about where their pups wind up or what kinds of situations they go into. If they don't care about the puppies' futures, how much did they care about what they were producing?

Green Lights
  • Breeders who don't need to advertise. The very best breeders don't need to advertise. They will put litter plans on websites or social media.   Not to sell puppies, but to announce the proposed breeding.  (With the growth of the internet, puppy announcements have gotten big.  You may see a litter planned for years in advance- this also gives the breeder time to hear back from other breeders of potential downfalls in the pedigrees of the dogs)  
  • They sell puppies by word of mouth. Or other breeders frequent them . Or they have a lot of repeat buyers. If you're lucky enough to find one of these breeders - expect to sit on their waiting list for a while until they have the right pup for you.

  • And how do you find these breeders? Through word of mouth. Go to dog shows. Go to field events. (Go to the AKC web page at to find a list of your local events.) Contact the Curly Coated Retriever Club of America. Contact the local Curly Club. Basically, beat the bushes until you find a breeder you like and are comfortable with.
Buyer Background Check

  • Expect to be interviewed.
  • Expect to answer a questionnaire.

Red Lights
  • Breeders who will sell to anyone walking in the door with their checkbook out. These breeders don't really care about the future of their pups. They'll sell to anyone, any time, who has the money. If the breeder doesn't care where their puppies go - what kind of care did they take in planning the litter? And what kind of care will they give you if your pup has problems?

Green Lights
  • Home visits. More difficult when purchasing at a distance, the breeder may be able to arrange to have someone else do the home visit for them.
  • References required. Expect those references to be checked. If you have pets now, expect one to be your vet. (Be sure the call your vet and let them know it's OK to answer questions from your potential breeder.)
  • Feeling like it's easier to adopt a child than get a puppy out from under this breeder. These breeders are very careful about where their pups go. Their concern is for the future welfare of the pup.
  • Breeders who try and talk you out of buying a Curly. The Curly Coated Retriever is not an easy breed to own. Responsible breeders will be sure to highlight the difficulties in having a Curly. They are concerned about your well being too.
Breeder Background Check

Most breeders won't offer this information. But if you ask for it they should unhesitatingly provide it.
  • References, their vet and previous buyers
  • Experience statement
  • Clear statement of what they offer to buyers

Red Lights
  • Breeders who refuse to provide this information.
  • Breeders who can't provide this information.
  • Breeders who don't understand why you require this information.

Green Lights
  • Breeders who have a prepared sheet or list to give prospective buyers.
  • Breeders who have a written "mission statement" or set of "breeding goals". These are breeders who have thought long and hard about the direction they want their breeding program to take.
  • Some breeders may have this information as well as pictures of how they raise puppies on their websites or social media pages
Questions about the litter.
Why was this litter bred?

Always, always, always, ask this question. It will give you more insight into who this breeder is and what you can expect from your pup than any other. OK answers are:
  • Because this bitch has qualities we wanted to see passed on. (with a list of those qualities)
  • Because the dog has qualities we wanted to see passed on. (with a list of those qualities)

Red Lights
IMG_2820 Any of these answers:
  • To get our money back out of her.
  • So the kids could see the miracle of birth.
  • To make money.
  • So that she'd be "fulfilled" before we spayed her. (Sometimes at an unenlightened vet's recommendation!!)
  • Because we thought it would be fun.
  • We like her a lot and wanted to keep one of her pups.
All these answers show a lack of forethought and planning. The actual breeding was probably pretty haphazard, as was the care of the pups.
Green Lights Answers like:
  • This breeding furthers my breeding goals. With a detailed explanation of how that is.
  • Because we were looking to produce pups with specific qualities. With a detailed explanation of those qualities.
You're looking for any sort of answer that shows forethought, planning, and specific goals for the breeding. This means research was done before the litter was bred.
How often do you breed?


  • Less than once per year
  • No more than twice per year

Red Lights
Look for answers that show too many pups for the breeder to raise properly. Or, that they are producing pups so quickly they may "burn out". Each litter requires tremendous amounts of time to raise, expose, and evaluate properly.
  • Multiple litters on the ground at one time
  • More than three times per year

Green Lights
  • Whenever I can keep a pup, or have someone picked out who will keep my best pup to further the bloodlines.  
  • Breeders do not need to keep a kennel full of dogs.  With frozen semen and leasing bitches, they can further their bloodlines while still allowing each dog to have a family of their own. 
  •  This means the breeders are breeding for themselves. These litters are not haphazard but are well thought out and researched.
  • This number also depends on the number of bitches a breeder has-and the amount of time since last litter.  A breeder may have 2 litters in one year, and go several years without any litters. 
How often has this bitch been bred?

  • No more than once per year or every other season
  • No more than three or four total litters

Red Lights
  • Bitches bred every season. This is hard on the bitch. And it shows an interest in puppy production over the care and welfare of the bitch.
  • Very occasionally, you may run across a breeder who is breeding the bitch "back to back" that is, two seasons in a row. If this is the case be sure to find out why. Also, how long she was "rested" before these breedings. And how long she'll be "rested" before she's bred again. You want to see at least a year on either side where no litters are bred. And a sound reason for asking this of the bitch.
  • Bitches who have had more than three or four litters. Only the smallest percentage of truly great bitches should be bred this much. And it's unlikely that you'll run into pups from these bitches, as these pups tend to stay within the breeding community.

Green Lights
  • Bitches bred while in the prime of health.  It used to be thought that you needed to skip a season in between litters.  Recent studies have shown this to not be as beneficial as once thought
Sire and Dam Genetic Screening / Health Checks

  • Expect both sire and dam have OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America) or Penn-Hip certification of being free from hip dysplasia.
  • Expect both of the parents to have a CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) certification of "normal".

Red Lights
  • No health certifications. Indicates a breeder who either doesn't know or doesn't care. They probably bred Maggie to Butch down the street for no other reason than he was convenient.
  • Only one parent with hip certification. It used to be that the breeder had an "out" on this because the OFA won't certify hips before 2 years of age. However, the Penn-Hip certification can be done even at very young ages. So, this is no longer a valid excuse.

  • Penn-Hip is still fairly new in the certification arena - and is still not widely accepted. So, a breeder using a dog under the age of two may have had a preliminary hip screening done. This is OK too, provided the x-rays were sent to the OFA for a preliminary reading.

Green Lights
    • OFA Hip certification
    • both parents with CERF/EYE normal certification
    • PRA genetic testing done
    • OFA Cardiac via doppler or ECHO
    • OFA Elbow
    • GSDII genetic testing results
    • EIC genetic testing results
  • Breeders who can (and will) give you the health history on one or both sides with regard to
    • Bloat / Gastric Torsion
    • Distochyasis (Extra Eyelashes)
    • Hip Dysplasia
    • Cardiac Problems
    • Coat Patterning
Picking Pups

  • Expect your breeder to give you some advice when it comes time to pick your pup. After all, no one knows the litter and the individual personalities as well as the breeder.

Red Lights
  • Breeders who can give you no insight into the personality of the individual pups. These breeders either don't know what they were looking at, don't care what they were looking at, or didn't pay attention. In general their attitude is that all puppies are alike, so what does it matter.
  • Breeders who don't offer any advice about your pick. Their attitude is one of "take the puppy and go."

Green Lights
  • Experienced breeders who pick for you. These breeders are confident in their ability to select a pup for you and your situation. And, they have the experience to back it up. (Be sure to ask about a breeder's experience in this area.)
  • Experienced breeders who select a pup for you and make a recommendation to that effect, but still leave the final selection in your hands. As above, be sure to ask about their experience in evaluating pups.
  • Breeders who can provide written notes on each pup. Who have carefully evaluated each pup and noted what they observed. These breeders have the most insight of all to offer. And, since they wrote it all down, they do not have to rely on memory to make recommendations.
  • Breeders who have had the litter evaluated by one or more outside persons. Many breeders will do this to verify their own evaluations or to get a more experienced breeder's opinion. Remember however, that these outside evaluators are seeing the pup for only an hour or two. The breeder will still be able to offer a better insight than any outsider.
Lifetime Return Policy


  • Most breeders do not offer a lifetime return policy. (First Right Of Refusal) However, should you need to place your dog in the future they should make an effort to assist you in finding a home for that dog.

Red Lights
  • Breeders who you don't know and can't contact should something go wrong.
  • Breeders who don't maintain contact with their buyers so that you can find them should you need assistance.

Green Lights
  • Something to the effect of: "If at any time, for any reason, you can no longer care for the dog. It will be returned to the breeder. If you have found another home for the dog the breeder must approve that home before the dog is placed there." These breeders are the best of all. They take their responsibility to their pups seriously. They are doing their best to ensure that no pup of theirs is ever placed in a shelter.
  • Do not expect the breeder the buy the dog back. They are simply guaranteeing a good home for the dog should something happen to you.

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