Flat Coated Retriever vs Curly Coated Retriever

Flat Coated Retriever vs Curly Coated Retriever: Which Is Better?

Are you willing to know which is better, between Flat-Coated Retriever and a Curly-Coated Retriever? While they may have certain characteristics, both of these dogs also have a lot of differences. The origins and objectives of the Flat Coated and Curly Coated Retriever breeds of retrievers are comparable. Both are good swimmers who naturally like the water since they were raised to recover game from water. Although these two breeds are similar in temperament, appearance, and general usefulness as pets, they vary significantly from one another.

We will contrast the Flat Coated Retriever and Curly Coated Retriever in this post, examining their distinctive qualities and assisting you in choosing which breed could be more suitable for you. This comparison will provide beneficial information into the Flat Coated Retriever vs Curly Coated Retriever argument, whether you’re thinking about adding a retriever to your household or are just curious about these adored species. Continue reading for more information.

History of Flat-Coated Retriever and a Curly-Coated Retriever

Flat Coated Retriever vs Curly Coated Retriever

Two different kinds of retrievers, the Flat Coated Retriever and Curly Coated Retriever, descended from England in the 19th century. They differ in their histories and traits despite certain commonalities. Here is a synopsis of each breed’s history:

📜Flat Coated Retriever

The Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Water Spaniel, & Collie are among the breeds said to have contributed to the Flat-Coated Retriever, often known as the “Flat coat.” Gamekeepers & sportsmen who desired an effective and adaptable hunting dog to recover prey from land and water created the breed in the middle of the 19th century.

The specific beginnings of the Flat-Coated Retriever have yet to be widely known. However, it is believed that “Old Bounce,” a Newfoundland and Labrador Retriever cross, was instrumental in creating the breed. The Kennel Club in England recognized the breed in 1903 as it rose in popularity in the latter part of the 19th century.

Flat-Coated Retrievers are renowned for their extroverted and amiable personalities. In a variety of pursuits, like retrieving, hunting, obedience, & agility, they thrive. They have a striking, thick, shiny coat that is either completely black or liver in color.

📜Curly Coated Retriever

One of the first recognized retriever breeds is the Curly-Coated Retriever, sometimes called the “Curly.” Its beginnings may be found in England in the late 18th century. It is said that several breeds, including the Irish Water Spaniel, Newfoundland, & Poodle, were crossed to create the Curly-Coated Retriever.

While working in adverse weather and frigid water, the breed’s robust, water-resistant, curly coat offers good protection. The Curly-Coated Retriever’s special coat made it particularly effective in its function, which was to retrieve game from both land and water.

In the middle of the 19th century, the Curly-Coated Retriever gained popularity and became a favorite of gamekeepers and hunters. The breed became one of the first retriever breeds to get formal recognition when The Kennel Club in England recognized it in 1864.

It is well known that Curly Coated Retrievers are loyal, intelligent, and independent. They are skilled working dogs that excel in various pursuits, such as retrieving, hunting, and obedience competitions. Other retriever breeds, including the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever, have benefited from the evolution of the Flat-Coated Retriever & the Curly-Coated Retriever. They are still valued as work, household, and competition dogs.

Flat Coated Retriever vs Curly Coated Retriever Breed Differences

Flat Coated Retriever vs Curly Coated Retriever

Two different dog breeds, the Flat-Coated Retriever and the Curly-Coated Retriever, have certain characteristics and clear differences in common. Here are a few of the most significant differences between the two breeds.


Flat Coated Retriever

The hues of a flat-coated retriever make him easily invisible in the wild. He zips off through the reeds like a shot, directly into the water, & his sleek, medium length coat lets him glide easily over the waves and shields him from any cold. He is often solid black or liver, but rarely will he be a rich golden brown. When wet, his large, fan-shaped tail narrows to a strong rudder, making steering much easier.

He has the prettiest bronze eyes, framed by fluffy bobbed ears and a smooth, sloping forehead. A flatty’s demeanor conveys his friendly and cheerful personality, particularly when its long tongue protrudes from the tip of his slender snout. A flat-coated retriever is a big, powerful dog that weighs between 60 and 70 pounds and stands almost 2 feet tall at the shoulder. His lean, racing physique shows his strength and endurance.

Curly Coated Retriever

Curly-coated retrievers are distinguished from other varieties of retrievers by their distinctive black or liver waves, as their name implies. They have a body form and structure typical of a retriever, yet you may compare their coat to that of a poodle and a Portuguese water dog.

Like a perm, curlies have thick fur with tiny, unique, tightly curled curls. Most of their bodies are covered with these curls extending up their necks, down their legs, and tails. Although their ear hair is also curled, it could be a little looser & more relaxed. Their faces and the fronts of their legs are the only portions of them with straight hair. The thick mass of waves shields the curly-coated retriever from the elements, making these dogs excellent hiking, swimming, and adventure partners.

The average curly-coated retriever weighs 60 to 95 pounds and reaches 23 to 27 inches tall. Although it’s not always the case, females of many dog breeds tend to be smaller than males. Brown, Black, or amber eyes are common in curlies. Triangular in shape, their ears extend halfway down on both sides of their faces.


Flat Coated Retriever

A flat-coated retriever can give your dog all that and more if you want a little “get up & go” in them. Co-founder & president of the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association is Bonnie Bragdon, DVM, MS. According to her, a flatty makes a wonderful family dog for individuals who love an active lifestyle & close connection if he comes from a suitable line.

According to Bragdon, “The breed’s guardians strove to develop dogs that were physically robust to handle the rigors of hunting, skilled swimmers to recover waterfowl, and attentive partners in work who connected to their human companions for an easy relationship.” The flat-coated retriever nowadays “wants to please their human companion and is successful in field tests and contests.” They also do a great job with scents.

The flat-coated retriever has a lively, amiable, and upbeat disposition. They enjoy kids and everyone. They see themselves as essential family members and follow you even when no rewards are promised since they constantly want one-on-one time. Flat Coated are very intelligent and highly sensitive, so they use patience and training methods that provide positive reinforcement to help them recognize what is expected of them.

Curly Coated Retriever

Highly clever canines with somewhat different temperaments from other retrievers you are more used to are called curly-coated retrievers. In contrast to their warmer, attention seeking relative breeds like Labradors and golden retrievers, they tend to be less friendly with strangers. Curlies are flexible canines that can fit into many different kinds of homes, making them a wonderful option for young professionals & busy families.

Curly-coated retrievers can accept being left alone and appreciate being with their family and spending time with them. They are lively, loving, and self-assured canines. They will gladly nap on the sofa after a daily stroll or game of fetch. Because of their intelligence, curlies are prone to becoming bored rapidly. Puppies must receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation through training and activities like interactive toys and food puzzles.

🐶Coat Maintenance

Different grooming needs apply to each breed. Regular brushing and periodic clipping are required to keep the Flat-Coated Retriever’s coat from matting and shedding. Although it sheds less often, the Curly-Coated Retriever’s coat must brushed frequently. Additionally, the curly coat of the Curly-Coated Retriever could need expert care to keep its texture and form.


Although both types are smart and teachable, their learning techniques may vary. They known that Flat-Coated Retrievers are eager to please and react well to positive training techniques. They are highly trainable and often successful in several dog sports. Because of their tendency toward independence, Curly-Coated Retrievers may benefit from patient and persistent training.

🐶Energy Levels

Both breeds are energetic and need frequent exercise, although the Flat-Coated Retriever often has a little more. They thrive on cerebral and physically challenging exercises, including agility, retrieving games, and obedience training. Although their activity level may be slightly more moderate, Curly-Coated Retrievers still like exercise.


The level of care given to the dog is, without a doubt, one of the key elements in determining how long a dog will live, but there are other aspects as well, particularly the breed of the dog. Flat-Coated Retrievers often live longer than Curly Coated Retrievers, with an average lifespan of ten to twelve years. The lifespan of a Curly-Coated Retriever is nine to twelve years.


Let’s start with adaptation to apartment life, as it is what most people think of when we hear “Dog adaptability.” All dogs are wonderful, but only some dogs are suitable for or suited to apartment life. Size, activity level, loudness, odor, and shedding are just a few reasons why a dog deemed the worst breed for apartments. Curly-Coated & Flat-Coated Retrievers, however, don’t have a solid reputation as excellent apartment dogs. Some dogs will do better than others when left alone at home for six to eight hours.

Hot Weather Tolerance

Depending on where you live, you must select a dog that does well in hot or cold conditions. Speaking about Curly-Coated and Flat-Coated Retrievers, these breeds do well in warmer climates, but you should still use caution. Provide shade and drink when it’s hot outside, and go outside in the early morning or late at night when it’s cooler. Avoid pavements as well since if the ground is too hot for your hand to contact for more than a few seconds, it is also too hot for paws.

Cold Weather Tolerance

Most dogs do not mind the cold until it drops below 45° F, after which certain dogs sensitive to it may feel uneasy. Owners of tiny dogs, dog breeds with thin coats, and dogs who are extremely young, elderly, or ill should pay particular attention to their pet’s wellbeing when temps drop below 32° F.

All dog owners should be aware that their canines may become susceptible to cold-related health issues, including hypothermia and frostbite, if temperatures fall below 20° F. Because both breeds can tolerate cold weather well, as long as you follow the guidelines outlined above, they must be OK and may even like the cold.


The intelligence of the Flat-Coated Retriever & Curly-Coated Retriever might differ, yet both breeds are clever. The Flat Coated Retriever renowned for having a high cognitive level. They are versatile, fast learners, and naturally eager to please their owners. This breed is often commended for its capacity for problem-solving. It may thrive in various pursuits, including agility, obedience training, and even more challenging jobs like rescue and search or therapeutic work. The intelligence of Flat-Coated Retrievers, as well as their fast comprehension and obedience to directions, are well recognized.

While the Curly-Coated Retriever is likewise regarded as a bright breed, its problem-solving methods may vary from those of Flat-Coated Retrievers. It is well known that Curly-Coated Retrievers have autonomous thought and self-reliance. Instead of just depending on human instruction, they may be more likely to find things independently. Despite their intelligence, they may not be as receptive to orders as other retriever breeds due to their independence.

Both breeds may learn and perform well in training when given the right direction and positive reinforcement methods. It’s vital to remember that not all dogs, even within a certain breed, will exhibit the same degree of intelligence since individual variances in intelligence may exist in any breed. A dog’s general intellect and conduct influenced by socialization, training, & individual personality features.


Flat Coated Retriever

Few dogs need as little grooming as the flat-coated retriever; he is a “wash and wear” dog. You won’t have to spend much on grooming expenditures to get rid of stray pheasant feathers, loose hair, and filth if you use a metal comb and brush once a week. Additionally, frequent brushing helps his skin retain essential oils to prevent drying out.

He should always be rinsed off with water if he swims in the ocean, pool, or lake with algae. But it would be best if you didn’t have to bother bathing him more than a few times a year unless they get into anything terrible. Flat-coated retrievers that are sleek shed? Yes, a little, particularly in the spring & autumn. However, by paying close attention to your weekly grooming, you may somewhat reduce the amount of fluff.

Flat-coated retrievers in black and other dark colors may get heat stroke. Take excellent care of your boisterous retriever on days like these because, according to VCA Animal Hospitals, certain dogs are at risk for this ailment when they move vigorously in hot weather. Help him unwind after strenuous action by providing air conditioning indoors, shade outside, or maybe even a cold doggy pool since he doesn’t sweat. In either case, you should drink more water; however, skip the ice cubes. The trimming of nails, ear cleaning, and tooth brushing are other simple grooming suggestions.

Curly Coated Retriever

In addition to being adorable, curly-coated retrievers need little upkeep. Their distinctive curls are natural, and they look their finest after a wash when left to air dry. Unless your dog prefers rolling in mud or getting exceptionally muddy at the dog park, these canines also only need washes a few times.

A metal, rake-style brush may be useful for clearing out all that dead hair to create a place for new, fresh hairs since curly-coated retrievers shed year-round and according to the seasons. Using this kind of grooming equipment is crucial since using other sorts of brushes on a curly coated retriever’s hair might make those gorgeous curls frizzy. Occasionally giving this dog’s hair a basic cut with scissors will also assist.

Regular nail trimming with a clipper, grinder, or a mix of the two helps all dogs run and walk their best. Your dog’s nails can be cut at home or for a reasonable charge by a reputable groomer. If you want you’re curly to remain interested in training, keep sessions brief and fun, particularly if you got a curly-coated retriever puppy. In order to keep curlies’ minds active, it is also good to continually teach them new habits and orders (while providing lots of positive reinforcement such as praise, cookies, and petting along the way!).

Facts About Flat Coated Retriever and Curly Coated Retriever

➣The flat-coat retriever known by a variety of names throughout the years, including black wavy retriever, smooth-coated retriever, & wavy-coated retriever.

➣Only two flat-coated retrievers, Ch. Shargleam Blackcap and Sh Ch. Vbos the Kentuckian has received “Best in Show” at the prestigious Crufts dog show, which is run by The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom, since 1928.

➣Although “flatties,” as they are fondly known, may resemble a dark-colored golden retriever, they are really somewhat more very similar to labradors!

➣The curly-coated retriever is less common than its relatives, the Labrador retriever and the golden retriever. While curlies are uncommon puppies, labs and golden retrievers are two of the most recognized dog breeds.

➣Curlies shed on average throughout the year, with an obvious increase in the spring and autumn, like many other retriever breeds. Despite having curly hair, poodles are not hypoallergenic dogs. Therefore allergy sufferers may not be the greatest candidates.

Grooming and Health Needs

The best approach to ensure your puppy’s health is to do thorough research on reliable breeders, then request to see them and view the parents, their health certificates, as well as the surroundings in which every dog is maintained. Additionally, certain breeds are more prone to obesity, which may result in additional health issues. If the breed is prone to obesity, be sure to examine that information as well. If so, keep a careful watch on labels & feed your dog in accordance with the directions on the food packaging.

Hip dysplasia, for instance, is a genetic disorder that is more prevalent in larger canines. This genetic predisposition increased by rapid growth, specific types of activity, and excessive weight and diet.

Having a dog undoubtedly has its drawbacks, like shedding. So make careful to consider this while deciding on the breed that is best for you. The medium shedding of Curly-Coated and Flat-Coated Retrievers is neither tremendous nor dreadful. Although it is hard to stop shedding completely, these breeds need frequent brushing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which breed is most suitable for households with kids?

Both flat-coated and curly-coated retrievers may be wonderful family companions, but it’s vital to keep in mind that both types are active and need a lot of training and exercise. Due to their outgoing and amiable demeanor, flat coated retrievers may be more suited for families with small children, although both breeds may get along well with youngsters if socialized and trained appropriately.

What distinguishes a Flat-Coated Retriever from a Retriever?

In contrast to flat-coated, which have black and liver-colored fur, golden retrievers possess lighter, golden-colored coats. The heads of flat-coated retrievers are longer and more angular than those of golden retrievers, whose heads are more boxy and rounder. While flat-coated seem to be more autonomous, goldens like social engagement.

How rare are Curly-Coated Retrievers?

In the early 20th century, Curly Coated Retrievers were on the verge of extinction and are currently an uncommon breed in the United States. When hunting, they can tolerate cold water and dense underbrush because of their distinctive black coat, which covered in tiny, water-resistant, tight curls.

Flat-Coated Retrievers – Are they good?

Retrievers with flat coats are excellent family pets. They are exceedingly gregarious, kind to everyone, and affectionate toward children. They like being around their family and rely on it to survive. The flat-coated retriever may have the temperament of being youthful forever.

What breed needs the most grooming?

Due to their tight, curly coats, which get matte if not properly cared for, retrievers with curly coats need more grooming than retrievers with flat coats. Their coat must brushed and trimmed often to stay in excellent shape. Regular grooming also benefits flat-coated retrievers to keep their long coats looking lustrous and healthy.

Final Words

The Flat Coated Retriever and the Curly Coated Retriever are two distinct dog varieties with distinctive characteristics. While both varieties are intelligent, loyal, and family-friendly, their temperament, appearance, and behavior are distinct. The Flat-Coated Retriever is recognized for its outgoing and welcoming disposition, while the Curly-Coated Retriever is more guarded and independent. The Flat-Coated Retriever appears streamlined and refined, whereas the Curly-Coated Retriever has a distinctively curly coat. The choice between these two breeds ultimately comes down to individual preference and lifestyle. With proper training and socializing, both breeds make wonderful pets and companions, and they can flourish in any environment. Do you want to know the flat-coated retriever vs labrador? Click Here!

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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