Curly Coated Retrievers have a distinctive appearance that sets them apart from their counterparts, but their personality is distinctly that of a retriever breed. They are affectionate, active and loyal companions, happiest when outdoors and engaged in fun, interesting activities with their favorite people. Curlies are polite to strangers and are excellent with children of all ages, patient with the small ones and ready to romp with the older kids. They are by no means a dog for people who want a lazy couch mate. They prefer to rise early, remain active throughout the day, and then, when it's bedime, the Curly Coated Retriever will happily curl up at the end of the bed to snore the night away.
Like other retriever breeds, the Curly Coated version needs lots of vigorous exercise every single day. They are an active person's dog – couch potatoes should steer clear of this breed. They love running, swimming, hiking, playing ball and catching frisbees. They can be competitive in agility courses, but they are not as obedient as their Golden Retriever counterparts, so they often do not excel in this arena, but they enjoy the activity and eat up the attention.
Curlies need as much mental stimulation as they do physical stimulation and should always be provided with plenty of interesting activities throughout the day, especially when left alone. Inactivity and boredom leads to destructiveness and hyperactivity that is hard to curb.
Curly Coated Retrievers are easily trainable when positive reinforcement and treats are employed. They do not respond well to discipline or a heavy-handed attitude. Curlies are not dominant by nature, but will take the opportunity to rule the roost, if boundaries are not set early on. When basic obedience is mastered, Curlies should be graduated to advanced obedience or the agility ring, in order to keep their intelligent minds busy.
Socialization is also important with this breed, as they can be sand offish to strangers and if left unchecked, Curlies can become quite timid or overly suspicious of new people and things.
If a Curly Coated Retriever is not exercised enough, he will become destructive, and this breed is capable of a lot of damage. They should not be left alone without first having been exercised and they should always be left with plenty of their own chew toys to keep them busy.
They are naturally prone to chewing and will stick anything in their mouths that will fit. Shoes, pillows, and children's toys should be kept away from Curlies, and they need to be taught at a young age not to bite hands and sleeves.
This breed experiences and extended puppyhood and an be rowdy and rambunctious all the way through age four.