Curly Golden Retrievers: Your Guide to Coat Variations, Care, & Beyond

Golden Retrievers are known and loved for their flowing, lustrous coats. But did you know that some Goldens sport a curlier coat? It’s true! While not the breed standard, coat variations can occur within the breed.

Why Do Some Golden Retrievers Have Curly Coats?

Genetics: Coat texture in Golden Retrievers is influenced by multiple genes. Recessive genes can lead to a curlier coat that may range from slight waves to tighter curls.

Mixed Breeding: Historically, some Goldens might have had other retriever breeds in their ancestry, potentially carrying curly coat genes.

Puppy Coat to Adult Coat: Golden Retriever puppies may have some curls that diminish as their adult coat develops. However, some maintain a degree of curliness.

Grooming a Curly Golden Retriever

Brushing for Tangle Prevention: Frequent brushing is key for your curly Golden. Focus on areas where curls are tightest, like around the ears and tail, to prevent mats. Use a slicker brush for removing loose fur and a wide-tooth comb for detangling.

Bath Time Considerations: Bathe your Golden as needed, but be mindful that frequent washing can strip natural oils. Choose a gentle, moisturizing dog shampoo.

Managing Mats: Check regularly for matting, especially in areas with tighter curls. Use a detangling spray formulated for dogs before gently working out tangles. For tough mats, consult a groomer for safe and effective removal.

Beyond the Curls: Your Golden Is Still a Golden!

Curly Golden Retrievers
Image Credit: Darya Komarova/istockphoto

It’s important to remember that a curlier coat doesn’t change the fact that your dog is a Golden Retriever at heart. They’ll have the same loving personality, playful spirit, and intelligence that makes Goldens so adored.

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Embracing the Curly Golden

Unique and Charming: A curly coat adds a touch of individuality to your Golden Retriever. Owners often adore this special trait that makes their dog stand out.

Beauty with Proper Care: With regular brushing and appropriate grooming, your curly Golden will look just as handsome and well-loved as any Golden Retriever.

Is a Curly Coat a Breed Standard Fault?

While a curly coat isn’t the traditional Golden Retriever standard, it doesn’t mean your dog is less worthy or disqualifies them from being a beloved pet. Some breeders may view this as an undesirable trait, but ultimately, a healthy and happy Golden Retriever is what matters most.

Personal Stories: Curly Goldens Owners Share the Love

“When my Golden Retriever, Charlie, started getting a bit of a wave to his coat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now, I think his gentle curls are absolutely adorable! He’s still my loyal Golden through and through, with just a bit of extra flair.” – Emily P., Golden Retriever Owner

“Daisy’s curls always make people stop and ask about her breed. At first, I was a bit self-conscious, but now I’m proud of her unique look. She’s a Golden Retriever with a dash of extra personality, and her coat is just one part of what makes her special.” – David R., Golden Retriever Owner 

Coat Care Resources: Grooming Tips for Your Curly Golden

Curly Golden Retrievers
Image Credit: Darya Komarova/istockphoto

Essential Tools:

  • Slicker Brush: Look for a brush with soft, flexible pins to gently remove loose hair without causing irritation. 
  • Wide-Tooth Comb: This tool helps detangle larger areas and prevents pulling on sensitive skin. 
  • Detangling Spray: Choose a formula with natural ingredients that hydrates and softens fur for easier brushing.
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Additional Tips:

  • Brushing Frequency: Brush your curly Golden at least twice a week, increasing frequency with tighter curls to prevent matting.
  • Leave-In Conditioner: A light, non-greasy conditioner adds an extra layer of protection against tangles, especially after baths.

Misconceptions: Curly Coats: Clearing Up Confusion

Curly-Coated Retrievers
Curly-Coated Retrievers
Image Credit: Bigandt_Photography/istockphoto

Not to Be Confused with Curly-Coated Retrievers Curly-Coated Retrievers are a distinct breed with a characteristic coat of tight, short curls. Golden Retrievers with curly coats have variations within their breed standard but are distinctly different. 

The Influence of Other Retrievers: Historically, some Golden Retriever lines may have crossed with other retriever breeds known for curlier coats, such as the Flat-Coated Retriever or the Irish Water Spaniel. This can explain why some Goldens exhibit notably curly coats.

Puppy to Adult Coat: It’s common for Golden Retriever puppies to have some waves or curls that lessen as they mature. However, some Goldens retain a degree of curliness in their adult coat, making them unique and even more charming.


Curly Golden Retrievers add a touch of delightful diversity to this cherished breed. Whether your Golden has a classic flowing coat or sports charming curls, they deserve all the love and attention you can give. Embrace their unique beauty, provide proper care, and enjoy the boundless loyalty and affection that makes Golden Retrievers so special.

The photo featured below the post headline is Credit: Darya Komarova/istockphoto

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Frequently Asked Question

Are curly Golden Retrievers rare?
They’re less common than straight-coated Goldens but not incredibly rare. Their unique coats make them stand out!

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Do curly Golden Retrievers shed more?
Shedding is similar to straight-coated Goldens, but curls might trap shed hair more easily, making regular brushing extra important.

Are curly Goldens hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, no Golden Retriever is truly hypoallergenic. All Goldens shed and produce dander that can trigger allergies.

Is a curly coat in Golden Retrievers a sign of mixed breeding?
While it’s possible, curly coats can also result from recessive genes within purebred Golden Retriever lines.

Can Golden Retriever puppies have curly coats?
Yes! Some Golden puppies have curls that may lessen as they mature, but some retain a degree of curliness into adulthood.

Do curly Golden Retrievers need special grooming?
They mainly need more frequent brushing to prevent matting, especially in curlier areas. Consult a groomer if mats become severe.

Are curly Golden Retrievers recognized by the AKC?
While a curly coat isn’t the breed standard, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes Goldens with coat variations, including waviness.

How can I tell if my Golden Retriever will have a curly coat?
Curly coats in Goldens are influenced by genetics. Observing your puppy’s parents or talking to the breeder can be helpful, but coat texture can also change as your puppy grows.

Do curly Golden Retrievers have different temperaments?
No, coat texture doesn’t affect the classic Golden Retriever personality. Your curly Golden will be just as loving, playful, and intelligent as any other Golden!

What health conditions should I be aware of in Curly-Coated Retrievers? 
While Curly-Coated Retrievers are generally healthy, it’s wise to be informed about some health issues this breed may be predisposed to. Discuss potential concerns like hip dysplasia, eye problems, and certain cancers with your veterinarian or a reputable breeder.