Grooming your Curly Coated Retriever

Curly Coated Retrievers are easy to care for and groom. You can keep them looking great with very little experience or effort but there are some critical don’ts when it comes to caring and maintaining the curly coat.


The first rule of grooming a curly coated retriever is Don’t take your curly to a groomer. Most groomers have never seen a curly and therefore do not have a clue how the curlies coat should look. They will often blow dry and brush the coat so that your curly looks like a furball resembling a show poodle. You don’t want that.
Above all do not ever brush or comb a curly except when shedding or during shampoo to remove dead coat during heave shedding.
Never briskly towel dry or blow dry a curly. Allow them to shake off excess water and they are good to drip dry. Crating them with a fan on them can help to circulate air and accelerate the drip dry process.
It is Important that you don’t shampoo your dog unless it is necessary. Shampooing softens the coat and because of it will take 2 or 3 days to return to normal texture. If the dog is dirty with mud etc just spray it off with the hose or shower head. Otherwise, shampoo only when it starts to have an odor or during heavy shed. Swim or just wet them down on occasion to keep the curls crisp. A spray bottle with water and a bit of listerine works beautifully too. The more often you wet the coat the tighter the curls will become.


You must trim behind the ears to prevents matting. The ear also hangs more freely without it.
Trimming the curls on the ear leathers and around the contour will make them look properly tidy. Be sure to clip the hair growing into the ear for cleanliness purposes.
Pull the hair up between the toes and trim it off level with the top of the toes. Do not get in there and cut it to the skin. They need some cushion between the toes to prevent it from splaying out and to protect their webbing. Also trim the hair from bottoms of pads. This helps their grip and in snow prevents snow from balling up on the feet.
You can trim up the ragged parts of the front and back legs to tidy them up a bit if you wish.
Tails can be an art but in general just trim the bulk of scrap off. You want it like a long wedge. Wide at base and narrow at the tip.
If you want your curly tuxedo tidy then lay the scissors flat along the back and sides and cut any bits sticking out so that it is even all over.
Remember, if you make a scissor mistake don’t freak out. It will grow back in short order. If you trim too much just wait and it will look perfect and natural in a week. After a short time you will be an expert at grooming the Curly Coated Retriever

For great examples of a fully groomed show curly please see the images of Supra and Sadie.