15 Popular Curly Haired Dog Breeds – 2021

There is something about curly-haired dog breeds that makes them look cuter and more attractive.

These curly hairs can appear in many forms: loose curls, tight curls, cords, or even wavy curly hair. 

So if you are a fan of dog breeds with curly coats, below are the dogs that can mesmerize you.

Poodle

poodle

The Poodle is a common dog associated with the “curly hair” tag.

Most Doodles (Poodle mixes) also inherit this trait. It is not just the appearance, there is so much more to like about the Poodle. 

Poodles are among the most intelligent and interactive dog breeds. They are also the most hypoallergenic dog breeds.

This makes them exceptional companions, even for families with children.

Natural Poodle curls come with a high need for grooming efforts.

Regular trimming is required to make sure that the coat remains free of tangles.

If you are interested in getting a Poodle or its mixes, read on here

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese-Water-Dog

Another prominent member of the curly haired dog breed list is the Portuguese Water Dog (PWD). The PWD has become famous as the chosen dog of The Obama family. 

Before being used as a companion, the PWDs were used by fishermen to retrieve equipment and save drowning sailors. This dog’s curly coat was usually shaved to improve their mobility in the water.

These days, just a 1 inch trim is used instead of a complete shave (lion cut). Even with minimal trimming the curly coat is appealing and shows the agility of the Portuguese Water Dog.

They don’t shed much and are considered hypoallergenic.

Bichon Frise

Bichon-Frise

The name “Bichon Frise” in French translates to “curly haired dog”.

The white soft curls can be cut short to appear like a cotton wool ball or a cloud!

Even though the curls are soft, the matting is inevitable when the coat grows out. Daily brushing is a MUST. You would also need to add a monthly bath and haircut to the list of his demands.

The Bichon Frise commonly finds itself as a popular show dog. But beware, keeping this dog up to show standards is difficult.

Their pure white coat is a prized characteristic that is available in apricot and cream color. These small dogs make a good companion and excellent competition dog.

Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry-Blue-Terrier

This Terrier comes in various shades of blue. Ranging from slate to light grey, the color complements their distinct curly hair coats.

All in all, they are a unique sight that takes even greater deal of effort to maintain!

AKC standards for Kerry Blue Terrier state the dog’s coat should be neat, soft, wavy, and dense. The density of hair makes it appear curly-haired but very neat like a ‘knitted jersey’.

For such a thick coat, dedicated grooming is unavoidable. Brushing and combing your dog should need to become your hobby!

Trimming his curly coat regularly by yourself will save you some money. Otherwise, professional grooming would be required as the coat does grow quite fast!

Barbet (aka Mud Dog)

Barbet

A breed that is not commonly talked about is the French Barbet, a water dog. Did you know that the Barbet only became AKC recognized in 2020?

Its alias ‘Mud Dog’ is popular since this dog was used to retrieve games from muddy water bodies. 

Covered in medium curly hair (3 to 5 inches), each curl is allowed to dangle freely. This gives them a wooly look. Keeping him tangle-free is tough as he mostly likes to be in the water!

Constant brushing several times a week does help. Regular haircuts will be needed as the hair tends to easily grow past the 5-inch limit. Keeping the curly hair within the limit ensures it keeps its shape and stays controllable. 

Komondor

Komondor

The Komondor is a ‘one of a kind’ dog, its long curly cords resemble the strands on a mop. The Komondor is a working sheepdog. This unusual coat makes him blend in with the sheep and offers protection from the natural elements. 

Grooming a curly Komondor coat requires special attention with no shortcuts! Brushing is prohibited and does not help anyway. Regular baths keep the locks clean and banish any odors.

Each curly lock needs to be individually washed and towel-dried. After this proper natural drying is required, which assures a damp smell does not develop. 

The Komondor is commonly regarded as one of the 30 Dogs That Do Not Shed.

Curly-Coated Retriever 

Curly-Coated Retriever

Curlies as they are popularly called are gentle and affectionate dogs. Interestingly, their face and legs do not feature curls. Instead, these areas have straight hair.

They descend from two dog breeds (the English Water Spaniel and the Retrieving Setter) that are said to be extinct now.

Grooming a curly-haired Retriever is not time-consuming due to short single coat.

Although Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are more popular in the USA, the Curly Haired Retriever has a strong following in Australia and New Zealand. 

Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo

This Italian dog is designated as the only breed in the world that can sniff out truffles (an expensive luxury food).

Their name translates to “lake dog”, arising from their days as retrievers of waterfowl. They also are well known for their curly coat which keeps them dry since it is waterproof. 

This medium-sized dog has curly waves that appear wooly in both texture and appearance. Their coat is coarse and needs constant care to prevent severe matting.

Both brushing and trimming are required regularly to maintain their coat or else it will look unkempt and unappealing. 

Bedlington Terrier 

Bedlington Terrier

Yet another Terrier that makes this list of curly-haired canines is the Bedlington Terrier.

He has a combination of smooth and textured hair, yielding a curly hair appearance. Surprisingly, a young Bedlington Terrier’s curly coat makes it look like a ‘lamb’! The head features the curliest hair. 

Thankfully, grooming is not a hassle with this curly Terrier breed. Dirt and tangles are dislodged with weekly brushing sessions. With all curly dog breeds, trims are necessary. Get your Bedlington a trim every 8 weeks. 

Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel

It is thought that the Irish Water Spaniel descends from 3 familiar breeds (Poodle, Barbet, and Portuguese Water Dog).

This Spaniel was used as a water retriever dog where their curly thick coat comes to use. Registered with the AKC in 1878, it was one of the first European dogs to be registered in the USA. 

The double-coat of the Irish Water Spaniel (IWS) features curls all over but the face and tail which are free from any curls and have smooth straight short hairs.

These curls and smooth hair around the face look exceptionally good in their common liver color coat. 

Pumi

Pumi

Indigenous to Hungary, the Pumi is a well-known working breed with a tough job of gathering, driving, and keeping stock under control!

The coat is a combination of wavy and curly hair forming curls all over the body. They often come in black, white, grey, or fawn.

Brushing every 3 to 6 weeks (depending on coat) is required to maintain their coat. After brushing, the coat should be made wet to make sure curls arrive at their original state.  

Bolognese

Related to the Bichon Frise, the Bolognese bears a somewhat untidy curly hair coat.

These medium-sized dogs are known to exist in white color only.

They are the only companion dog in this list used once as gifts for royal and wealthy people. 

Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier

This large Terrier is renowned for curly hairs that are tan or black in color. These curly hairs can be in loose curls or tight curls. Unlike the other Terrier’s, the Airedale Terrier’s hair coat bears an unusual texture.

With these curls, the Airedale has an advantage, they are hypoallergenic and low-maintenance dogs. This comes as a relief for Terrier enthusiasts! 

Once a week brushing sessions will suffice to keep their curly hairs intact. Haircut once every 3 to 4 months is fine. This makes the Airedale Terrier much more manageable than other curly-haired breeds.

Puli (aka Drover) 

puli

Another Hungarian herding dog breed that has a curly coat is the Puli (not to be confused with the Pumi). Their long wooly curly hair (cords) are often likened to ‘dreadlocks’. 

Looking at the Puli you would be reminded of the Komondor, except the Puli has more relaxed curly cords. When overgrown, their eyes are covered by their coat. Puli comes in a variety of standard coat colors:

  • White 
  • Silver
  • Black

Other non-standard coat colors are rust, cream, and brown. Black or white markings with or without a black mask are also possible. 

Other Notable Curly Haired Dog Breeds

Not every curl makes a dog count as a curly-haired dog! Here are some breeds that just missed out on being added to our curly canine list! 

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Funny Dog Video
Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel

Cocker Spaniel’s hair is more wavy than curly but it still deserves a mention. This attractive coat is definitely more expensive and time-consuming to maintain. Interested and worried about his shedding? Read about Cocker Spaniel Shedding.

Labradoodle

labradoodle

All Labradoodles have an undeniably curly hair coat passed on by the Poodle parent. It just misses out on our official list because it is a designer breed that is still not recognized by major dog associations. 

Get some insight into Labradoodle Shedding before you adopt one.