Unique Small and Big Dogs With Curly Hair From Our Files

Are Curly-Haired Dog Breeds Hypoallergenic? 

Curly-haired dog breeds are hypoallergenic, which indicates that they don’t cause allergies in people. You may still react negatively to dog dander from small dogs with curly hair, but it will be considerably less severe. Less hair will also be on your clothes, furniture, and floors. 

You may also consider your dog’s color. If most of your home’s furnishings are white and you bring home a solid-colored dog, dog hairs would likely stand out more.

13 Small and Big Dog Breeds With Curly Hair

Dog breeds with curly hair are attractive because their coats shed very little and have a distinct appearance. Poodles and Portuguese water dogs, both of which have tightly curled hair, compete in canine athletic events because of their superior insulation provided by their dense curls. 

Coils are abundant in herding breeds like the Pumi and the Bichon and companion breeds like the Bichon. Each breed of dog has specific needs regarding grooming: some need brushing, washing, or visiting the groomer regularly, while others require you to strip their fur manually or with a special comb.

Curly-haired breeds are often hypoallergenic, but this does not apply to all of them. This means they are an improved option for people suffering from allergies because they provoke fewer allergic reactions. 

On the other hand, there is no such thing as an utterly allergy-free dog. The following is a list of 13 dog breeds that have curly hair, along with information on how you should groom them.

Airedale Terrier

The Airedale is the largest of the terrier breeds, and its coat is among the most recognizable and unmistakable of any dog breed. The wiry coat, which is often brown and tan, maybe tightly curled or may have a more relaxed curl that mimics a wave. It may also be straight. It has a texture that is noticeably distinct from many other terriers.

The Airedale Terrier is a hypoallergenic canine that requires little to no upkeep. You should brush through the curls or use a stripping comb once a week, but you will only need to visit the groomer three to four times a year to have a haircut. 

Breed Overview

Group: Terrier (AKC)

Height: 23 inches (58.4 centimeters)

Weight: 50 to 70 pounds (22.7 to 31.8 kilograms)

Coat and color: The appearance is sturdy yet athletic; the coat is close-cropped, curly, and black and tan. A beard is often present on the muzzle.

Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Airedale Terrier


Curly-haired and relatively unknown, the French Barbet water dog is a breed of dog with a barbet. It is advisable to keep the length of the coat at a medium size, between three and five inches, and to let the curly locks hang loose. This dog earned its keep by retrieving game from the freezing water; thus, its coat is very dense and woolly. 

This is an essential trait since it gives the Barbet its name. The challenge of maintaining a well-groomed barbet is not an easy one. 

You must clean and comb the coat multiple times per week to prevent the hair from becoming tangled and unmanageable and to prevent mats from forming. Going to the groomer consistently will help the coat keep its length and shape longer.

Breed Overview

Group: Miscellaneous (AKC)

Height: 19 to 24.5 inches (48.3 to 62.2 centimeters)

Weight: 35 and 65 pounds (15.9 and 29.5 kilograms)

Coat and color: This breed of dog is medium-size and has a coat that is either black, gray, brown, or fawn. It is long, dense, and curly.

Life expectancy: 13 to 15 years

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier looks like a lamb and has a texture that is quite similar to that of a lamb due to its combination of fine and coarse hair. The dog’s head is typically the region of its body that has the most curls. 

These dogs usually have a dark coat when they are born, but over time, their coats gradually lighten to become a lighter shade of blue, sandy, or dark brown liver. Caring for a Bedlington Terrier’s coat is not overly burdensome, and the dog does not shed fur to the same extent as other breeds. 

A weekly detangling and combing will prevent the curls from becoming matted and collecting debris. You have the option of learning how to cut the dog’s coat on your own or scheduling an appointment with a groomer approximately once every eight weeks.

Breed Overview

Group: Terrier (AKC)

Height: 15 to 18 inches (38.1 to 45.7 centimeters)

Weight: 17 to 23 pounds (7.7 to 10.4 kilograms)

Color and coat: Colors include blue, liver, and sandy tones, with or without tan markings; the coat has an arched back and shaggy, rugged curls.

Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

Bedlington Terrier


The Bichon Frise and its close relative, the Bolognese, are both types of companion dogs. In contrast to the Bichon, which has tight curls that are relatively short in length, the Bolognese has looser curls that are longer. 

Because of its wavy appearance, its coat needs brushing several times a week; however, it is probably ideal for making brushing its coat a routine.

Breed Overview

Group: Foundation Stock Service; the AKC does not register this breed.

Height: 10 to 12 inches (25.4 to 30.5 centimeters)

Weight: 5.5 to 9 pounds (2.5 to 4.1 kilograms)

Coat and color: The coat is always solid white, and the dog has a black snout and dark eyes. It is a little dog with long, curly hair.

Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

Bichon Frise

The name “curly-haired dog” is how “Bichon Frise” is a translation from its original French. This fluffy white companion dog is a tiny breed with many uses for companionship. When properly groomed, the dog’s coat has a spherical appearance due to its short, fluffy curls. 

These dogs’ hair is soft underneath, but their guard hairs are harsh, which can cause it to the mat. The American Bichon Frise Club advises owners to brush their dogs daily and take them to the groomer once per month for a bath and a haircut.

Breed Overview

Group: Non-Sporting (AKC)

Height: 9 to 12 inches (22.9 to 30.5 centimeters)

Weight: 7 to 12 pounds (3.2 to 5.4 kilograms)

Coat and color: White hair that is fluffy and curly (may have streaks of apricot, buff, or cream), resembling a cotton ball or powder in appearance.

Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Curly-Coated Retriever

One of the oldest Retriever breeds and one of the largest dog breeds with curly hair, the curly-coated retriever is also one of the oldest. This breed’s origin was likely influenced by curly-haired dogs, such as Irish Water Spaniels and Poodles. 

These dogs were hunting companions for retrieving wildlife from bodies of water like lakes and rivers, regardless of the weather, and frequently had to make their way through thick brush and brambles. The dog remained warm thanks to the curls, which protected against the vegetation.

Breed Overview

Group: Sporting (AKC)

Height: 23 to 27 inches (58.4 to 68.6 centimeters)

Weight: 50 to 90 pounds (22.7 to 40.8 kilograms)

Coat and color: From the tail to the top of the head, the body has curls, and the ears, belly, thighs, feet, legs, and tail all have a feathery fringe of hair.

Life expectancy: 9 to 14 years

Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel (IWS), like many other breeds of dogs with curly hair, does water-related chores traditionally, and its double coat of curls serves to insulate it during these activities. 

A popular sports dog breed in Europe and the United States, the Irish Water Spaniel was one of the first breeds to get registration from the American Kennel Club in 1878. Some say the breed originated from the crossbreeding of a Poodle, a Barbet, and a Portuguese Water Dog.

The breed’s face and tail are the only areas of the coat that are straight and short, while the rest is curly. You should brush or comb it at least once a week, wash it every six to eight weeks, and trim it every six to eight weeks. Its maintenance is fairly straightforward.

Breed Overview

Group: Sporting (AKC)

Height: 21 to 24 inches (53.3 to 61 centimeters)

Weight: 45 to 68 pounds (20.4 to 30.8 kilograms)

Coat and color: This breed is medium to large and has a dark-brown liver color with dense, crisp, and tight dark curls; the coat on the face and tail is short and silky.

Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years


The coat of the Komondor naturally forms into long cords, earning it the Moniker of “Mop Dog” in addition to its distinctive appearance for a breed of dog with curly hair. This gives the Komondor a real one-of-a-kind appearance. As a working sheepdog, its coat protects it from harsh weather and allows it to blend in with the flocks. 

The distribution of coarse guard hairs causes this natural felting process amid the finer hairs of the undercoat, which results in the hairs becoming entangled. The Komondor’s coat requires a specific bathing routine but not brushing to maintain its health and appearance. A consistent bathing routine can help keep grime and smells at bay. 

Breed Overview

Group: Working (AKC)

Height: 26 to 28 inches (66 to 71 centimeters)

Weight: 80 pounds (36.3 kilograms) and up

Coat and color: White with cording; huge head, deep chest, and muscular body

Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Kerry Blue Terrier

The most distinguishing characteristic of the Kerry Blue Terrier is its coat, which is wavy and blue-gray. The American Kennel Club’s breed standard calls for the coat to have the following characteristics: it should be velvety, dense, and wavy. 

In contrast to several other breeds of curly-haired canines, the Kerry Blue should always be present in a neat and orderly manner. It is vital to groom a Kerry Blue Terrier consistently, brushing and combing your dog a few times a week to prevent mats from forming in its coat. 

Breed Overview

Group: Terrier (AKC)

Height: 17 to 19 inches (43.2 to 48.3 centimeters)

Weight: 30 to 40 pounds (13.6 to 18.1 kilograms)

Coat and color: Medium-sized breed with a short coat of curls that is blue-gray and soft and wavy; there is no undercoat on this breed’s coat; a bearded face with heavy eyebrows often conceals this breed’s eyes.

Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years


Poodles are likely the first breed that springs to mind when discussing canines with curly coats because of their distinctive appearance. Poodles are well-known for their distinctively curly coats and come in three different sizes: toy, miniature, and giant. 

It is well known that these canines possess a high level of intelligence and hence make wonderful companions. The standard poodle was first an excellent hunter and retriever of the game.

In the past, dog owners would trim the dog’s curls so that the tight curls would keep the dog’s critical organs and joints warm while the dog was in the cold water. The traditional Poodle cut is more about fashion than function in today’s society. 

Breed Overview

Group: Non-Sporting (AKC)

Height: 15 inches (38.1 centimeters)

Weight: 45 to 70 pounds (20.4 to 31.8 kilograms)

Coat and color: Curly, dense single-layer coats that can be any of a wide variety of solid hues, including black, gray, brown, apricot, and white.

Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog, sometimes known as the PWD, is another active and athletic dog with curly hair. Many originally trained these dogs to aid fishermen in retrieving lost tackle or even to rescue sailors who were drowning. Therefore they needed to be powerful and agile swimmers. 

Today, this breed is famous not just as a household pet but also as a participant in canine sports such as dock diving, agility, and obedience. The coat of the Portuguese Water Dog is allergy-friendly. 

Even though this breed sheds very little, you must regularly groom it. You can go with a standard clipping all over to maintain a coat length of approximately one inch or go with a “lion clip,” which means shaving the hair on the hindquarters and the muzzle down to the skin. Both options will result in a coat length of approximately one inch. 

Breed Overview

Group: Working (AKC)

Height: 17 to 23 inches (43.2 to 58.4 centimeters)

Weight: 35 to 60 pounds (15.9 to 27.2 kilograms)

Physical characteristics: Coat that is wavy or tightly curled, either black, black and white, or brown; however, the hue may also be white or silver-tipped.

Life expectancy: 11 to 13 years

Portuguese Water Dog


The Hungarian Pumi has a distinctive coat that is medium in length, and you can distinguish it by a combination of curls and waves. Additionally, the Hungarian Pumi’s hair is a blend of hair that is softer and hair that is more coarse. The Pumi’s coat is typically straight or wavy when it is first born. 

After a few months, the coat will change as the guard hairs grow, resulting in the coat’s curls. The hair on a Pumi should not have the same cording as on other Hungarian herding breeds like the Puli and the Komondor.

Hand stripping is a time-consuming process that you must use while grooming Pumis. You may shorten the length of the coat, which would alter its feel and appearance. Comb the curls once every few weeks in between trips to the groomer to maintain their appearance. 

Breed Overview

Group: Herding (AKC)

Height: 15 to 18.5 inches (38.1 to 47 centimeters)

Weight: 22 to 29 pounds (10 to 13.2 kilograms)

Coat and color: Compact body with semi-erect ears and a tail that curves over the back; wavy, curly coat that can be black, white, gray, or fawn.

Life expectancy: 12 to 13 years


The Komondor is a near relative of the curly-haired sheep-herding breed known as the Puli, which is often known as a “mop dog” due to the appearance of its coat. Some people use Puli to herd sheep. The hair of a Komondor has cordes, whereas you can maintain the fur of a Puli with codes or as a fluffier.

The Puli fur comprises a fine undercoat and coarse outer layer of guard hairs. The coat will spontaneously split into felted cords. If you choose a coat with cording, you must give it many washes. 

You will need to brush its coat every week and make occasional trips to the groomer to get it trimmed to keep its powder-puff appearance.

Breed Overview

Group: Herding (AKC)

Height: 16 to 17 inches (40.6 to 43.2 centimeters)

Weight: 25 to 35 pounds (11.3 to 15.9 kilograms)

Color and coat: The coat has natural cording and comes in black, silver, and white.

Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years

Reasons Not to Get a Curly-Haired Dog

Hip dysplasia (pain and lameness), epilepsy (seizures), and heart disease are the “Big Three” health issues that are most concerning in curlies. Then eye conditions, particularly cataracts.

Hip dysplasia is an orthopedic ailment to watch out for. 16% of the 1200 curly-coated Retrievers with hip X-rays reviewed by the Orthopedic Foundation of America were dysplastic. 

The breed is also prone to osteochondritis. In curlies, subaortic stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus are also significant causes of concern and epilepsy. At 2 to 4 years old, cataracts can start to form. 

Additionally, entropion and ectropion of the eyelids, anomalies of the eyelashes, corneal and retinal dystrophies, persisting pupillary membranes, and sporadically progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Skin irritation from allergies frequently results in bacterial skin infections (pyoderma). Follicular dysplasia is another skin condition that can affect curly-coated Retrievers. Like all deep-chested breeds, curlies are more susceptible than average to developing bloat, an emergency gastrointestinal illness.

Hypothyroidism and von Willebrand’s blood-clotting disorder are two more medical conditions that might affect curly-coated Retrievers.

What You Should Know About Dogs With Curly Hair

Some dogs have short hair, medium hair, and long hair. Double coats also exist. Many breeds do shed significantly less than others.

Curly-coated dog breeds are hypoallergenic, which indicates that they do not provoke allergic reactions in human beings. Therefore, the symptoms will be significantly less severe even if you are still sensitive to the dander of a curly hair puppy. Additionally, this will result in less hair on your floors, furniture, and clothes.

You should also give some thought to the color of your canine companion. For instance, if most of your home’s furnishings are white and you bring small black dogs with curly hair into the house, the chances are that the dogs’ hairs will be more obvious.

Are Curly-Haired Canines High Maintenance?

The curly-coated Retriever does not call for an excessive amount of grooming and care. The curls need trimming a little bit and brushing. This is not necessary regarding the shedding process. 

Curly-coated Retrievers need to participate in some form of daily activity, such as swimming or retrieving objects. In addition, if you are looking for curly-haired puppies that can live outside in temperate areas, the curly-coated Retriever is a breed suitable for your needs.

Why Do Water Dogs Have Curly Hair?

Curly dogs are often for activities in or near water, such as hunting ducks and retrieving games. These pups enjoy swimming, and their curly coats enable them to navigate the water relatively easily.

The tight coils that make up their fur help to keep moisture away from their skin. This means your canine companion can spend more time in the water before being too chilled.

How Does a Puppy Get Curly Hair?

Only a few gene variations can adequately account for the main aspects of the coat variance in dogs. Only one missense variation in the KRT71 gene, p.Arg151Trp, has a link to curly hair in dogs up to this point. 

For instance, the mutant 151 Trp gene is lacking in curly-coated Retrievers; hence, this mutation cannot account for the curly coat in all breeds. At 22 percent coverage, we sequenced the genome of a curly-coated Retriever and looked for variations in the KRT71 gene. 

Only one protein-changing mutation, absent or present in a heterozygous state in 221 control dogs of various breeds, was present in the curly-coated Retriever.

This mutation produced a frameshift and an altered and likely prolonged C-terminus. Sanger sequencing allowed us to determine that the variation is constant in a group of 125 curly-Coated Retrievers and segregating in five of the 14 other breeds with curly or wavy coats that we evaluated. 

Humans, mice, rats, cats, and dogs all have curly hair due to KRT71 variations. Demonstrations further show that particular KRT71 mutations induce alopecia. It is a strong possibility for causing a second curly hair allele in dogs based on this knowledge from other species and the projected molecular outcome of the recently discovered canine KRT71 variation. 

It might result in a somewhat different coat phenotype than the p.Arg151Trp variant previously reported, and it might have a connection to canine follicular dysplasia.

Our Final Verdict

Small curly-haired dog breeds are wonderful to consider if you’re a first-time pet owner or reside in an urban flat. They are less expensive to care for, easier to transport around than their massive counterparts, and possess enormous personalities.

Make sure you can provide for a puppy or dog and offer them a happy, healthy life before getting one, advises the animal protection organization. 

It’s crucial to consider how having a dog with long curly hair would affect your life and whether your way of life is conducive to dog ownership. No matter how much you want a puppy, it won’t be fair to them if you can’t give it your all and meet all of its demands.

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