Types of Dogs With Curly Hair

By Slone Wayking

A head full of curls can often make a person stand out in a crowd; this is especially true when it comes to our canine friends. Although the terms wavy coat and curly coat are sometimes used synonymously, there is a defining difference. Wavy is continuous waves across the coat. Whereas curly is a coat made up of cylindrical compact curls. Regardless of the specifics, these eye-catching breeds are a standout among the crowd.

Poodle and Bichon Frisè

A Bichon Frise laying on a wooden bench.

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Although poodles originated in Germany and are regarded as the national dog of France, their easy temperament and high intelligence make them one of the most popular breeds in the United States. They're considered a nonworking breed, and their curly coats are naturally hypoallergenic. Another popular curly top is the bichon frisè. Frisè is a French word for curly. The breed was a favorite among French royals for their lap dog qualities. Their fluffy white coat makes them easily recognizable, and their charismatic personality makes them a loved and pampered family pet today.

Irish Water Spaniel and Portuguese Water Dog

A small Portuguese Water Dog walking around in a field.

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As the name implies, Irish water spaniels originated in Ireland. Although an Irish spaniel’s coat is similar in texture to that of a poodle, the growth pattern has distinctive characteristics. The tail, often referred to as a “rat-tail” is smooth and void of long hair growth. The hair on the face is also smooth, and unlike a poodle does not require shaving. Portuguese water dogs are a working breed. For centuries they have been revered by Portugal’s fishermen for their diving and swimming abilities. Their densely thick coat comes in curly and wavy varieties. Both types are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Curly Coated Retriever and Airedale Terrier

An Airedale Terrier playing with toy on grass field.

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Although the exact origin of curly coated retrievers is unclear, this breed is believed to be one of the oldest in the retriever lineage. They are a popular hunting dog used by both land and water hunters. Their coat is made up of tight, water resistant curls. This makes them ideal for hunting through heavy thicket or cold waters. Airedales are known as the “king of terriers.” They originated in Great Britain and were used to chase badgers and otters into the water. They have a wavy to curly coat that is wiry to the touch. Their thick double coat rarely sheds but requires regular brushing.

Hungarian Puli

A curly haird Hungarian Puli on grass field.

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No curly haired list would be complete without mentioning the impressive Hungarian puli. Bred in Hungary for sheep herding, their hair is often referred to as “mop-like” or similar to a shag rug. Their undercoat is wooly, while their topcoat is course and wavy causing their hair to grow into long ringlet cords if not brushed. The length of these cords can reach the ground within five years. If these cords are allowed to grow, heavy maintenance is required to prevent severe matting and eventual health problems.