20 Curly Haired Dog Breeds That Are Totally Gorgeous

We all have that trait we love in our canine buddies. For some, it’s the color, others are more attuned to wild looks.

Then there is our group, those who can’t resist gorgeous curly haired dog breeds. Who can blame us?

The adorable nature of these breeds makes it hard to resist. Even the small curly haired dog breeds strum the heartstrings of many as much as the larger ones.

Here’s a compilation of 20 lovely dog breeds with curly hair, including some information about them and their grooming requirments.

Our Key Findings

  • Dogs that have curly hair get it from their genes. They have some advantages besides the physical appeal.
  • Most curly haired dogs are recommended for allergy sufferers because they are hypoallergenic and shed less. While many are hard to groom, it is totally worth it.
  • These dogs with curly fur are unique in their appearance. Besides the fact that they are distinct breeds, the curls form in different ways. We have the fluffy curly haired dogs, the ones with thick hair, and even the pleasant white curly haired dog breeds.

Small Curly Haired Dog Breeds

01. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise Dog Resting on Floor
Photo: @mbriney / Unsplash

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Non-Sporting group
  • Height: 9  to 11  inches
  • Weight: 7 to 12 pounds
  • Colors: White
  • Temperament: Cheerful, playful, affectionate
  • Life expectancy: 12  to 15 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Spain, Belgium, France

The Bichon Frise is a small fluffy dog with a color like fresh snow.

It is an intelligent and lovable dog breed that was bred to be a companion, a role it has played ever since. 

Bichons are known to be intelligent, eager to please, and suitable for an apartment.

Some of them can be mischievous, so you should know how to outsmart them. 

02. Bolognese

Bolognese Dog Waiting to be Groomed

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Foundation Stock Service 
  • Height: 9 to 12 inches
  • Weight: 8 to 14 pounds
  • Colors: White 
  • Temperament: Loyal, serious, reserved
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Italy

The Bolognese is much like the Bichon Frise, which is normal given that they belong to the same Bichon family.

It is less playful than the Bichon Frise, however, preferring to be more on the introverted side. 

This doesn’t stop it from being a good companion. Its favorite place is by its owner’s side, and like other natural companions, the Bolognese doesn’t appreciate being left alone.

It can be as mischievous as its relative, so don’t let its calm nature fool you. 

03. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier Dog Breed

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Terrier Group 
  • Height: 15 to 16 inches
  • Weight: 17 to 23 pounds
  • Colors: Blue, liver, blue, sandy
  • Temperament: Intelligent, affectionate, spirited
  • Life expectancy: 14 to 16  years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: England

Do not judge the Bedlington Terrier by its size. It is a terrier at heart and behaves as a true Terrier would.

It is inquisitive and will surely let you know its opinion about something.

The Bedlington Terrier can be stubborn too, but that doesn’t mean a new pet parent can’t have one.

A prospective owner should just be ready for it. Fortunately, that’s not all there is to this breed.

It is playful, friendly with everyone (except small animals), and loves being the center of attention.

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04. Havanese

Havanese Dog Standing with Owner on Grass

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Non-Sporting group 
  • Height: 8 to 11 inches
  • Weight: 7 to 13 pounds 
  • Colors: White, black, black and tan, gray, sable
  • Temperament: Gentle, affectionate, playful
  • Life expectancy: 12  to 15 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Cuba 

The Havanese is also a member of the Bichon type and is a descendant of the Bichòn Tenerife, a breed that is now extinct.

Havanese come in more colors than the Bichon Frise and the Bolognese Dog but plays the same role—companionship.

The Havanese is termed a Velcro dog because of how it sticks close to its owner.

It can’t cope with isolation, so it is best for someone who doesn’t have a demanding job.

05. Toy Poodles

White Toy Poodle Resting on Grass Smiling

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Toy Group
  • Height: not more than 10  inches
  • Weight: 6 to 9 pounds
  • Colors: Black, blue, white, gray
  • Temperament: Loving, loyal, intelligent
  • Life expectancy: 12  to 15 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: France, Germany

Poodles are one of the first dogs people would think of when considering what dog breeds have curly hair.

The Toy Poodle is the smallest recognized size, but is not a distinct breed of its own. The toy size was bred mainly for companionship, unlike the bigger ones. 

Toy Poodles are intelligent, famous, and well-loved. Though it is more of a decor pet than other sizes, don’t assume that the Toy Poodle is dumb.

It is one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. 

06. Pumi

White Hungarian Pumi Dog Standing on Grass

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Herding Group
  • Height: 15  to 19 inches
  • Weight: 22 to 29 pounds
  • Colors: Black, fawn, gray
  • Temperament: Intelligent, lively, active
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 13 years
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Origin: Hungary

The Pumi is a descendant of a dreadlocked herding dog called the Puli.

It got recognized by the American Kennel Club as early as 2016, and as yet still lacks in popularity.

However, many prefer it to its ancestor the Puli, especially first-timers. 

Pumi does well as a companion. It is loving and friendly with its family, though it can be cautious of strangers. It is also loyal, devoted, and easy to train. 

Medium Dog Breeds with Curly Hair

07. Lagotto Romagnolo

Orange and White Lagotto Romagnolo Dog Standing on Grass with Flowers

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Sporting Group
  • Height: 14 to 19 inches
  • Weight: 24 to 35 pounds
  • Colors: Brown, orange, off-white
  • Temperament: Loving, loyal, active 
  • Life expectancy: 14 to 17 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Italy

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an old dog breed but is currently rare in the United States.

There is hope for it, however, as it has full recognition of the American Kennel Club. We might be getting an improvement as years go by.

Lagotto was bred to be a water retriever but has found its way into the homes of the few that can afford it.

It needs a lot of exercise and thrives when it is allowed to swim occasionally. 

08. American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel Facts and Dog Breed Information

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Sporting Group
  • Height: 15  to 18 inches
  • Weight: 25  to 45  pounds
  • Colors: Liver, brown, dark chocolate
  • Temperament: Lively, alert, obedient
  • Life expectancy:  12 to 15 years
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Origin: United States

Just like the Lagotto Romagnolo, the American Water Spaniel was developed to work in water as a retriever.

It is currently also as rare as the Lagotto, with only a few puppies being borne each year. 

The American Water Spaniel is an obedient, friendly, and alert dog breed. It can be stubborn though, especially when badly trained.

This breed is more suitable for an experienced owner. 

09. Barbet

Adult Barbet Dog with Curly Hair Covering Face

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Sporting Group
  • Height: 20 to 25 inches
  • Weight: 37  to 62 pounds
  • Colors: Black, brown, gray
  • Temperament: Intelligent, joyful, obedient
  • Life expectancy: 13 to 15 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: France

Barbet is a relative of the Poodle and the Briard, both of which have ties to France.

With only an estimate of 300 left worldwide, the Barbet is a rare dog breed and close to extinction. 

That said, the Barbet is known to be intelligent and lively, much like its relatives. It is an agile breed and is highly esteemed for that trait in France.

As a water retriever, having enough physical activity is essential. 

10. Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog Sitting on Log Looking Aside

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Herding Group
  • Height: 16 to 20 inches
  • Weight: 31 to 49 pounds
  • Colors: Black, brown, black, and white
  • Temperament: Playful, loyal, affectionate
  • Life expectancy:  12 to 14 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Spain 

The Spanish Water Dog may seem to play the same role as the American Water Spaniel and the Lagotto, but that is not the case.

According to the AKC, this breed is a herder, not a sporting dog. While it can get in the water, its role was to herd. 

This breed looks a lot like the Poodle and the Lagotto, another reason why we made the above distinction.

The Spanish Water Dog makes a good family dog and can be easy to train, but needs a firm owner. 

11. Kerry Blue Terrier

Cute Kerry Blue Terrier Dog Standing on Grass at Dog Park

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Terrier Group
  • Height: 17 to 19 inches
  • Weight: 33 to 40 pounds
  • Colors: Black, grey, silver
  • Temperament: Affectionate, loyal, alert
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Ireland

The Kerry Blue Terrier has an interesting name. It was named after its birth county where it started out hunting small game and guarding property.

After that, it herded sheep and cattle. It has since become a companion to owners that can handle its Terrier nature. 

Kerry Blue is a hard worker, having had that drilled into it from the start. It needs a lot of exercise so it won’t get bored and try to find other ways to ‘work’.

Big Curly Haired Dog Breeds

12. Portuguese Water Dog

Large Portuguese Water Dog at Dog Park

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Working Dog
  • Height: 20 to 23 inches
  • Weight: 42 to 60 pounds
  • Colors: Black, white, brown
  • Temperament: Brave, intelligent, docile 
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 14  years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Portugal

The Portuguese Water Dog is our first large curly-haired dog breed with an impressive 60 pounds of weight.

While that is not enough to make it a giant, it is big enough to make someone hesitate. 

Before it became a family dog, the Portuguese Water Dog worked with fishermen to retrieve fish and gear.

It hardly plays that role today and is a rather good addition to many homes. 

13. Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier Dog Standing Near Toy Outdoor

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Terrier Group 
  • Height: 21  to 23 inches
  • Weight: 40 to 65 pounds
  • Colors: Black and tan 
  • Temperament: Outgoing, confident, alert
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 13 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: United Kingdom

Under the AKC’s terrier group, the Airedale Terrier is considered the biggest of all. It was dubbed “King of Terriers” for that reason.

The Airedale was bred to be a hunter, but it did more than that. This breed left its mark in World War 1 after an Airedale named Jack risked his life to save his battalion.

The Airedale Terrier loves to work and is an independent thinker. That and its size makes it more ideal for an active, experienced owner.

This breed isn’t a total workaholic, though. It still loves to play and goof around. 

14. Curly-Coated Retriever

Black Curly-Coated Retriever at Dog Park

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Sporting Group
  • Height: 23 to 27 inches
  • Weight: 65 to 100 pounds
  • Colors: Black, liver 
  • Temperament: Intelligent, lively, clever 
  • Life expectancy:  9 to 12 years
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Origin: United Kingdom

Early breeders of the Curly-Coated Retriever might have been enamored by the curly hair of this breed, enough to add it up to the name. We would never know, but the name fits the breed perfectly. 

The Curly-Coated Retriever has been around for so long, its history got blurry.

We do know that it was a retriever turned companion and that it is independent, self-confident, and loving. Its coat is easier to groom than it looks.

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15. Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des Flandres Dog Posing on Grass

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Herding Group
  • Height: 23 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 70  to 100 pounds
  • Colors: Fawn, black, brindle, salt, and pepper
  • Temperament: Protective, intelligent, strong-willed
  • Life expectancy:  10 to 12 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Belgium

The Bouvier was bred in Flanders, as its name points out. Bouvier des Flandres translates as “Cow Herders of Flanders”.

True to the name, this breed was a herder and worked on farms driving cattle, herding sheep, and pulling carts.

These days, the Bouvier works with law enforcement and is also a companion. It has a strong guardian instinct and makes a good guard dog.

16. Berger Picard

Berger Picard Dog Sitting Near Grass
Photo: Wikimedia

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Herding Group
  • Height: 21  to 25 inches
  • Weight: 50 to 70 pounds
  • Colors: Fawn, gray, blue, red 
  • Temperament: Assertive, intelligent, stubborn
  • Life expectancy: 13 to 14 years
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Origin: France 

Also called the Picardy Shepherd, the Berger Picard was developed to be a sheepdog and is considered one of the oldest sheepdogs in France.

Sadly, it has dropped in number and is now a rare breed. Finding one as a prospective pet parent would be difficult.

That said if you’re lucky to get one, expect a lot of fun moments with this breed.

It is also easy to train and can be a good first-time dog, but the owner should know how to handle its stubbornness.

17. Poodle (standard)

Golden Standard Poodle in Full Standing Height

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Non-Sporting Group
  • Height: 10 to 22 inches
  • Weight: 45  to 70 pounds
  • Colors: Blue, black, white 
  • Temperament: Intelligent, faithful, active
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: France, Germany

Remember the Toy Poodle? Here is its bigger version. The standard Poodle was bred to be a retriever, far from the current classy image we have of it.

It remains a worker even with the fanciful haircut we give it, and it needs a lot of exercise. 

The Poodle is highly intelligent, trainable, and stays loyal to its family. 

18. Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel Standing on Grass

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Sporting Group 
  • Height: 22 to 24 inches
  • Weight: 45  to 60 pounds
  • Colors: Liver
  • Temperament: Alert, reserved, intelligent 
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Ireland

The Irish Water Spaniel closely resembles the Poodle, and because it is less popular some people can’t tell the difference.

However, those who know this breed can easily tell the difference. Both breeds played the same role, that of retrieving. 

This is a funny and playful breed but isn’t too welcoming of strangers. It is intelligent and active, a combination that calls for physical and mental activities. You’d have to deal with its mischievous streak now and then.  

19. Labradoodle

Chocolate Labradoodle Standing on Green Grass at Park

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: Not recognized
  • Height: 21 to 24 inches
  • Weight: 50 to 65 pounds
  • Colors: Gold, caramel, apricot
  • Temperament: Friendly, outgoing, playful
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Origin: Australia

The Labradoodle is a cross between the most popular dog breed Labrador Retriever and the Poodle.

Because of the Poodle genes, it gets a curly coat. This isn’t universal to all Labradoodles, though, but you should be able to tell when you see the puppy. 

Both parents have wonderful temperaments, and the offspring gets the best of both worlds as well. Intelligence, friendliness, and affection are some examples. 

20. Gordon Setter

Gordon Setter Dog Standing Pointy on Grass

Breed Overview

  • AKC Group: 
  • Height: 23 to 27 inches
  • Weight: 45 to 80 pounds
  • Colors: Black and tan
  • Temperament: Confident, eager, loyal 
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Origin: Great Britain

The Gordon Setter is the last curly fur dog breeds on our list, and it was bred to be a hunter before it became a household pet. It still accompanies hunters today but is now more of a family dog. 

Gordon is loyal and devoted to its family but reserved towards strangers. For this reason, it makes a good watchdog.

It is also wilful and stubborn, which can become a problem for the inexperienced. Hence, the Gordon Setter needs firm training. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What breed of dog has curly hair?

Many dog breeds are known to have curly hair. They come in different sizes and have different personalities, but curly hair is present. The Curly-Coated Retriever is one such breeds, and it was even named after the hair. 

What are curly dogs called?

There is no general name for curly dogs as it is not a breed or even a stringent dog type. It simply regroups all dog breeds with a particular hairdo.

Do curly-haired dogs shed?

Although many curly-haired dogs have full coats, they tend to be low shedders. A lot of them are considered hypoallergenic, thanks to this. 

Conclusion

As you might have noticed, grooming is essential when you want to own a curly-haired dog breed.

They have high grooming needs, and getting a professional groomer is a good idea to avoid spending hours on your dog’s coat. 

Besides that, know which one fits your lifestyle and level of experience better. Not every dog here can be for you. Fortunately, you have many options.

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Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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