Curly Haired Dog Breeds: Small vs Big Curly Haired Dog? Which is the Perfect Choice for You?

Who can resist the cute looking dogs with stunningly beautiful curls? It is attractive for many dog enthusiasts to stroke those curls, and why not, they are soft and smooth to the touch. But did you know that genes play an enormous part in those curls? Don’t you know that those curls are actually a form of genetic mutation?

The Cu Locus or curly hair is brought about by DNA variant KRT171 gene. This gene stops keratin ( a major component of hair) from joining together in a normal pattern which changes the hair’s structure that results in curly hair.

Curly hairs in dogs, like wooly curls, wavy curls, spiral curls, etc., come in a variety of texture. This article will assist you to find out which breed is the ideal option for you if you explore the possibility of having one of the curly-haired animals. It will also assist you to choose between small and big curly-haired dogs by briefly discussing the curly-haired dog’s temperament.

List of Big Curly Haired Dogs:

1) Portuguese Water Dog:

  • A medium-sized working dog with a weight of up to 35 to 60 pounds, about 22 inches (Males) and 20 inches (Females). This curly dog breed is energetic and needs a regular workout of an average of 30 minutes. It enjoys swimming and can be a nice friend for jogging / running as well.
  • The Portuguese water dog breed can be a great addition to the family as it is good and tolerant to children. It is cautious to strangers, and as such, it can be a good guard dog.
  • It doesn’t shed heavily, but it doesn’t mean it’s hypoallergenic absolutely. It may be susceptible to allergies, so you need to look for indications like skin redness. While it may be a challenge to do so due to curly hair, it is suggested that periodic skin inspection be done.
  • Trivia: President Barrack Obama and his family-owned two Portuguese water dogs named Bo and Sunny.

2) Curly Coated Retriever:

  • A large sporting dog with a weight of between 65 and 100 pounds that can grow up to 27 inches (Males) and 25 inches (Females). This is one of the very vigorous curly hairy dogs. Do expect it to do something naughty around the house if you don’t offer it at least 30 minutes of practice. It’s mouthy, meaning that when it’s bored it will chew and nip on anything.
  • This dog breed is not recommended for new dog owners as it can pretty much be an independent-thinker or stubborn personality.
  • If you have allergies, this is not the right large curly-haired dog for you. It has oily skin, and this can cause allergic reactions to susceptible persons.

3)  Black Russian Terrier:

  • A working dog which stands an average of 28 inches (Males) and 27 inches (Females). This dog was developed to be a “boss”. It is imposing and massive in size. It can weigh up to 130 pounds. This dog breed used to work side by side with the military of the former Soviet Union.
  • An experienced dog owner will take the best care of this dog. It’s stubborn and bossy. Remember that this was bred to work with former army staff in the Soviet Union, which implies they are very intelligent and vigorous, and they want to be in charge! So it will dominate you if you don’t have a strong character.
  • If trained well, it is an excellent family member and will protect its ‘pack’ courageously.

4)  Barbet Dog:

  • A curly haired, 26-inch (Males) and 24-inch (Females) sporting dog. A cousin of Poodle and Briard, this French water dog can weigh up to 62 pounds. It does not shed, but it can be a magnet for debris with its wooly and curly hair.
  • This is also known as a ‘mud dog’ because of its love for playing in the mud. So if you are a clean-freak person, the Barbet curly-haired dog is not right for you.
  • This is one of the rare dogs around the globe, so no wonder it is a very expensive dog with prices ranging from $2,500.00 and up, depending on the breeder.

5)  Murray River Curly Coated Retriever:

  • A large-sized curly duck hunting dog which stands an average of 24 inches for both males and females and can weigh up to 60 pounds.
  • A highly energetic large curly-haired dog that needs an hour of vigorous workout daily.
  • Living with it is usually peaceful and can also be great with kids. This breed of dogs can be an issue if you have small pets as it tends to hunt smaller and moving animals. Because of its curious nature, it is also susceptible to snakebites. It is recommended to undergo training sessions on snake avoidance as a puppy.
  • Trivia: This dog originated in Australia, thus the name Murray River where snakes are abundant.

6)  Irish Water Spaniel:

  • Stands an average of 24 inches for both sexes and may weigh up to 55 pounds.
  • It has a headstrong demeanor so new dog owners should not handle it. It has an adventurous streak in it and an impulse for wandering around and exploring new areas. Therefore, training it to come back to you at your command is essential. Otherwise, it’s a loving and affectionate dog.

List of Small Curly Haired Dogs:

1) Bichon Frise:

  • Standing at 10 to 12 inches and weighing 12 pounds on average, this is one of the cutest small curly-haired dogs. It comes in the color of apricot white and light. Because it sheds minimally, it is a hypoallergenic dog. Regular grooming, however, is necessary because its curly hair tends to mat.
  • This is a very affectionate and playful dog that gets along with people and pets so well. Bichon Frise is not an aggressive dog and would love to be the focus of attention at all times. This dog is always pleased having one will undoubtedly make the day bright and sunny for everyone.
  • Though it is easy to train, but it is notorious for being difficult to housebreak.
  • Although small in size, it is quite vigorous and would love to play with its owners. You don’t have to pull it out for a stroll. In fact, there are enough indoor exercises like fetching and rope pulling for this adorable little bundle of joy.

2)  Pumi:

  • A curly-haired dog with a height of up to 18 inches and a weight of up to 32 pounds. This is a Hungarian herding breed. This is often used as a guard dog, a sheepdog, and a hunting dog in many tasks.
  • This dog breed is not just a working dog but a great family pet, as well. It is gentle with almost everyone, including the kid and elderly.
  • If you are looking for a small to a medium-sized curly dog that is very protective, then this is the one for you. It has a knack for barking in order to alert its owners of strangers.
  • A Pumi dog is not for couch potato owners. You should provide it with physical operations, preferably outdoors, to make it happy. In fact, as a guard dog for livestock, this curly dog breed is ideal for people living in rural areas.

3)  Bolognese:

  • A male Bolognese dog will grow up to 12 inches while a female will grow up to 11 inches.
  • This is a comical, loyal, and dedicated companion dog to its owners. This is strongly linked to Bichon Frise and as such, it has many attributes of character, such as the need to always be part of the activities of its owner.
  • Unlike a Bichon Frise, this small curly-haired dog is not energetic, perfect for a couch potato out there!

4)  Toy Poodle:

  • No one can dispute that when it comes to intelligence, Poodle is one of the best. It is easy to train and can be a well-behaved companion for the family.
  • A toy poodle is the smallest in the line of Poodle curly dog breed. It grows up to 10 inches in height and weighs between 6 and 9 pounds only.
  • It is a sensitive breed of dogs that can read the body language of its owner. That’s why it can anticipate orders and will already execute those orders before you say it. However, a Poodle can be snappy and even territorial due to its high sensitivity characteristic.

5)  Bedlington Terrier:

  • A male Bedlington Terrier can grow up to 17 inches while the female can grow up to 16 inches. Because of its curly hair, it looks like a lamb. Although it resembles a lamb physically, it is not as meek as a lamb. But this dog breed can be integrated into a family with adequate and early training.
  • It has a two-sided personality like it is nice and affectionate to its owner. But if it feels threatened, it can effectively kill other animals, it can be nasty and aggressive. If you want to own a Bedlington Terrier, there shouldn’t be other animals in the house.

Coat Care for Curly Haired Dogs:

What’s good about curly-haired dogs is that they are low shedders which means they are suitable for people with allergies and are suitable for people who don’t have time every day for home cleaning. But curly-haired dogs are no exception to coat matting, which is why periodic grooming is needed.

As much as possible, brush or comb your dog’s coat at least three times a week. Here is the proper way of doing it:

  1. Do not just brush the upper layer but rather brush until the skin area. Use a slicker brush like Paw Brothers Extra Long Hard Pin Slicker Brush. Brush from the root of the hair until its tip.
  2. Check for tangles all the time. The earlier you untangle, the less chance it is more difficult to remove because it will become bigger. Use a detaching comb for dogs this time, such as Safari De-Matting Comb. You can remove the tangles by using a scissor, but you will be careful not to cut the skin of your dog. Try the Set of Scissors from BOSHEL Dog Grooming.
  3. If you can control your dog from moving too much, you can carefully trim the curly hair around its eyes, ear area, mouth, rectal area, and paws.
  4. You can bathe your dog every other week depends on your dog’s lifestyle and your discretion.  Apply a leave-in conditioner like Lillian Ruff- Pet Dog Leave-in Conditioner & Detangler Treatment Spray for nice looking and soft curly hairs after shampooing your pooch. 
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