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Brown curly hair dog side profile

Looking to bring home a canine with curly locks? Dogs with curly hair are among the most popular dog breeds, largely because their twists and waves often promise less shedding, making them a prime option for allergy sufferers desperate for some puppy love. Curly-haired breeds are also known to withstand cold weather better than some others.

Explore our list of some beloved curly-haired dog breeds to kick off your search.

1. Poodle

The curly-haired poodle hails from Germany and is beloved for being a great non-shedding option for owners with allergies. Poodle coats are typically dense and may be one of several solid colors, including white, black, brown, gray, and apricot. Depending on how long you want to keep your poodle’s fluffy coat, grooming could make this breed rather high maintenance. The breed also comes in three different sizes for owners of all types – the toy poodle, miniature poodle, and standard poodle.

The standard poodle is often bred with other breeds to create increasingly popular hybrid dogs. Common examples include golden retrievers (goldendoodle), Australian shepherds (Aussiedoodle), labrador retrievers (labradoodle), Cavalier King Charles spaniels (Cavapoo), and others. These hybrid breeds often end up with their own unique wavy or curly coat types.

White poodle walking through long grass

Facts about the poodle

  • Breed groupNon-Sporting Group (standard and miniature), Toy Group (toy) (American Kennel Club)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Above average
  • Lifespan — 10-18 years

2. Portuguese water dog

Want an active, curly-haired pup to join you for your next swim? The PWD has a special water-repellent coat, webbed feet, and a rudder-like tail, making it the ultimate, well, water dog. While there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, these intelligent dogs are considered a good choice for allergy sufferers as they hardly shed.

But, their curly fur rarely stops growing, so be sure to budget time and money for grooming. According to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, these pups typically have curly or wavy hair, and two common haircuts are the retriever clip and the lion clip.

Portuguese water dog lying on a bed

Facts about the Portuguese water dog

  • Breed groupWorking Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 11-13 years

3. Airedale terrier

The Airedale terrier dons wiry, tight curls and is another low-shedding, relatively low-maintenance breed. These medium-sized dogs hail from England and are typically black and tan, with occasional red mixed into the black. They were originally bred to be police and service dogs in both England and Germany due to their high intelligence and strong scenting abilities.

When it comes to grooming their curls, get your Airedale terrier used to the sensation of a steel pin or bristle brush early on, because they’ll need grooming at least once a week and regular trimmings to keep their coats nicely brushed and maintained.

Airedale terrier standing in the grass

Facts about the Airedale terrier

  • Breed groupTerrier Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderate
  • Lifespan — 10-13 years

4. Bichon frisé

The adorable, playful bichon frisé packs a lot of pep in its tiny body, and is a great choice for dog lovers looking for a small curly haired dog breed. Beloved for their affectionate personalities, these canines thrive on companionship, so a home where they’re not left alone too often is best for this breed.

They have a long, soft, and curly double coat that’s typically all white, but it’s not unusual to see bichons with some apricot, buff, and cream. Be prepared to brush these dogs at least three times a week to keep them free of mats and tangles.

Bichon frisé laying on the floor.

Facts about the bichon frisé

5. Bedlington terrier

The playful and energetic Bedlington terrier has a unique look among curly dog breeds, with a soft, lamb-like double coat and a unique domed skull. You’ll also notice a traditional patch of fur atop its head, known as a topknot. When it comes to grooming this breed’s curly coat, be sure to brush weekly using a pin brush and comb to prevent mats and tangles.

Bedlington terrier lying down

Facts about the Bedlington terrier

  • Breed groupTerrier Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Frequent
  • Lifespan — 11-14 years

6. Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo dons a coarse, curly and water-resistant coat that looks and acts like human hair. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect grooming these amazing canines uniquely bred for the task of truffle hunting. According to the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America, it’s best to keep the coat trimmed at a length of about 1-1.5 inches and bathe your pup no more than once a month.

A Lagotto Romagnolo walking in the woods.

Facts about the Lagotto Romagnolo

  • Breed groupSporting Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 15-17 years

7. Spanish water dog

With a medium-length coat of wooly curls, the relatively low-shedding Spanish water dog is another fantastic addition to any allergy-prone family. This ancient breed, believed to have originated in either Spanish- or Turkish-occupied North Africa, is beloved for its cheerful and active personality, but don’t be fooled by the lack of shedding.

Grooming maintenance for the SWD is no joke. You’ll want to avoid brushing out the curls, but clippers are a must. And when it comes to your pup’s cords, it’s best to find a professional groomer with experience clipping the breed.

Spanish water dog running

Facts about the Spanish water dog

  • Breed groupHerding Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderate
  • Lifespan — 12-14 years

8. Cocker spaniel

Technically, the cocker spaniel’s coat is more wavy than curly, but who are we to judge? With silky, luxurious locks, the breed can come in various colors, and the base colors associated with cocker spaniels include liver, red, brown and black. These dogs are playful, pack a lot of energy and are total defenders, but they’re also known as being even-tempered and sweet with young children and other pets.

To groom your cocker spaniel, weekly upkeep and maintenance is a must. Note that these dogs are not considered hypoallergenic and shedding is not unusual.

English cocker spaniel walking through a yard.

Facts about the cocker spaniel

  • Breed groupSporting Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary or afraid
  • Lifespan — 12-15 years

9. Puli

With a long, unique, corded double coat, the Hungarian puli might leave you confused when it comes to its grooming needs. You won’t have to worry about giving your pup’s coat special attention until it’s around 8-10 months old, after which you should start checking their newly-forming cords (also called dreadlocks) to ensure they remain clean and separated from each other.

To separate cords, gently pull the soft clumps apart with your fingers. Dogs with corded fur like the puli don’t need to be brushed at all once their dreadlocks are formed, but when the whole coat has developed, bathe when necessary and regularly check for cord clumps to prevent matting.

Hungarian Puli dog

Facts about the puli

  • Breed groupHerding Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderate
  • Lifespan — 10-15 years

10. Pumi

The pumi, which was originally bred as a sheepherder in Hungary, has a coat of corkscrew curls and a personality full of playfulness, but that doesn’t mean these dogs don’t make for great work- and watchdogs. Though pumis don’t shed, you’ll need to comb your pup every three to six weeks and wet its curls before allowing them to air-dry and curl up naturally.

Pumi dog

Photo: Caronna (Wikipedia.org)

Facts about the pumi

  • Breed groupHerding Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderate
  • Lifespan — 12-13 years

11. Bolognese

This adorable, easy-going Italian dog breed is the ideal lap dog companion, especially for owners with allergies looking for a couch buddy. When it comes to grooming their long and wavy coats, the non-shedding Bolognese requires a brush a few times a week and trims every few months to keep mats and tangles away.

Low-energy dog breed, the Bolognese

Facts about the Bolognese

12. Barbet

This highly trainable and friendly French water dog with its long, wooly coat is aptly named. In fact, the barbet’s breed name comes from the French word barbe, meaning “beard.” Barbets are known to be great with children and seniors, and they will want to be wherever you are. Regular grooming to avoid matting and hair loss is a must for this curly-coated breed.

Barbet dog at a dog show

Facts about the barbet

  • Breed groupSporting Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence —High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 12-14 years

13. Curly-coated retriever

Originally bred in England for bird and waterfowl hunting, the poised and clever curly-coated retriever (nicknamed the “curly”) is distinguishable by its tight black or reddish brown, water-resistant curls that can withstand cold water and thick underbrush on the hunt. Notoriously graceful, curlies can be just as affectionate as other retrievers, but they also enjoy their independence. Expect shedding every six months or so, especially from female curlies.

When it comes to grooming your curly coated retriever, use a rake-style grooming tool with metal prongs to remove any dead hair before trimming as needed. Brushing isn’t typical for curlies as it produces frizz, so it’s best to stick to an air-dry routine to bring out your pup’s natural curls. Similar in size and temperament to the Labrador retriever, the curly is a great option for potential pet parents.

Curly coated retriever

Photo: Mattias Agar, Flickr

Facts about the curly-coated retriever

  • Breed groupSporting Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderate
  • Lifespan — 10-12 years

14. Irish water spaniel

The Irish water spaniel is known as the clown of the spaniel family for its playful personality, but it is also a stellar retriever and guardian when properly trained. The breed has a unique waterproof coat of tight curls that requires brushing at least three times a week to prevent mats and tangles. Start grooming as a puppy to get your spaniel used to a positive experience.

Irish water spaniel in a field

Facts about the Irish water spaniel

  • Breed groupSporting Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — Average
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 12-13 years

15. Kerry blue terrier

The high-alert bearded Kerry blue terrier is known for being extremely affectionate with their humans, but when it comes to having other pet playmates, early socialization and training is key. This breed has a soft, dense, medium-length, wavy coat that needs weekly brushing and combing to avoid matting. A full groom, preferably by a professional, is recommended every six to eight weeks for maintenance.

Kerry blue terrier

Facts about the Kerry blue terrier

  • Breed groupTerrier Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderate
  • Lifespan — 12-15 years

16. Komondor

The large, mop-headed komondor, bred in Hungary for guarding livestock, makes for the ultimate protector. These dogs are gentle and absolutely love their people, but without proper socialization, they can be wary of strangers and other dogs. It’s best to start exposing a komondor to new sights, sounds and people when they’re young.

When it comes to grooming your long-haired kom, you can use your fingers to separate its cords or grab a wide-toothed comb to help keep them tangle-free.

Komondor dog resting on grass

Facts about the Komondor

  • Breed groupWorking Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Infrequent
  • Lifespan — 10-12 years

17. American water spaniel

Native to the United States, the obedient and trainable American water spaniel, Wisconsin’s official state dog, is a natural-born swimmer and hunter that absolutely loves adventure. If you’re an adrenaline junkie yourself, and love giving your dog lots of daily exercise, consider this curly-haired breed as an addition to your family.

American water spaniels don distinct, typically brown curls and thick double coats. Though these curly dogs don’t shed much, brushing two to three times a week to remove dead hair and prevent matting is highly recommended.

American water spaniel

Facts about the American water spaniel

  • Breed groupSporting Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderate
  • Lifespan — 10-14 years

Are all curly-haired dogs hypoallergenic?

The fact is that no breed of dog is truly hypoallergenic. However, many of the curly-coated dog breeds in this list shed less and produce less dander than others, making them a good idea for potential pet owners with dog allergies or sensitivities.