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17 Dog Breeds With Curly Hair: Cute & Curly Canines!

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Breeds By Rachel Team 22 min read March 4, 2021

Puli have white hair

So, you’ve finally decided to bring on a new four-footed family member.  

But there are so many adorable doggos to choose from, where do you begin? How will you decide? Well, let’s start with their physical appearance – more specifically – their magnificent manes. 

Whether you prefer a dog with silky, coarse, long, or short hair, the options are endless. You can even choose between straight and curly-haired pups. 

As a curly haired gal myself, I am quite drawn to the breeds with looping locks. Hey – it’s been said that with time, dogs start to resemble their owners. Any curly haired puppy of mine would be halfway there! 

Below, we’ll share some of the most notable curly-haired dog breeds and tell you a little about each. This way, you can determine which one would be the best to add to your family!

17 Dog Breeds with Curly Hair: Cute & Curly Canines!

Lots of breeds have curly hair, but we’ve gathered a few of our favorites here. Just be sure that you consider all aspects of a given breed (including personality, energy level, and size, among other things) before making your choice.  

1. Poodle 

poodles have curly hair

Poodles are often the first breed people think of when picturing a curly haired dog. Their elegant, kinky locks aren’t their only selling point, though. 

For starters, there are different types of poodles that come in different sizes, and they are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal to their families too. They’re also good with kiddos, so they’re a great choice for families with small children. 

And if you have a flair for all things fabulous, there are many different hairstyles your poodle can wear. Not only will she show them off proudly, but she will also rock them like the diva she is!

Another great reason to own a poodle, especially if you have dog allergies, is that they don’t shed much. Their low potential for shedding is also why doodles and other poodle mixes are so incredibly popular.

So, don’t be afraid to have a “doggie date” cuddled up on the couch with a blanket, a bowl of popcorn, some puppy treats, and your favorite television streaming service. Your poodle will love it as much as you do.  

2. Bichon Frise

bichons have curly hair

If you’re drawn to smaller dogs, the bichon frise (with its white, fluffy, soft curls) might be the perfect fit for you.  

Bichon frises are energetic, loving, happy, and playful. And not unlike poodles, they’re a great choice for families with children. They’re also an ideal dog breed for apartment dwellers who don’t have as much space to offer their new pet companion — bichons tend to settle into apartment life with ease. 

And if you’re a first-time dog owner, the bichon frise is a great option for you. They are friendly with strangers, easy to groom, and easy to train. Don’t like droolers? Don’t like barkers? Well, look no further. You may have just found the pup you’re looking for.

3. Portuguese Water Dog

portuguese water dogs have curly hair

When many people think of the Portuguese water dog, they’re reminded of Bo Obama — the former First Dog of the United States. As a perfect specimen of his breed, we can see just why these dogs make great family members.

For a medium-sized dog, the Portuguese water dog stands tall and proud. He is friendly with people, other pups, and he loves his family – although he certainly appreciates some time focusing on a good chew toy.

Even with all of his thick hair, he’s a breed that can tolerate hot or cold climates, so he makes a great pupper for people living just about anywhere. 

And speaking of hair, this breed is not known for shedding much. So, your floors will be happy to get plenty of time between vacuums. And so will you!

But on those hot days, make sure you let him splish-splash from time to time — Portuguese water dogs love to swim. His webbed feet allow him to paddle around for long periods of time, which will help maintain that powerful physique.

Plus, he’ll just have a blast, and that’s always important!

This breed can get a bit “mouthy” at times (and no, not the way your children are). So, when playing with Sir-Nips-A-Lot, keep a few durable chew toys close, and use them to redirect his mouthy behavior when he is feeling feisty. 

4. Airedale Terrier

Airedale terriers have curly hair

While the Airedale terrier can be a terrific companion, he can definitely be a bit of a hand full. In fact, the Airedale, not unlike other terriers, is a little “ruff” around the edges. Known as the “King of the Terriers,” they are the largest terrier in the world.

Having a fenced-in yard for this terrier is definitely recommended. You’ll want to make sure they have plenty of room to play and release all of their inner energy. If you don’t, their predisposition for digging up treasures and running amuck will keep you busy cleaning your home. 

But as long as you are prepared for a high energy pup, the Airedale can make a rewarding companion. They live to please their owners and are fairly easy to train – not to mention, they are extremely loyal and loving toward their families. They have a high prey drive, so watch them around other animals.

With all that said, the Airedale terrier is great for dog owners who have a bit of experience with canines.

5. Pumi

Pumik have curly hair

Pumik (the plural of pumi) are small-to-medium-sized livestock guarding dogs, who were initially bred to gather and guard sheep and other floofy farm animals.

While their thick, curly hair often comes in white or tan, they’re usually grey. Their coarse overcoat coupled with their soft undercoat helps keep them warm in extreme weather conditions, and also makes them look a little bigger than they actually are.

Pumik have a lot of great qualities that will make them ideal companions for the right family. They are very protective of their peeps, and they are a vocal, expressive breed, who often has a lot to “say.”

While they can be suspicious of strangers, they aren’t aggressive or overly shy. One could say they have the perfect mix of skepticism and love.

Like most herding dogs, you’ll want to start socializing your pumi pretty early on. They have a lot of energy, so long walks and trips to the dog park can help alleviate some of that spunk to ensure a tuckered-out pooch at bedtime.

And since they are usually great with children, you can feel completely safe having the kiddos exercise your pup if you’re too tired after a long day of work. 

6. Curly Coated Retriever

Curly coated retrievers have beautiful coats

Curly coated retrievers, with their long, lean bodies and loopy curls, are often easy to distinguish from other retrievers and retriever mixes (who tend to look pretty similar).

Bred to perform on both land and in water, they enjoy playing fetch with their humans in almost any habitat. In fact, they often compete in and win many dog sports and competitions.

Curly coated retrievers are a great choice for first-time dog owners, as they are often obedient and easy to train. In fact, they are often used as therapy or service dogs. They crave love from their humans, and you can return that love with lots of scritches and cuddles. Do this, and they will reward you with unmatched loyalty and unwavering trust.

Whether you live in a warm or cold climate, this pup can adapt to either.

They are affectionate with their families and are extremely intelligent, but you’ll want to make sure to keep your eye on them. Like many retrievers, they aren’t afraid of getting into a little mischief.

7. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington terriers have curly hair

Bedlington terriers are a great breed for apartment living, as they don’t need quite as much space to roam around as other pups.

But you’ll still want to ensure they get plenty of outdoor exercise. And while they make great watchdogs, they’re actually quite friendly toward strangers. 

Due to the thick hair of this medium-sized terrier, he remains quite comfy in colder climates. He will need a little more grooming than other breeds, so before you decide to bring him home, take all of his grooming needs into consideration. And while he sheds a bunch, he’ll make up for it with buckets of affection and loyalty. 

Bedlington terriers are very intelligent dogs, and they have an abundance of energy. If you’re wanting a puppy who loves to play and be the center of attention, this might just be the dog for you.

In fact, these terriers really enjoy being the only pet in the household, so if you want to give all of your love and attention to one pup, and one pup only, look no further! The Bedlington terrier may be perfect for your family.

8. Bolognese

the Bolognese is super curly

The Bolognese may be a small breed, but he makes up for his pint-sized proportions with a larger-than-life personality. He loves nothing more than to be by his family’s side, and when he looks at you with his toy-like eyes, you will fight the urge to give him whatever he’s asking for.

Because of his sweet nature, he is not only friendly with other animals, he gets along very well with strangers and children too. This makes him an ideal pet for families of all sizes!

Whether you live in a house or apartment, your Bolognese will fit right in. He can adapt to any size home. He is also intelligent, but he can be stubborn when it comes to training. So have patience! He will learn. 

Just note that this pupper is susceptible to separation anxiety; if left alone for too long, expect some issues. He prefers to be with his humans as much as possible.

He also has a surprisingly high prey drive, so you’ll want to purchase toys he can chase and capture — like flirt poles. Since he’s a playful pup with plenty of energy, playing fetch in the backyard or local dog bark is just what he needs to scratch that itch.

And speaking of itch, you’ll want to keep up with his grooming to help keep his beautiful mane looking its best. This dog breed doesn’t shed much, but you’ll want to keep his hair looking stylish and feeling comfortable.

9. Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry blue terriers have curly hair

Kerry blue terriers are medium-sized pups, and although they’re not very well-known, they are quite lovely! They’re not only affectionate with their families but also friendly with strangers too.

While the Kerry blue terrier can adapt pretty well to apartment life, a larger house with a yard is preferred to accommodate his love for chasing squirrels and digging up the perfect hiding place to bury his bone.

While great with humans, the Kerry blue terrier is not always friendly with  other dogs, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on him in public. But with the right kind of training and dog introductions, he can learn to tolerate the tomfoolery of his peers. Socializing your puppy at a young age will help dull some of those desires.

Keeping your Kerry blue terrier well-groomed can become a little pricey, but it is something you can learn to do on your own. Just be sure to pick the right hair and grooming products for him.

It’ll save you big bucks, and everyone at your local dog park will be impressed not only by his beauty, but also by your mad grooming skills.

10. Irish Water Spaniel

Irish water spaniels have curly coats

If you’re attracted to fluffy-haired and friendly canine cuddle companions, the Irish water spaniel is a fantastic choice. Although slightly stubborn, he is very intelligent. So with consistent and firm training early on, he will become that obedient pooch you want him to be. However, this will take quite a bit of work, so first-time dog owners might want to think twice before committing to this undertaking.

For such a thick-haired breed, the Irish water spaniel doesn’t really shed that much. This will save a lot of time and money when it comes to grooming, but you’ll want to make sure to brush his hair two to three times a week with a dematting comb to prevent knots and tangles.

Irish water spaniels love playing in the water, so treat him to games of fetch at a nearby lake or pond. While he is the tallest spaniel, he is still a spaniel through and through when it comes to personality. He is friendly with strangers, children, and other dogs, so keeping him socialized will prove to be trouble-free.

11. Puli

Pulis dogs have curly coats

When looking at a puli pup, the first thing you will notice is his long locs. While black is the most common hair color of this breed, you may also find them in white, grey, and tan. Their hair is corded, so first-time dog owners will need to learn all about corded coats before adding a precious little puli to the fam. 

As a very vocal dog, your puli won’t be shy about telling you how he feels. He is very self-confident, but he can be resistant to change.

Teach him what he needs to know at a young age, and he will learn obedience and how to take direction. Even as he ages, he is known to have a puppy-like mentality. For families with children, he will be a great choice for a playmate.

Your puli might be a little nervous around strangers, so make any introductions as delicately as possible. This will help show him there is nothing to fear from these friends he hasn’t met yet. And once he is comfortable with a new person, he is likely to loosen up and play with his new buddy just as he would his family.

Patience for your puli is key when making him a part of your family, but he is a quick learner and will prove his loyalty over and over. 

12. Komondor

Komondorok have curly hair

Komondorok (the plural of Komondor) are another breed with long and lovely locs. Some would even describe them as being very “mop-like.”

Bred as livestock guardians to guard flocks of sheep, their protective nature makes them very loyal defenders of their families. They will not back down at the first sign of trouble, nor will they run from a potentially dangerous encounter. And they are known to guard their humans with their lives, making them valuable members of the family.

While they are skeptical of strangers, Komondorok are usually loving and patient with children, so families with little ones can feel confident when bringing home a Komondor for the first time (just be sure to supervise interactions, as Komondors are big pups, who could accidentally topple toddlers).  

Keep in mind that although Komondorok aren’t exactly high-energy pups, you’ll want to make sure to exercise them as much as possible. Hey – sometimes even we don’t want to exercise, but we do it to stay healthy. It is no different from our canine companions.

But since he loves to spend time with his family, long walks together will bring you closer and keep you both in tip-top shape.

13. Havanese 

Havanese have curly hair

If you like dogs with long, silky, curly hair, the Havanese deserves serious consideration. He is a relatively small dog with a love for playtime and cuddling, and this makes him desirable to many first-time dog owners. He will love your friends and family, and he even gets along great with strangers and other dogs. 

While some dogs need a bigger-sized home to thrive, the Havenese adapts very well to apartment living. He won’t bark all day long while you’re at work, so you wouldn’t need to worry about him being a nuisance to your neighbors.

That being said, he does prefer to be in the company of his family, so leaving him alone for an extended period of time can potentially bum him out. Just make sure to give him plenty of love and attention after your long day at work to help ease any anxiety he feels. 

The Havanese is a very intelligent dog, and training him shouldn’t be terribly difficult. However, he has a surprisingly high prey drive for such a tiny guy, so use caution around other doggos.

He’s also a high-energy pooch (especially when compared to other small pups), so exercising him often will help alleviate some of his energy. And as we all know, a tuckered out pooch is a happy (and well-behaved) pooch. Just make sure he has a cozy dog bed ready once he crashes.

14. Spanish Water Dog

Spanish water dogs have curly hair

The Spanish water dog is a medium-sized pupper with mop-like curly hair that covers him from head to toe (er, paw).

Available in several different colors, you can find these doggos clad in black, brown, beige, grey, or white fur. When grooming him, you’ll want to make sure to clip his coat to one length, but due to the amount of hair and its fullness, brushing it is not recommended — this guy is supposed to look somewhat rustic.  

As a high-energy pup, the Spanish water dog will thrive best with physically active humans. After maturing into a full-grown pup, he loves nothing more than to go on long walks or strenuous hikes, so giving him plenty of exercise is key to his health and happiness.

While he can adapt to apartment living, the Spanish water dog thrives better in a house with a fenced-in yard. He is loyal and loving to his family, and he’s very protective of the children in the home.

Allowing him time to play with his human brothers and sisters in the yard will not only strengthen their bond, but it will also help keep his vibrant spirit under control.

15. Lagotto Romagnolo

lagotto Romagnolos have curly hair

The lagotto Romagnolo, also known as the Italian water dog or Romagno water dog, is a small breed of dog that often looks bigger than he is due to his thick coat of hair. And this hair helps him adapt to colder temperatures, so if you live in a part of the world where temperatures drop pretty low in the winters, your little buddy might actually stay warmer than you!

Lagotto Romagnolos are not prone to drooling or shedding much, but they are a little more difficult to groom than other breeds.

Before bringing one home, make sure you’re prepared to keep your pup’s hair looking healthy. While you may choose to groom him yourself, weigh all options before making that final decision. You may decide it’s worth dropping the extra bucks to have a professional groom your pooch.

While lagottos Romagnolo dogs love their families very much, they aren’t typically very cuddly, nor do they need to be the center of attention. But they are playful and have a lot of energy, so just as you would with energetic pups, you’ll want to exercise him regularly.

Keep an eye on him at your local dog park, however, as he tends to wander and can be somewhat temperamental with his peers at times.

Overall, he won’t require much from you, so if you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog breed, you might want to consider this one.

16. American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniels have curly hair

American water spaniels are medium-sized dogs, who’re readily recognizable because of their long, curly haired ears and short, thick fur. 

As a highly sensitive pup, the American water spaniel does demand a lot of attention from his humans.

For this reason, first-time dog owners might want to pause before choosing him as their new family member. When not given enough attention, he may wander off or get into mischief without you noticing, so you’ll want to be vigilant about keeping your eye on him.

Because of his playful nature and high energy level, a larger home with a fenced-in yard is preferable to apartment living for the American water spaniel. Aside from attention, he requires plenty of exercise and patience. However — almost as if he knows he can be a handful — he is great at rewarding his family with love and affection. Especially the children!

The American water spaniel is very intelligent and easy to train, but these dogs can get a little mouthy. He also prefers to be the only pup in the household, as he’s not always fond of other four-footers.

So, if you’re a one-dog household, the American water spaniel is definitely worthy of your consideration.

17. Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres is curly coated

The bouvier des Flandres is an all-around great family dog. Substantial in size, he is known to make an excellent guard dog.

While he is very playful and affectionate with his human family, he is not too keen on meeting new people. So, if you want a protector for your home, look no further. He is also loyal and trustworthy, and he will protect his peeps with his life.

Some other pros of adding the bouvier des Flandres to your pack are that he’s not apt to shedding much, and grooming him is fairly easy. As a matter of fact, many people groom these pups themselves. So in the long run, you’ll save money by learning how to keep his hair pristine all on your own.

Not shy about barking and voicing his opinions, your bouvier des Flandres should be housed in a larger home rather than an apartment to keep him from disturbing your neighbors.

He is very playful, and because of his size, he needs a lot more exercise than many smaller pups. He is not known to wander off much, so he doesn’t need much supervision.

Just give him plenty of love, remind him that he’s a good boy, and he will prove to be a valuable family member.

Don’t Forget About Mixed-Breed Canines with Curly Hair!

goldendoodles have curly hair

In addition to the breeds discussed above, there are plenty of mixed-breed pooches with curly hair.

Usually, mutts with curly hair have at least one parent (and sometimes two) with curly locks themselves. This means you should expect some classic canine combos to have curly, wavy, or frizzy hair.

A few of the most notable curly haired mutts include:

  • Labradoodles
  • Goldendoodles
  • Cockapoos
  • Bernedoodles
  • Yorkiepoos
  • Maltipoos

Hmmmm…it’s almost like all of these breeds have something in common!

Unsurprisingly, most poodle mixes end up with curly hair. But truthfully, mixes of other curly coated canines also have looping locks.

That most notably includes bichon frise mixes, but you’ll find a number of Maltese mixes that have one curly haired parent too.

Special Considerations for Dog Breeds with Curly Hair

care tips for curly haired dogs

Curly coated canines are certainly adorable, but there are a few things you should understand before adding one of these cuties to your family. 

Some Curly Haired Dogs Are “Hypoallergenic”

All dogs shed, but some dogs shed much less than others. This makes many curly canines great for homes with people who’re allergic to dogs

In fact, you’ll often see curly haired breeds — including, most notably, poodles and poodle mixes — labelled as “hypoallergenic.” Now, these dogs can still trigger allergies in humans, but they’re much less likely to do so than breeds who shed large amounts of fur (looking at you, huskies).

Even if you aren’t allergic to doggo dander, you may appreciate the fact that these dogs make it easier to keep your carpets, couch, and clothing relatively dog-hair-free.  

Curly Haired Dogs Come in Many Colors

While the color of your new pup might not matter as much as his temperament and size, there are things to keep in mind when choosing his color. 

For starters, you may want to color-coordinate your dog’s fur with your home décor.

For instance, if you have black furniture, you might not want to bring home that fluffy white ball of fur you’ve had your eye on. All that white fur will be more noticeable on the dark furniture than darker fur. 

If you decide the extra vacuuming is worth it in the end, bravo! Any pup you choose, no matter the color, will be grateful to be a new member of your family. 

Some Curly Haired Dogs Require Extensive Grooming

While almost all dogs require some basic grooming, including regular baths and brushings, a lot of curly haired doggos require a bit more work. This will not only keep your new floof looking his best, it will also help keep his coat healthy and feeling great too. 

If you don’t mind reaching for the credit card once every month or two, you can just have your new pupper professionally groomed. But you can also learn to groom him yourself, if you have the time and patience to learn. 

Some Curly Haired Dogs Are Well-Adapted for the Cold

Not every part of the world has your typical “four seasons.” While in some areas the climate can change every few months, you may live in state or country that has longer periods with low temperatures. 

Keep this in mind when you’re picking out your pup. Quite often with curly haired doggos, their ability to adapt to colder temperatures is practically a birthright. As a matter of fact, with certain breeds, you’ll find that they actually thrive more when it’s chilly than when it’s hot.

Finding the perfect cuddle buddy to keep you warm during those oh-so-cold days and nights should not prove to be a difficult feat when considering a curly haired breed. Their thick fur coupled with their big hearts will keep you toasty and comfy. So, turn down the thermostat, grab that cup of hot cocoa, and be that big spoon your pup loves so much. 

***

See? We told you curly haired dogs are too cute for words! Just remember to think about the considerations we shared before adding one of these frizzy four-footers to your family!

Do you already have a curly coated breed at home? What kinds of things do you love (and, maybe not love) about him? Did we forget anything else soon-to-be owners should understand?

Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below! 

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Written by

Rachel Team

Rachel is a professional writer, musician, and dog mom, who has accumulated a lifetime of canine-care experience. She not only loves teaching people the ins and outs of four-footer care but also how to properly spoil the dogs we share our lives with. Rachel loves most pooches she meets, but her sweet and sassy Rottie has officially stolen her heart.

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