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9 Most Popular Curly-Haired Dog Breeds (With Pictures)

What’s cuter than a curly-haired dog? Not much. Curly-haired dog breeds have their own sense of style and personality, unlike any other dog. They often have hypoallergenic fur or hair, making them an excellent choice for dog owners with allergies.

Dog Breeds With Curly Hair

Some of these breeds are large. Some are small. Some are smart, others a bit goofy. One thing is sure: they’re all man’s best friends. Below are some of the most popular dog breeds with curly hair.

#1. Standard Poodle

Curly Haired Poodle

When most people hear about dogs with curly hair, they think of the Poodle. This beautiful dog breed comes in different sizes and colors and has fur that is low-allergen.

Poodles come in several sizes, including:

These size variations make them versatile pets for families who like large or small breeds.

Poodles are the national dog of France, even though you can trace their origin back to Germany. They love to play in the water and are excellent retrievers. Poodles are one of the most highly intelligent dog breeds around.

While the style of Poodle fur is often jokingly attributed to wealthier dog owners and teased as pretentious, it served a purpose. Hunters wanted their dogs to be able to move freely while still maintaining their insulation; as a result, they shaved the Poodles’ legs and left large tufts of fur elsewhere.

This beautiful breed has an overall life expectancy of 10-18 years.

#2. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is incredibly intelligent and eager to please. They love to learn new tricks and are easy to train. This breed styles differently than the Poodle.

They either have a ‘retriever clip,’ which is a close shear of all their fur at the same length, or the ‘lion clip’ where the muzzle and hind end trim close to the skin, but the rest of their hair remains long.

Originally fishing dogs along the coast of Portugal, the Portuguese Water Dog is now a strong choice for water rescues. They enjoy boat rides, and being on the water doesn’t frighten them. They’re excellent family pets, too, and love to be around people.

They’re a sweet breed with a life expectancy of 11-13 years.

#3. Airedale Terrier

Curly haired dog Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is one of the more regal looking of the small curly-haired dogs. It stands approximately two feet high at the shoulder. They’re less friendly and cuddly than Poodles or the Portuguese Water Dog, but they’re still a decent family pet.

Some of the benefits of adopting this breed include:

  • As a larger breed, Airedales are often stubborn and determined and will defend their home
  • They will play gently with kids
  • Intelligent dogs with a regal air to them

Airedales were bred initially in Northern England from Ottersdales and the English Black and Tan Terrier, which is now extinct. They were commonly kept pets in the industrial areas of England and protected the manufacturing plants from minor nuisances like rats.

Airedales also were war heroes, carrying messages and working as guard dogs during World War I.

Their life expectancy is 11-14 years.

#4. Bichon Frise

Curly Haired Bichon Frise Dog

The Bichon Frise is a small dog breed with curly hair. An extremely friendly and social pup, this dog is less than a foot tall at the shoulder. They have soft, velvety, curly, hypoallergenic white fur and a round head with big round eyes.

Some of the positive attributes of a Bichon Frise include:

  • They love playing with kids and make excellent family pets
  • They’re energetic and carefree
  • They are exceptionally smart and easy to train and love to perform tricks

They don’t like confrontation, though, so they do not make good guard dogs.

Experts think that the Bichon Frise first came about on the Canary Islands, and in the 13th Century, they became a favorite dog of European nobility. A perfect renaissance dog, they lived in luxury for about 400 years until the nobles who had kept them were imprisoned or impoverished.

The Bichon Frise’s popularity rose and fell over the next few centuries until, in the mid-1960s, they had their own renaissance and returned to the laps of proud owners across the world.

They’re a loyal breed who live about 14-15 years.

#5. Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel

Beautiful big curly-haired dogs, the Irish Water Spaniel prefers to be in a household with older kids and not many other dogs. They’re approximately two feet tall at the shoulders and have gorgeous brown fur. Their fur is considered water-proof.

Irish Water Spaniels move gracefully and swiftly, making them well-suited to hard work outdoors. They make excellent hunting and retrieving dogs. They’re intelligent and friendly companions.

As the name suggests, the Irish Water Spaniel originated in Ireland from two different breeds: the North Country Water Spaniel and the South Country Water Spaniel. In the mid-1800s, the breeds were fully merged into the now pure-bred Irish Water Spaniel.

Irish Water Spaniels, having water-proof fur, are especially well-suited to the colder ocean water in Ireland and can work long days. They became popular in the United States by the late 1800s.

This wonderful breed has a life expectancy of 12-13 years.

#6. Curly Coated Retriever

Curly Coated Retriever

The large and beautiful Curly Coated Retriever stands over two feet tall. This breed has fur in either black or brown and is one of the oldest retriever breeds. One of the most intelligent dog breeds around, the Curly Coated Retriever, will keep its owner on their feet and at the top of their game.

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a loving and affectionate breed, but it also enjoys independence, unlike other retrievers. They love to play and fool around with people in their family, but they are cautious around strangers.

These dogs need a lot of work and playtime because they’re easily bored and get into trouble. Activity keeps them focused and out of the garbage and shoes.

The breed is so old its origins are uncertain, but they likely came from such ancestors as the English Water Spaniel, the Retrieving Setter, and Poodles. They were exported all over the world, though they have only a small but loyal following today.

This stunning dog has a life expectancy of 10-12 years.

#7. Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog

The adorable ball of fluff that is the Spanish Water Dog is full of energy and intelligence. They are a beautiful breed that enjoys being around their human family but is only moderately interested in other dogs.

Their fur is tight and wooly, and when it’s long, it makes tapered curls. Their facial coat is so long it covers their eyes completely. It can be trimmed back but also left natural. Spanish Water Dogs can be black, brown, tan, white, or a mix of all four.

At under two feet, this medium to small dog breed with curly hair is an excellent companion for working in a field, sheepherding, retrieving, or water activities.

The origin of the Spanish Water Dog is uncertain, but professionals think that perhaps they came from around the Turkish Moors. They have the nickname ‘The Turkish Dog,’ which would be appropriate if that’s the case.

This fluffy breed has a life expectancy of 12-14 years.

#8. Barbet

Curly Haired Dog Barbet

The Barbet looks similar to the Spanish Water Dog, with long tight curly hair. Its coloring is identical as well, with brown, black, white, or grey. Their coat is incredibly shaggy and covers their eyes.

Some of the positive attributes of Barbets include:

  • They love to be around other dogs
  • Does well with children, making them an excellent family pet
  • They are bright and love to play
  • You can train them efficiently

The Barbet is slightly less affectionate than a retriever but overall is a great family pet.

The calm and good-natured Barbet loves to swim, hunt, and play. They have strong stamina and can work for long periods without becoming exhausted. They need a lot of exercises to keep them happy.

Originating from France, the Barbet is a great hunting dog. They like to hunt water game because it combines their love of exercise with their love of water. They were once almost extinct, but after World War 1, they became more popular and revitalized.

The Barbet has a life expectancy of 12-14 years.

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#9. Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an adorable small curly-haired dog breed with wooly white curls. Nicknamed ‘The Truffle Dog‘, this sweet pup is known for sniffing out root truffles. It is small yet mighty, working hard throughout the day.

The positive attributes of this breed include:

  • Highly affectionate, the Lagotto Romagnolo enjoys being around other people and dogs
  • Despite their small stature of less than two feet tall, they’re strong animals
  • Calm, caring, and sweet, this dog makes a great companion
  • They are easy to train, intelligent, and beautiful

Keep in mind: They prefer older children in a family as younger ones can be a bit overwhelming.

As the name indicates, the Lagotto Romagnolo is an Italian breed that has been popular for many years.

They work hard and use their exceptional sense of smell to track truffles, an expensive delicacy. While other dogs can find truffles, the Lagotto Romagnolo is considered the best truffle dog in the world.

The ‘Truffle Dog’ has a life expectancy of 15-17 years.