curly labrador

Curly Labrador: Guide To Curly Coated Retrievers

The sight of a curly Labrador might catch your attention. While Labradors are known for their short, straight coats, some Labs can sport a wavy or “curly” coat, often attributed to their specific genetics.

Overview of Curly Labrador

Curly Coated Retrievers are medium to large-sized dogs with a distinctive curly coat that gives them their name. They have a muscular build and a regal appearance, with strong legs and powerful jaws. Their coats are dense and tightly curled, providing protection from the elements when they are working in harsh conditions.

They have an innate ability to retrieve on land or water due to their webbed feet and strong swimming skills. Due to their inherent intelligence and independent nature, Curly Coated Retrievers require consistent training from a young age.

They excel at activities such as agility, obedience competitions, and hunting trials. As loyal companions, they form strong bonds with their families but can be reserved around strangers.

Curly Labrador: Breed Colors & Markings

Breed colors and markings play an important role in the identification of Curly Coated Retrievers as well as other dog breeds. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes two standard colors for this breed: black and liver (a reddish-brown color).

However, there are also rare colors such as chocolate that may occasionally appear in litters. Apart from identifying individual dogs by their coloration or markings when lost or found, it is also important for breeders to consider which colorations they want to produce when breeding Curly Coated Retrievers for various competitions or specific traits like hunting ability.

Knowing what colors and markings are possible and which traits they may indicate can help breeders make informed decisions when selecting which dogs to pair together. This can ultimately help improve the overall health and quality of the breed over time.

Curly Labrador: Coat Colors

Description of Black Coat Color

The black coat color is the most common among Curly Coated Retrievers. It is a deep, glossy black with a tight, curly texture.

The coat should be shiny and should reflect light. The fur is short and thick, which provides excellent insulation from cold weather.

Genetics Behind Black Coat Color in Curly Coated Retrievers

Black coat color in Curly Coated Retrievers is controlled by a single gene, known as B locus. This gene determines whether the dog will have a black or brown coat color. A dog with two copies of the B allele (BB) will have a black coat color, while a dog with one copy of the B allele (Bb) will also have a black coat color but can carry the brown gene.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Black Coat Color in the Breed

The main advantage of having a black-colored Curly Coated Retriever is that it is considered to be more classic-looking and traditional compared to other colors. Additionally, their dark coats make them less visible during hunting missions and allow them to blend better into their surroundings. However, some disadvantages come along with having a black-colored Curly Coated Retriever.

For instance, their dark-colored coats tend to show dirt easily; hence they require frequent bathing and grooming to maintain their shiny appearance. Furthermore, during hot weather conditions or when exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, these dogs may overheat because their darker coats absorb more heat than lighter colors.

Description of Liver Coat Color

The liver coat color in Curly Coated Retrievers is also known as chocolate or brownish-red hue that can range from light tan to dark brown. The fur has tight curls like other colors but may appear more wavy. This color is less common compared to the black coat color in the breed.

Genetics Behind Liver Coat Color in Curly Coated Retrievers

The liver coat color in Curly Coated Retrievers is also controlled by a single gene known as B locus. However, in this case, the recessive b allele replaces the dominant B allele, which results in a brown coat color. Therefore, two copies of the recessive b allele (bb) are required for a dog to have a liver coat color.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Liver Coat Color in the Breed

Liver-colored Curly Coated Retrievers have unique and striking coats that distinguish them from other breeds. They are also less common than their black counterparts and may attract more attention at shows or events. However, one disadvantage of having a liver-colored Curly Coated Retriever is that their coats tend to fade over time compared to black-coated dogs.

The lack of pigmentation may cause their fur to appear dull and washed-out when compared to younger dogs with darker hues. Additionally, they may show dirt and stains more easily than black-coated dogs, requiring frequent grooming and cleaning.

Curly Labrador: Markings

Curly Coated Retrievers are known for their solid coat colors, but they can also have various markings. These markings add another layer of interest to the breed and can make each dog unique. The two main types of markings on Curly Coated Retrievers are white and tan.

White Markings

White markings on a Curly Coated Retriever are often found on the chest, feet, and tail tip. While these dogs do not typically have a lot of white on their coats, these small patches can add a nice contrast to the solid colors.

The size and placement of these white patches vary from dog to dog. There are different types of white markings that can appear on Curly Coated Retrievers.

Some may have a small patch of white on their chest or feet, while others may have a larger patch that covers most of the chest area. Some may even have what is known as a “star” marking on their forehead.

The genetics behind white markings in Curly Coated Retrievers is not fully understood, but it is believed to be controlled by multiple genes. It is also possible for puppies with no white markings at birth to develop them as they grow older.

Tan Markings

Tan markings can appear in various parts of a Curly Coated Retriever’s coat, such as the eyebrows, cheeks, legs, and underbelly. These tan areas often create an attractive contrast against the black or liver-colored coat.

The type and amount of tan varies from dog to dog. Some may only have small amounts around their face and paws while others could potentially have more extensive coverage across their body.

Similar to white markings, the genetics behind tan markings in this breed is not entirely clear but appears to be controlled by multiple genes that interact with each other in complex ways. While Curly Coated Retrievers are known for their solid coat colors, they can also have unique markings that add interest to their appearance.

White and tan markings are the most common types found on this breed and can vary from dog to dog based on genetics. Understanding the different types of markings and their genetics can be helpful for breeders looking to produce specific patterns or for those who simply appreciate the beauty of these dogs.

Rare Colors and Markings

Chocolate Coat Color: A Delightful Rarity

Curly Coated Retrievers with chocolate coat color are a rare sight to behold. A luscious shade of brown, this coat color is often the result of a recessive gene that is less prevalent than the dominant black or liver gene. Chocolate-colored Curly Coated Retrievers are highly prized for their unique appearance, which sets them apart from the more common colors in the breed.

The genetics behind chocolate coat color is quite intriguing. For a Curly Coated Retriever to have a chocolate coat, both parents must carry at least one copy of the recessive chocolate gene.

If both parents pass down their recessive genes to their offspring, then that puppy will have a chocolate coat. However, if only one parent passes down the recessive gene, then the puppy will be black or liver-colored.

While there are no inherent advantages or disadvantages to having a chocolate coat color in Curly Coated Retrievers, it is certainly an eye-catching trait that attracts attention and admiration. Breeders who specifically focus on producing puppies with this rare coat color face greater challenges since it requires finding two dogs who carry recessive genes and pairing them together.

Parti-Coloring: Uncommon and Striking

Parti-coloring refers to any combination of two or more colors on a dog’s coat, usually in distinct patches or spots. In Curly Coated Retrievers, parti-coloring usually involves white markings combined with black or liver patches. While parti-coloring is not as rare as chocolate coat color in this breed, it still remains uncommon enough to make these dogs stand out from others.

The genetics behind parti-coloring can be complex and depend on various factors such as which genes are dominant over others and how they interact with one another. Breeders who aim to produce parti-colored Curly Coated Retrievers may have to breed several generations before achieving the desired outcome.

Parti-coloring in Curly Coated Retrievers has no inherent advantages or disadvantages, but it is often valued for the unique and striking appearance it gives these dogs. Some people may find parti-colored dogs more attractive than dogs with solid coats, while others may prefer traditional solid colors.


Breed colors and markings are significant aspects of the Curly Coated Retriever breed that can affect their appearance, value, and desirability. While black and liver coat colors remain the most common in this breed, rare colors such as chocolate and uncommon markings like parti-coloring can bring a new level of interest to these beautiful dogs.

Whether breeding for specific colors or welcoming whatever unique combinations nature provides, what matters most is ensuring that these dogs receive proper care, love, and attention. In the end, a well-cared-for Curly Coated Retriever will be beloved by their owners regardless of their coat color or markings.

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