Dear AKC:

Can We Have a Word About Curly Coated Retriever History?

Some information in a recent AKC article about the curly coated retriever is incorrect.

When one fancies, owns, loves, and breeds an exceedingly rare breed, almost any ink is good ink. A recent article by an American Kennel Club staffer about my favorite breed, the curly coated retriever, was, alas, riddled with errors.

Last month (April 2019), the AKC article “7 Fun Facts Abut the Curly Coated Retriever” was widely circulated on social media. 


The article contained many errors but really missed the mark on curly history. 

Let's review parts of the article and try to set the record straight (no slam against my curly friends....:-)

In "7 Fun Facts About the Curly Coated Retriever", the AKC wrote this at the beginning of fun fact number 2:

2. Curlies have been purebred since the early 1900s.
The ancestry of the Curly is unknown. He has been purebred since the early 1900s, so records of his lineage don't exist. 
The beginning of fun 'fact' Number 2 is just not factual at all!  It says curlies have been purebred since the early 1900s but we know, through written records, the curly is one of the oldest purebred dogs in existence. In fact, the curly has been purebred since at least 1860.
How do we know the curly is one of the oldest purebred dogs?  We can trace show records and pedigrees back that far using data published by the English Kennel Club in their first few purebred dog stud books. 


Here are a few of the more than 40 curly coated retrievers listed in the first English Kennel Club stud book and registry. 

These are a couple of very famous curly coated retrievers named Jet and his son, Jet II. The elder Jet was shown at dog shows beginning in 1864. 

Here are a couple of well-known curly coated retriever females from the first English Stud Book. 

Look at these female curly coated retrievers. One was a 1st prize winner at a field trial and one was born in 1863 and earned more than 50 prizes at local dog shows. 

Please Remember AKC: when I include a couple of male and female curly coated retrievers registered in the first ever stud book published by a national registry, I am not even including 20 percent of the curly coated retrievers registered in that first stud book. There are a lot more curly coated retrievers included in that first ever stud book. 

In this first ever kennel club stud book registry, there are no Labrador or Golden or Chesapeake or Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. There are only curly coated retrievers and wavy-coated retrievers.
So, AKC, when you say:
Curlies have been purebred since the 1900s. The ancestry of the curly coated retriever is unknown.  He has been purebred since the 1900s so records of his lineage don't exist.
I have to say to AKC: NO, AKC, you are very, very confused about curly coated retriever history. Curly Coated Retrievers have been purebred since at least the 1860s, they were one of only two retriever breeds to be listed in the first ever stud book registry and their lineage can be traced back farther than most dog breeds. 
AKC: you have several other important historical 'facts' wrong about curly coated retrievers and I will address those in a later post. Let's just let curly sleeping dogs lie for the time being. 

Want even more accurate info about the curly coated retriever: visit

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