Are you looking for a curly-haired companion? Not only are dogs with curly hair utterly adorable, but their hair texture is super beneficial. A lot of water and fishing breeds were bred to have these curlicues as a way to trap water and protect themselves from moisture and cold. Cool, right? That said, not all curly-haired dogs can swim — so be sure to do your research. Whether you’re looking for a dog that’s small or large, active or easygoing, these dog breeds with curly hair certainly have style.
The poodle is probably the first breed that comes to mind when you think about curly-haired doggos. Their coat is made up of dense, tight curls that will grow continuously, just like human hair. That’s why it’s really important to have a poodle’s hair trimmed every couple of months.
Have you ever wondered why poodles have that haircut with little puffs of fur left on their hips, ankles, and wrists? The purpose was to keep their joints warm under the fur but without all that extra hair weighing them down while swimming.
Pulis have really distinct hair that’s actually referred to as a “corded” coat, but it’s naturally curly. Puli puppies have woolly hair that resembles other curly-haired breeds until they reach about six months old, and then it’s time for cording! Their undercoat and main coat are intentionally twisted together to create that iconic mop-like look the breed is known for.
3. Curly-Coated Retriever
The curly-coated retriever is a curly cutie that doesn’t get as much of the spotlight as it should. This breed has a single coat of super tight spirals that lay close to their body. Unlike most other breeds on the list, these dogs are actually part of the “do not brush” club because brushing their hair causes it to frizz and makes it harder to maintain.
4. Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese water dog has two types of coats: curly or wavy. Their original purpose was to assist fishermen as water dogs, so these active pups have a water-resistant coat. And yes — you guessed it — this breed loves splashing around in the water and swimming whenever they get a chance.
5. Airedale Terrier
The Airedale is known as the King of the Terriers because of their big size, but they still have that iconic terrier hair. Their coat is wiry but curly, and they often have a cute little beard.
Are all curly-haired dogs hypoallergenic? Unfortunately, no. No dog is 100% hypoallergenic, but dogs with curly hair are generally low shedders, which can help keep allergies at bay.
6. Bedlington Terrier
What’s small and slender and curly all over? A bedlington terrier! This rare breed has short, curly hair that actually changes color with age. Baby bedlingtons are born with black fur, which fades to a light grey due to a greying gene.
7. Bichon Frise
“Bichon frise” translates to “small curly dog” because that’s exactly what they are. This floofy French breed looks a bit like a Teddy bear, and they’re just as cuddly. Bichons do need quite a bit of grooming to keep their white, curly hair looking and feeling good. Their thick coats also aren't water-resistant, so they sometimes sink when swimming.
8. Lagotto Romagnolo
If you haven’t heard of the lagotto romagnolo, you’re not alone because this Italian breed is pretty rare. They were originally water dogs, which is why they have that curly, water-resistant hair that’s similar to the other water breeds. But today lagotta romagnolos are often used for truffle-hunting. Interesting!
9. Welsh Terrier
Is that a mini Airedale? Nope, it’s the Welsh terrier. Even though they both have the same black-and-tan saddle pattern and are wiry, curly-haired dogs, these two are distinct breeds.
Know that curly-haired dogs can be high maintenance. You’ll need to brush their fur daily and bathe them every couple of months to keep their mane in good shape.
When curly meets effortlessly chic, you get the barbet. This breed’s hair actually looks more like tousled waves than true ringlets, but they’re cute, nonetheless. Keep in mind that without regular grooming and upkeep, the barbet's fur can get super tangled and matted.
Pumis are sheepdogs, and their curly coats make them look a bit like the animals they were bred to protect. Their hair is medium-length and sticks out in corkscrew spirals all over their body. Even though they’ve only been recognized as a true breed since 2016, these unique dogs definitely stand out in a crowd.
Want to feel like you’re hugging a cloud? Then you need to find a bolognese. Their fluffy white hair is considered “flocked,” which just means that it’s really soft and fine. But even though their coat looks like it was made for fairy tales, keeping it clean and tangle-free takes a lot of work.
13. Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish water spaniel is a unique kind of curly-haired dog because they don’t have curls all over their body. They have smooth, short hair on their face and a smooth “rat tail.” These features make these look a lot different than most of the other curly water breeds!
14. Kerry Blue Terrier
The only blue dog with curly hair is none other than the Kerry blue terrier. This Irish breed is known for their soft hair, which isn’t technically “blue” but a greyish-blue shade. If you decide to bring one home, you’re definitely in for a true-blue friend!
Curls Just Want to Have Fun
No two curly-haired dog breeds are the same. They come in tons of different shapes and sizes with hair on the wavier side or that comes in tight, spiral curlicues. If you’re looking for a curly cutie of your own, make sure you’re prepared for the upkeep and maintenance their locks require. Consider the extra brushing time a bonus — more cuddling and bonding!