The oldest of the retriever breeds, the curly-coated retriever, commonly called a curly, is admired for its outstanding hunting abilities as well as being a deeply dedicated companion. Curlies are solid-colored, either black or liver, with an ideal coat being a mass of short, tight, crisp-to-the-touch curls covering the body, head, legs and tail. Face and muzzle are naturally smooth without curl. Curlies are “wickedly smart” as the standard describes, and not for the average dog owner. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and energy it takes to train a curly, you will be richly rewarded.