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13 Dogs with Curly Ears: Pictures, Facts & History

by Bella Woof

Dog fur comes in many shapes, lengths, and textures. Many canines have curly hair across their whole body, while others just have curly hair on their ears (at least when they are cut traditionally). It doesn’t take much for a curly-eared dog to steal your heart, especially when groomed properly.

Here are some of the cutest dogs with curly ears!

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How Are Dogs with Curly Ears Defined?

Of course, dogs cannot really have curly ears. However, they can have curly hair on their ears, which is typically what we mean when we mention curly ears.

Dogs have all sorts of coat textures. Many dogs have very straight fur, while others have not-so-straight fur. However, outside of the straight category, there are tons of other categories. Some dogs only have wavy fur, while others have extremely small ringlets. We’d count only those on the curlier side as “curly,” though you may have a different opinion.

To make matters even more complicated, some dog breeds have a scale of different fur textures. Not all purebred dogs have the exact same texture, so some dogs in a breed may have curly ears while others may not.

Below, we’ve listed dog breeds that typically have curly ears.

The 13 Dogs with Curly Ears

1. Poodles

White Poodle dog standing outdoorWhite Poodle dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: Chili71, Pixabay
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10 – 14 years
Height: 10 – 24 inches

Poodles are the quintessential curly-haired dog breed. Their whole body is covered in curly fur, including their ears. They come in three different sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. All of these sizes have the same curly hair and very similar temperaments. The only huge difference is their size, which differs widely.

Poodles also come in many different colors, like white, black, red, brown, and even apricot. While they may be known for their funky hairdos, many pet owners get them trimmed into a puppy cut, which is much easier to take care of than a show cut.


2. Portuguese Water Dogs

Portuguese Water Dog in the snowPortuguese Water Dog in the snow
Image Credit: slipschutz, Pixabay
Origin: Portugal
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Height: 15 – 22 inches

As Portuguese Water Dog’s name suggests, these dogs are from Portugal, where they were utilized by fishermen for all sorts of tasks. Like the Poodle, their curly coat was developed because it is surprisingly water-resistant, keeping the dog warm even after they got wet. Their whole coat is curly, including the fur on their ears. They often look a bit more ragged than your average Poodle, though.

These dogs are typically described as loyal and intelligent, making them easy to train. They can make great family dogs if you can keep up with their exercise needs.


3. Bichon Frise


teacup bichon frise sitting on red fabric
Image Credit: Vladimir Nenezic, Shutterstock
Origin: France
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Height: 9 – 11 inches

Bichon Frises may not be as obviously curly as other breeds on this list. Their fur looks much more “poofy” than anything. However, their name actually means “curly toy dog,” and their coat is made up of countless tiny ringlets. Their undercoat is very fluffy, but their top coat is about as curly as it gets.

Many people get these dogs trimmed relatively short, as their very curly coats are also prone to matting. However, you can keep their fur longer, making them very fluffy.

These dogs are companion dogs, through and through. They were bred solely to be companion animals, and they’re exceptionally good for families as a result. They’re incredibly happy, playful dogs that get along equally well with children and adults.


4. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier

Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 14 – 17 years
Height: 16 – 18 inches

The Bedlington Terrier is known for its very strange haircut. Often, the fur on the top of its head and snout is kept long, while most of its body is shaved very short. However, if you aren’t showing these dogs, you can get them cut however you’d like. Many pets aren’t given the traditional show cut, as it can be a lot to take care of.

When their ears aren’t cut very short, these dogs do have curls. However, they’re the very small, poofy curls that look a bit like a Bichon Frise’s fur. Therefore, they may not have the larger curls you’re expecting.

Their coat is pretty prone to matting due to its very curly texture. Therefore, getting them cut shorter is often recommended for most dog owners.


5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier-King-Charles-spaniel-Ruby-dogcavalier-King-Charles-spaniel-Ruby-dog
Image Credit: cavacorns, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Height: 12 – 13 inches

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs may be what you imagine when you think of a dog with curly ears. However, their fur can vary in texture a little bit. You may find one of these spaniels with fairly straight ear hair, while another may have exceptionally curly ear fur. It all depends on the dog’s genetics.

Either way, these dogs do need a bit of grooming, though they aren’t as prone to matting as some other breeds on this list. They come in many different colors, ranging from tricolor to black and tan. They were originally bred as hunting dogs. However, they’re mostly kept as companions today. They may be wonderful lap dogs and bond very closely with their owners.


6. Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo courtesy ShutterstockLagotto Romagnolo courtesy Shutterstock
Lagotto Romagnolo courtesy Shutterstock
Origin: Italy
Lifespan: 14 – 16 years
Height: 14 – 17 inches

Compared to other dogs on this list, the Lagotto Romagnolo isn’t very popular. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find it outside of its home region of Italy. It was bred to be the Italian version of a water dog. Like many water dogs, they have a very curly, waterproof coat to keep dry while they swim. Its curls are very evident and cover its whole body, including the ears.

While these dogs technically come in many different colors, you typically only see them in white or apricot. Anything else is quite rare, especially given how rare this breed is in general.

This breed is known for their intelligence and ease of training. They’re a bit like a Poodle in this manner. They’re also very active, like a Poodle, so we only recommend them for active families.


7. Pumi

Pumi
DogPumi
Dog
Image Credit: Barita, Shutterstock
Origin: Hungary
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Height: 14 – 17 inches

The Pumi is a Hungarian breed. Like many Hungarian breeds, it has exceptionally curly hair. In fact, many of these dogs are corded, which involves forming the fur into very thick cords as the dog ages. Developing these cords can take quite a bit of time as the dog matures. However, once the cords are formed, they’re much easier to take care of than the dog’s natural coat.

Because it is so curly, the dog’s fur is very prone to matting. Around the ears, it tends to be particularly tight, causing problems with mats.

Despite their unusual and somewhat pampered look, these dogs were bred to work. They’re exceptionally alert and energetic for this reason. This breed absolutely isn’t for the faint of heart.


8. Barbet

Barbet dogBarbet dog
Image Credit: Ysbrand Cosijn, Shutterstock
Origin: France
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Height: 15 – 22 inches

France’s water dog has the same curly hair as most other water dogs in the world. The Barbet has a long, curly coat that is usually kept in one of two ways. Like a Poodle, their fur can be cut regularly to prevent mating and keep it at a manageable length. However, traditionally, this breed’s fur was usually worked into cords like a Puli. This makes their fur a bit easier to take care of.

That said, this coat isn’t seen in cords quite as often as a Puli’s is, so you still see many dogs with exceptionally curly haircuts. What haircut you choose largely depends on your preferences, skills, and grooming schedule.


9. Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier in a spring gardenKerry Blue Terrier in a spring garden
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock
Origin: Ireland
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Height: 17 – 19 inches

Kerry Blue Terrier has a very soft, single coat. Unlike most breeds, their coat varies widely in texture. Most of the time, it is at least wavy. Other times, it can be very curly, though. Often, dogs with a curly coat are more prone to matting, though it does depend on the fur’s exact texture and the dog’s lifestyle. Either way, these dogs are often trimmed to have shorter fur than they would otherwise.

Their ear fur may be cut particularly short, or the dog may not grow it out as much as other breeds. While these dogs absolutely do have curly fur on their ears, it isn’t nearly as obvious as some of the other breeds on this list.


10. Komondor

komondor, dog, watchdogkomondor, dog, watchdog
Image Credit: HellViolet, Pixabay
Origin: Hungary
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Height: 25 – 28 inches

The Komondor is another Hungarian breed. Like practically all breeds from Hungary, this canine has very curly hair that is often corded to resemble dreadlocks. They’re known for their particularly long cords, which are formed all over their body and often rub against the ground. It takes these dogs a little bit to develop their cords, and they often get longer as they age.

Therefore, the Komondors with the very long cords that you see are also likely pretty old themselves.

These dogs have a truly unique appearance. They’re also very active and can be a bit stubborn. Therefore, it’s important not to purchase one based on one’s unique appearance alone.


11. American Water Spaniel

American Water SpanielAmerican Water Spaniel
Image Credit: Bennett Walker, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 10 – 14 years
Height: 15 – 18 inches

Like practically all water spaniels out there, the American Water Spaniel also has a dense, curly coat that keeps the breed warm in cold water. The dense curls make their coat pretty waterproof, helping them stay alive while swimming. Their ears are also covered in curly fur, of course, though many dog owners decide to get their fur cut shorter to make it more manageable.

Because these dogs were made to work, they are extremely energetic. They excel at just about any job, but they particularly like to swim. They’re also on the friendlier side, making them a great choice for active families.

Sadly, they are rarer than most breeds out there. You may have to wait a bit before a puppy becomes available.


12. Curly-Coated Retriever

Curly-Coated RetrieverCurly-Coated Retriever
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Height: 24– 27 inches

As their name suggests, these Curly-Coated Retrievers have curly fur. They were bred to retrieve waterfowl out of lakes and ponds, similar to the Poodle. Their fur is a lot like a Poodle, and their ears are covered in very small curls.

Like many retrievers, they are exceptionally smart and loyal. They’re pretty easy to train, though they don’t necessarily rival the Poodle in intelligence.

Their fur requires consistent grooming, and they tend to be pretty active. Therefore, they aren’t the easiest breed to take care of, though their friendliness can make them wonderful family pets. They need quite a bit of time dedicated to them, so be sure you can take care of them properly before adopting one.


13. German Water Spaniel

German Water Spaniel hunting for foodGerman Water Spaniel hunting for food
Image Credit: anveber, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Height: 18 – 21 inches

The German Water Spaniel has more wavy fur than extremely curly fur. However, their ear hair is still plenty curly for them to end up on this list! They were bred to be all-around hunting dogs, though they’re particularly known for their tracking skills. Today, they’re most commonly kept as companion animals, as they’re very friendly and tend to get along well with just about everyone.

Weekly brushing is required to prevent matting. Like many dogs with curly hair, they’re much more prone to matting than other breeds.

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Final Thoughts

If you want a curly-haired dog, be prepared for the extra grooming that often comes with them. The vast majority of dogs with curly ears also require regular trimming, like the Poodle. Many also mat and tangle more easily, so you’ll need to brush them at least once a week, if not more.

Beyond that, curly-eared dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Just about everyone can find a dog for them on this list.


Featured Image Credit: Alexandr Junek Imaging, Shutterstock

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