curly-coated retriever, breed of large sporting dog conjectured to be descended from the water spaniel and the retrieving setter. It stands about 23 in. (58 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs about 65 lb (30 kg). Its dense coat is tightly curled all over and may be black or liver in color. Easily trained as an efficient and hardy retriever on land and water, the curly-coated retriever is uncommon in the United States. See dog.