Why is My Golden Retriever Curly or Wavy? Causes and What to Do


I adopted my golden retriever when she was less than 2 months of age and there was really no way to tell how her coat would grow and look like when she is fully mature.

When she was around 5 months her fur started to be wavy and when her coat grew longer and it started to curl, I didn’t know If it’s normal for their fur to change at that age or is this something I should worry about.

I did some research and got some answers, so if you’re in the same shoes, here is the short of it;

Why is my golden retriever curly or wavy? Golden retrievers can have wavy hair because of genetics, so it’s perfectly normal. According to the AKC; the standard for a golden retriever’s coat is to be water-repellent with a good undercoat and an outer coat that is firm and resilient, so their coat could be straight or wavy. 

Let’s dig a little deeper to learn everything that you need to know about golden retriever’s curly or wavy hair.

Can Golden Retrievers Have Wavy or Curly Hair? 

Yes, they can, it’s normal for golden retrievers to have wavy or curly hair.

Golden retrievers go through several coat changes when they’re young and before they finally get their mature coat. This can take years for some dogs, and it happens on stages.

They have straight hair when they are puppies. When their hair grows longer, it can be curly or wavy.

There is a small note I must mention here; there is a difference between their hair being wavy or curly and their hair being flat. These are two very distinct cases and we will not discuss the latter here.

You can, however, learn why isn’t your golden retriever fluffy here. I discuss what you can do to make their coats as glamorous – and yes, fluffy- as they could be.

Now, let’s see what could be causing your golden retriever’s coat to be wavy or curly – if this is not their normal.

Is your golden’s wavy hair normal or not?

You easily tell whether their wavy coats are normal or not by checking their parents and really checking their coats.

If you have gotten your dog from a good breeder, chances are they will have the full history of the parents and the coat types. If one or both of their parents had wavy coats, then it could be genetic.

However, having wavy parents is very rarely the case with dog breeders who try to make their dogs as close as possible to the common “perfect” image of a dog breed, which in the case of goldens will mean having a fluffy golden coat and not a wavy or curly one.

When is a wavy coat not normal?

Sometimes, however, it will not be because of their genetics or nature and it can be traced to something else.

Sometimes goldens with curly hair may suffer from a lack of coat growth and the reason may be a problem with their diet such as:

  • Not getting enough nutrients 
  • Too much food
  • Too little food

Also, it may be because they are not receiving proper grooming or they are not active enough.

If they eat good amounts of high-quality foods that give them the nutrients that their body needs, they are active, they have daily exercise, and they have a proper grooming routine, their coats should be perfectly healthy and normal.

What Can You Do About Your Golden Retriever’s Wavy or Curly Hair? 

If your golden retriever’s wavy or curly hair is caused by something else other than their genetics and their nature, there are things you can do to help their coats take its natural form.

Here is what you can do about your golden retriever’s wavy or curly hair :

  • Proper diet
  • Daily grooming
  • Keeping them active
  • Regular bath
  • Limit their activity
  • Consult their vet

Proper diet

Feeding your pup the right food will keep their fur as healthy as possible (even though curly or wavy hair doesn’t always mean they are not healthy) and will help their hair to grow properly and if they are shedding a lot their diet can stop that too.

You can also consider supplements like Omega-3 and Omega-6. The one I use for my dogs is the Vetoquinol Triglyceride Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Capsules with Fish Oil for Pets which you can check on Amazon here.

Daily grooming

If their hair is tangled it may look like curls so by daily grooming you are making sure that their hair is natural curls and will keep their fur healthy and will minimize the shredding.

Most important is to make sure that the grooming session is regular.

Keeping them active

Exercising regularly and making sure that they stay active has a great role in keeping them and their coat healthy.

It’s also essential for keeping them from gaining weight which will definitely have a negative impact on their coat’s health.

Regular bath

To keep their fur shiny and smooth you gotta bathe them regularly, use a good shampoo because some shampoos can cause them a rash, allergy, or infection which will cause hair loss and a good shampoo can help to keep their hair straight or wavy.

You can learn how often to bathe your golden retriever here, and the best shampoos for goldens here.

Limit their activity

Believe it or not, hyperactivity is a real thing and sometimes you will just have to pull them back and try to limit their activity.

If they are too active it can cause hair loss or other issues in their coat that is why you need to make them a regular schedulable to exercise not too much or too little. Balance is key to everything, as Thanos has taught us in Infinity War.

A simple 30-minute daily walk or a jog could be enough to keep them active, but some dogs will need significantly more than that to stay active and happy.

Consult their vet

If the changes to their coats are caused by an underlying health problem, their coats can get better when the underlying health issue is fixed.

Most health issues are accompanied by other symptoms that you can pick up on if you are paying enough attention.

If you notice any of these symptoms you should take them to their vet.

The symptoms  
  • Change in their energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hairless spots
  • Fever
  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry nose
  • Chronic itching
  • Chronic licking
  • Biting their coat
  • Thirst
  • Sleeping all-day

What kind of coat do golden retrievers normally have?

Golden retrievers are a double-coated breed; it means that their coat is made up of two parts.

The first is the outer coat, the one which has the long and the smooth fur and the undercoat, it’s the fuzzy and soft one, both coats work together to protect the skin from moisture, sun, cold, and heat. The coat has an important role as an insulator against any weather condition.

Do golden retrievers have oily fur?

Golden retrievers have very thick fur which means that they have oily coats, so they need to bathe regularly (like every other dog) and they need to be groomed daily, and they will need to be bathed if there is mud or anything stuck in their coat. 

Related Questions 

Why is my golden retriever’s hair so short?

The most common reason is they may not be a pure golden retriever, it’s pretty rare for goldens to have short hair. They can be mixed with labrador or any other breed with short hair. If a dog breeder tries to convince you that they’re pure golden, you have reason to be skeptical.

At what age do golden retrievers get their full coat? 

Golden retrievers get their full coat when they are around two years, but some dogs will not get it until they’re 3 years old. So when they become two years old their adult coats should be entirely set and at that time their coat will change a lot from straight to wavy and even curly.

What dog breed has wavy hair?

Here are some dog breeds that have wavy hair

  • Golden retriever
  • Portuguese water dog
  • Pumi
  • Irish water spaniel
  • American water spaniel
  • Spanish water dog
  • Poodle
  • Lagotto Romagnolo
  • Kerry blue terrier 
  • Havanese
  • Bichon Frise
  • White bolognese
  • Airedale terrier
  • Curly-coated retriever
  • Bedlington terrier
  • Barbet
  • Bolognese dog
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