This section is from the book "Sporting Dogs. Their Points And Management In Health, And Disease", by Frank Townend Barton. Also available from Amazon: Sporting Dogs; Their Points and Management in Health and Disease.
Of the two varieties, the Curly-coated can, we think, lay claim to have been the first established. In almost every particular, save that of coat, the Curly Retriever corresponds to the description given under the heading of (a)—the Flat-coat. Weight about 80 lbs. Particular attention is paid by judges to the coat. The dog must be covered all over with small tight curls, the tail to be the same. Any tendency towards slackness of curl or an open coat necessarily handicaps the dog in the show ring. If black, should be free from any rusty tint, or from white. Face, clean, neck long, and chest deep.
Liver Curly-coated specimens are nothing like so frequently met with as the black. Should be of an intense liver, free from white hairs and a nose of corresponding colour.
The Curly-coated Retriever Club has done much towards encouraging breeding typical specimens. Although very useful, we fancy that the Flat-coats are in more demand, probably because really A1 Curly-coats are not so readily obtainable at a moderate price, and an indifferent one, has not as good an appearance as an indifferent specimen of the Flat-coats.
At the recent Kennel Club Shows in London, etc., the proportion of Flat-coats to Curly was as three to one—the best evidence as to which is the most popular variety.