The above image is of “Sambo,” an early curly-coated retriever that belonged to Henry Coleman Folkard,
This image appears in Folkard’s The Wild-Fowler: A Treatise on Ancient and Modern Wild-Fowling, Historical and Practical (1864).
For those of you unfamiliar with the term “wild-fowling” is an English term for what Americans call “duck hunting.”
Folkard claimed that the curly-coated retriever was much more suited for retrieving shot ducks than the large Newfoundland, which was too large for the duck blind and had a tendency to collect too much dirt and mud.
The curly-coated retriever was just a cross between some kind of Newfoundland, especially the St. John’s type, and some sort of water spaniel.
There were plenty of curlies of this sort throughout the British Isles, but it eventually became a rather clearly defined breed really early on.
“Sambo” is a politically incorrect name for people of mixed African ancestry. Because this retriever was black and white- and was more black than white– the name would have made sense.
But it’s out of this variable roughly bred retriever stock that all our refined breeds of retriever breeds were developed.