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Barbet (dog): Wikis


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Other names French Water Dog
Country of origin France

The Barbet is a breed of dog, it is a medium-sized French water dog. It was taken out of the gun dogs (7th group) in the mid- 80's.





Barbet appearance

Weight: 17-28 kg 35-60 pounds
Height: 52-65 cms 20.5-25.5 inches
Coat: Curly and woolly
Litter size: 6-9 puppies
Life span: 13-15 years
Two Barbets - females

The breed stands 58 to 65 cms (20.5-25.5 inches) for the males in height, 52 to 61 for the females with a tolerance of 1 cm +/- and weighs 17 to 28 kg (35-60 pounds). Many breeders are trying to keep its original morphology by keeping the height at the lower end of the scale. The Barbet is a prototypic water dog, with a long, woolly and curly coat. Their coats grow long and must be groomed regularly, otherwise the barbet may lose small tufts of hair like tumbleweeds.

The accepted colours of the breed are solid black, brown, fawn, grey, pale fawn, white or more or less pied. All shades of red-fawn and pale fawn are permitted. The shade should, preferably, be the same as the colour of the body. Grey and white are extremely rare; mixed colours (except with white) are considered as a fault. The most common colors being black or brown with white markings. The birth figures worldwide for 2007 are 176. All born were black or brown some with white markings on chest, chin, and legs.


The Barbet’s personality is described as companionable, joyful, goofy, obedient, and intelligent. They are quick to learn and need obedience training. They are a great with children, families, and the elderly.

They are capable retrievers for waterfowl hunting. The do field trials in Germany and only water trials in France. As of recently in France, the Barbet can participate in the B.C.E. (Brevet de Chasse a l'Eau) which is a general hunting test involving field and water trials.


Due to the extremely low number of Barbet in the world, little is known about long term health issues. Some issues that have exhibited themselves are ear infections, hip dysplasia, hernias, undescended testicles, undershot/overshot bites, and epilepsy.However, a study has just begun in France about health issues in the Barbet as several breeds have recently "contributed" to the Barbet and notably the poodle. Most breeders do hipscore before any matings and A, B, and C hipscores can be used.

Of the few health issues that have exhibited themselves, most problems can be traced back 4-6 generations. Often this is due to limited breeding stock. Also to the fact that several crossbreeds were done and many poodles were used.

The most common of these issues are ear infections, a problem in most water dog varieties. Ear problems can be minimized by proper ear care. A veterinarian should be consulted if the dog shows signs of an ear infection.The ear should always be clear of any hair, and inspected very regularly.

Lifespan of the Barbet averages 13-15 years with one recently passing away at age 19.


Barbet circa 1915

The Barbet breed is an integral part of dog history, and many familiar breeds have Barbet in their ancestry. Depending on geography and necessity, the Barbet connected through the centuries in various capacities, and as a companion dog, but more as an all-around working dog. The name Barbet became throughout centuries a "generic" name for a dog with a long woolly coat

The `Grand Barbet` depicted in Count George Louis Buffon's book `Histoire Naturelle' (1750) is thought to be the original source of the various water dog breeds (Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, American Water Spaniel, and so on). Its actual origin is lost in antiquity but probably stems from corded herding stock. The Barbet is a French water dog and the breed's name “Barbet” comes from the French word barbe, which means beard. The Barbet has also worked as sailor’s assistants, much like the Portuguese Water Dog.It was mostly known for being a waterfowl retriever and an all-around farm dog( which is where the expression "muddy as a barbet" came from in the 19th century Between the late 18th to early 19th century the same dog was known as the barbet in France, the barbone in Italy and the pudel in Germany. With the advent of dog shows and selective breeding based purely on aesthetics the poodle was developed to be more elegant and of a solid colour to distinguish it from its more common past. The versatile nature of the Barbet has meant its survival, and many of today's Barbet still have the assets attributed to them from the past and the Barbet origins and bloodlines can be traced back to the writing of the first standard in 1891. The breed is gaining popularity in Scandinavian countries and North America as more and more people are becoming interested in this all-around working dog or just as a pet.

Current status in the United States

Barbet Puppy

There are very few Barbet in the United States. Estimated as of 2010 are less than 50 known Barbet. Steps are being taken to slowly and responsibly increase the Barbet population in the States. Currently, Barbet may be fully registered in the United States with ARBA or the UKC, and there has been a recent acceptance in the AKC Foundation Stock Service Program. According to the AKC, to get full recognition there needs to be at least 300 Barbet registered with the AKC's Foundation Stock Service to apply for full recognition. In 2008 there were no Barbet births in America and in 2009, there was one litter of 6. In 2010 there may be one or two litters born in America.

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