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Barbet Dogs

Barbet Dog with his striking beard sitting attentively Barbet dog with a golden curly coat sitting awaiting instruction cute barbet puppies posing together against a white background chestnut coloured pampered barbet dog with hairclip


The Barbet is a rare breed that originates from France. The name coming from the French word 'Barbe" which means beard. They were used by sailors and hunters to retrieve water fowl and are adept swimmers. They soon became more popular in the 1800's as a companion dog, but weren't registered as a breed until 1891. They are not recognised as a breed in the UK, so all UK dogs are registered in France. They form the basis of most of the modern water dogs today, but are increasing rare in the world. They are seen more commonly in shows, but interest is increasing in the breed as a pet.


Barbets are happy dogs that love to please their owner. They make great family pets and are good with children and the elderly. They like to be around people and will always want to be in the same room with you; separation anxiety can be common in the breed if not accustomed to being alone for periods of time. They are usually fine with strangers, other dogs and cats in the home if properly socialised from an young age. They need company and are best suited to a home with someone around for most of the day, or someone with an active outdoor job that can take the dog with them. Barbets are intelligent and loyal and will do anything for you. They learn quickly and thrive when being taught new tricks and at play. They need form, consistent and fun learning techniques to keep them happy. They can be overly sensitive at times and don't do well with harsh words or treatment. Play, positive reinforcement and lots of praise works best when teaching the breed. They do very well at water fowl competitions and agility and are often seen competing in their homeland of France. They also like to play fetch with balls and frisbees and never seem to tire of the game. With their webbed paws, it is obvious that they like to swim. Throwing floating objects into the water will keep them amused for hours and give them a good work out. These are a busy breed that need exercise, so a long day walk and swim is needed to keep them physically and mentally happy. Once they have been walked (and towel dried) they will want to snuggle up on the sofa with you. Good luck trying to keep a Barbet off your bed or sofa, they want to be as close as possible.

They have a long wooly, curly coat, similar to that of a Poodle, which needs attention to prevent it becoming matted. It is dense and repels water, making the bred ideal for water retrieval. Trimming 3-4 times a year will keep the coat in good condition, plus occasional brushing. They shed little and are classed as a hypo allergenic breed. Barbets, like many water dogs, can suffer from ear infections due to their love of water. The ears should be kept free of too much hair and checked regularly. Canine Hip Dysplasia is also quite common in the breed. Due to the very limited gene pool, hereditary diseases are more common. Check all pedigrees carefully to avoid problems.


Barbets have an intelligent and companionable temperament. They are clever dogs who respond well to training and will become very attached to their owners. They love to get as muddy as possible and you will have a hard time keeping them out of the water. They make a good family pet as they rarely show aggression although they may bark to announce a visitor. It should also be noted that young Barbets can be quite boistrous and with their large size they could easily knock over toddlers or Grandma.

Health Problems

Health problems that may affect Barbets include canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and epilepsy.

Breed Details

  • Status: Endangered
  • Life Expectancy: 13 - 15 years
  • Weight: 16 - 27 kg
  • Height: 20 - 25"
  • Rare: Yes
  • Coat: Medium - Hypoallergenic
  • Grooming Requirements: Everyday
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
  • Breed Type: Gun Dog
  • Size: Large
  • Energy Level: High

Barbet Pictures

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