Appealing shaggy dogs with fun-loving personalities, barbets have much to recommend them. These dogs are rare but are rising in popularity in the UK. French water dogs which date back centuries, barbets are wonderful pets, agility dogs and working dogs.
Which breed group is the barbet in?
Breed group: none – Gundog
Barbet breed history
The barbet evolved in France and is a retriever and water dog. The term barbet is derived from the French word for beard and was originally a generic name for different dogs with similar characteristics. References to barbets date back to the 14th century and these dogs are the ancestors of many water dogs including the poodle, Portuguese water dog and American water spaniel. Barbets were bred to retrieve waterfowl and were popular with both farmers and sailors. The barbet first arrived in the UK in 2007 and was recognised by the Kennel Club in 2018.
Barbet breed characteristics
Barbets are notable for their dense curly coats and webbed feet. These dogs are resilient to cold water, love swimming and can swim quickly. They are easy to train and don’t tend to be dominant by nature. Barbets are intelligent and fun loving. They will seek out muddy bogs and enjoy adventuring outside but then sit calmly with their owners after a day in the great outdoors. However, they are easily bored and so need constant stimulation.
- Lifespan: 13-15 years
- Height: up to 66cm
- Weight: up to 28kg
- Dense curly coat
- Webbed feet
- Love water
- String swimmers
- Good with children
Health issues with barbet
Barbets are very rare and so little is known about which hereditary and congenital conditions they may be prone to. However, it is believed that they may be predisposed to ear infections, hernias, epilepsy and hip dysplasia.
What is the barbet bred for?
These water dogs were bred to retrieve waterfowl for hunters.
What sort of owners does the barbet suit?
Barbets are excellent family pets which are good with children. They are naturally obedient and would be excellent choices for first time owners. They do need a reasonable amount of exercise and regular swims to remain truly happy. Barbets are best suited to moderately active people who don’t mind dealing with a dirty or wet dog and who work from home. These dogs are adaptable and can live pretty much anywhere but will be happiest in the countryside or in a home with a large garden.