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BaxterBoo Blog
November 28, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Barbet

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  • Height: 20"- 25”
  • Weight: 30-60 pounds
  • Historical function: Flushing and retrieving water fowl, fisherman's assistant.
  • Modern function: Hunting, companion, agility
  • AKC classification: Foundation Stock, Sporting Group designation

Physical Characteristics:

The Barbet is a medium-sized dog with a fluffy, curly coat that is weather and water resistant. Coat color may be solid black, brown, fawn, grey or white. There may be white spotting. The most common colors are black or brown with occasional white markings. Some may even appear almost pied. The length is slightly longer than he is tall at the withers. The skull is rounded and broad and the stop is defined. The muzzle is squared, broad, well mustached and bearded. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The eyes are dark brown. The ears are long and set low at eye level or lower. The neck is short and strong. The topline is level. The chest is deep and rounded. The tail is set low and curves up slightly at the end.  

History of the Breed:

The Barbet is an ancient hunting dog that was used by nobles. Though the Barbet is few in number, the breed was the foundation for many modern breeds including all of the water dogs (the Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, American Water Spaniel, etc.) The Barbet nearly became extinct with the World Wars but dedicated breeders saved them. It is still a very rare breed. The French word for beard is "barb" and that is where the breed gets its name. 


The Barbet has an even disposition, is very attached to his master, very sociable, and loves water even when it's very cold. 

  • Best suited for: Active families that will engage/exercise the dog mentally and physically.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog does best 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The coat requires occasional trimming to help keep it neat. The ears need regular cleaning and the hair should be plucked out. More grooming tips can be found here. 
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk or jog. Needs mental and physical exercise to thrive. 
  • Life expectancy: 13-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to ear infections and hip dysplasia.

Breed Club Links: Barbet Club of America Perfect Pairings: Pet Natural Ear Wash for Dogs

Have any stories about a Barbet? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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