A Barbet is a French water dog of medium size. It is recognizable for its furry coat which is also responsible for its name. The term “barbe” translates as “beard” in English. According to the French Kennel Club, the Barbet is listed as a flushing and a retriever dog, besides being a water dog. But what defines the Barbet breed is its high intelligence.


These dogs are highly trainable and learn instructions and tricks really fast. This is one of the train that has made them very useful for hunters in the past and it also comes in handy today. The Barbet is also a very cheerful type of a dog that can be a good pet and a fabulous companion.

History & Origins

The Barbet is a very important type of a dog in the dog world. This breed goes back a long time and is said to be the cause of most of the water dogs that we have today. The Grand Barbet, described in Count George Louis Buffon’s book “Histoire Naturelle,” presents this dog as the forefather of all the water dog breeds that have developed along the years. But the origin of Barbet is still shrouded in mystery as there are not a lot of information to support their history before. Some assume that it came from early herding dogs in France while others link it with the Komondor.

Nevertheless, the Barbet was an all-around dog in its early stages. It was a working dog and was treated as such, since it provided help in various fields. But this dog eventually came to be known as a waterfowl retriever in the marshes, wetlands, and estuaries of France. Because of this, an expression “muddy as a Barbet” was coined.


Brown Barbet

In the early periods, Poodles and Barbets were considered to be one and the same. There were no distinctions that people could see between them. But modern times allowed the difference to be seen and we now have two separate breeds standing apart. But with time, Poodles were groomed to be aesthetically pleasing and they were developed to have pure colored coats. On the other hand, the Barbets were considered lesser dogs and kept their title as working dogs and were not really praised as show dogs like the Poodles.

Barbet Characteristics & Temperament

The Barbet is seen as a very intelligent dog with lots of energy. It is a type of a dog that is highly trainable and one which does not require so much time to train. But you do need patience and skill to train them properly. These dogs can develop when they have a skilled trainer and it allows them to lean more tricks. They are good at agility and skill challenges and can be thought to do different things. This also means that when owning one you have to provide them with lots of exercises. Walking them is okay, but you should also play with them and allow them to run around the yard at least.


Barbet in Snow

Since this is a working dog it is also a versatile breed. It can adapt into any setting and does not mind living in an apartment. Barbets are loyal and can be good watch dogs if you need them to be. They also do not mind the company of children and enjoy playing with them very much. You will enjoy having this type of a dog and it too will enjoy your company.

Appearance, Colors, Size

The Barbet is a medium sized dog. They are mostly characterized with their furry coats which is their trademark. The standard size for a Barbet is somewhere around 58–65 cm (23–26 in) for make dogs, while females are 53–61 cm (21–24 in).


Black Barbet

The Barbet appears like your standard water dog. It has a long, wooly coat, which is waterproof of course and comes with webbed feet for better swimming. Since these dogs are not as pure breed as the Poodles are, there are some color alternations that appear. But the most common colors include solid black, brown, fawn, grey, pale fawn, white or more or less pied. These are consider to be standard for this breed.  Red-fawn and pale fawn shades are also permitted, but the shade has to the same color as the body. There is also an occurrence of grey and white mixture, but these are extremely rare.

Barbet Health

The Barbet is considered to be a healthy type of a dog with few health problems. The average lifespan of a Barbet is set between 13 and 15 years. But there are cases where the dogs may live longer than that with a recorded instance when a Barbet reached an age of 19 years.

It has been concluded that the most common health problems a Barbet could have are ear infections, hip dysplasia, hernias, undescended testicles, undershot/overshot bites, and epilepsy. The most severe problem for a Barbet are ear infections which is the case with most water dogs. You should consult your veterinarian for any problems that you may have with your dog and you will learn how to take care of them as well.

Grooming & Shedding

The trademark symbol of a Barbet is its fur. It can either be wavy or curly but the main thing is that their coats are long. This also means that they need a lot of maintenance to look good. The main thing that you have to do is of course brush the hair of your dog every day. Making sure that the coat is nice and neat will help the dog look better and generally be healthier. If you don’t do that, the dog will become matted and its hair will start falling out in cloves.


Barbet Dogs

Due to its long hair, the Barbet can have all kinds of stuff tangled in its fur. From leaves to twigs to even some unexpected items. You should inspect your dog when bruising them and giving them a good comb over at least once a day. These are water dogs, so they don’t mind bathing and their fur is waterproofed. Another advantage that the Barbet has is that it does not shed a lot. This is certainly great news for people with allergies.

Price and Breeders

Barbets have fallen in numbers in modern times. But fortunately the latest surge has managed to raise their numbers a bit and allow the Barbet population to flourish one more time. You can thank the breeders from North America and Scandinavia, since the population of these dogs has reached a new renaissance there. Buying a puppy Barbet will cost you somewhere between 600 and 1,000 dollars.


8 Weeks Old Barbet Puppies

Barbet Rescue

Rescuing a Barbet is pretty easy to do now. With the surging popularity that this dog has been getting and with more and more breeders wanting to develop the dog, it gave way to more rescue organizations being present. If you want to rescue a Barbet dog, just contact The Barbet Club of America or the AKC Breed Clubs, which have constituents all over Europe.