ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Barbet

Barbet
John Walton
Written by John Walton

This Barbet breed has the cuteness and the kindness of the poodle, and the energy of a terrier. A very rare breed that people know almost nothing about, will leave you speechless with its unique character and temperament. This is a combination of a sporting dog that will accompany you on every hike and a gentle apartment dog that will keep you company on the couch while you watch your favorite movie.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Sporting Dogs
Height:1 foot, 8 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch tall at the shoulder
Weight:Generally 37 to 62 pounds
Life Span:13 to 15 years

Did you know that this furry French is a relative of the Briard and the Poodle? He is kind of known as the muddy cousin of the stylish French poodle. He likes to get dirty and jump in all the puddles, and he’s known as the ‘mud dog’. However, his name actually comes from the word ‘barbe’, which means beard in French, because of his cute bearded face.

He is recognized for his retrieving skills and was used as a water retriever since the time of King Henry IV. Regarding his personality, he is a very intelligent and joyful breed and will make you smile and enjoy every minute of his company.

Playing games of fetch will become your new ‘good morning’ if you get this breed. They are active dogs, who do very well in agility competitions also. However, you will be asked frequently about the type of breed, since they are a pretty rare breed in the US, and was almost extinct in the world.

Main Highlights
  • Sporting dog! You will have company wherever you decide to go hiking or running.
  • Muddy face! They really like getting dirty and that’s why they have the nickname “mud dog”.
  • Low to non-shedding breed. Although, they demand regular brushing and grooming.
  • Non-allergenic? Yes, you should consider this breed if you have any problems with allergies and still want to own a dog.
  • The Barbet is cousins with the Poodle, Briard, Bichon, Newfoundland and few others.
  • Swimming is their favorite sport! They have webbed paws, specifically for swimming.
Breed History

Even though this is a rare breed, it has an impressive history. There are mentions of the Barbet doing different jobs throughout the years and people always refer to the breed with respect and admiration. Despite all this, the breed is not very popular and many people don’t even know it exists. The Barbet nearly got extinct after the WW1, but with the help and devotion of few people, the breed remained alive and well.

It is documented that Henry IV of France, enjoyed the company of his Barbets.

The breed was approved by the AKC in 2010. After that, in 2012, they were accepted to participate in the Retriever hunting tests events. Also, they will start competing in the Miscellaneous class from 2017.

Size

Male Barbets are 22.5 to 25 inches in height; females are a bit shorter, 20.5 to 24 inches high. Their weight varies from 37 to 62 pounds.

Personality and Character

Joyful, friendly and fun-loving dogs, that are nice to everybody. They love being around their family and owners. They are the perfect companion while hiking, traveling and swimming and they are really easy to live with. Whatever you do, you need to satisfy their exercise needs for them to be happy, which means that you’ll be happy too. Leaving them alone may not be a good idea, so plan your time and don’t make that mistake. A lot of alone time for them may make them unsatisfied and bored, turning them to destruction and biting.

Health and Potential Problems

The Barbet is a generally healthy breed, but if you consider getting a puppy, there are some health conditions you need to be aware of.

  • Hip Dysplasia: the problem with the thighbone is common with medium size dogs. It means that the head of the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly in the hip joint. This condition causes discomfort and pain for the dog and may result in limping, long naps, lameness and such symptoms. Dogs that are affected by this disease, or may be carriers, should not be bred. When you get a puppy, ask for clearances for this condition, for the parents of the puppy and the puppy, by the breeder.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: similarly to hip dysplasia, this condition also may affect medium size dogs, however as the name states, the main problem is the elbows. Cause for this condition may be abnormal growth and development, which will make the joints malformed and weak. The treatment is surgery, with weight management, and medicine. Dogs that are affected by this, should not be bred.
  • Entropion: this is a condition of the eye, or it can affect both eyes. You can recognize the condition when you see the eyelid starting to roll inward and irritating the eyeball. A dog that has this problem will rub his eyes, they will be red, and it may be painful for the dog. This condition can be corrected by surgery.
  • Cataract: or simply said vision loss, represents itself as a cloudy appearance on the eye. It is opacity of the lens and it is usually inherited disease, which occurs in older dogs. There are cases when young dogs were affected also. This can be corrected by surgery and treatment.
Care Features

This breed demands a lot of exercise because they are what we call sporting dogs. If you have the chance let them off the leash to run free, in a fenced area, or at least take them for long walks. They need to spend their energy and to be active; otherwise you’ll have an unsatisfied Barbet. Swimming is their favorite exercise, so take them swimming as much as you can. Don’t worry about the cold water, their coat is made that way that it will protect them from the coldest weather. The Barbet will be calm indoors, as long as their needs are met.

It is a general knowledge, that female dogs are calmer and more easy-going than males. When it comes to this breed, both females and males can be raised into wonderful friendly, loving personalities.

Relatively easy to train, this dog will learn quickly, even the complicated tricks. Approach with a positive attitude and you will accomplish a lot in short time. The Barbet doesn’t like harsh training and will refuse to listen to you if you try this method. Consistency and fun are essential in training your Barbet.

Feeding Schedule

Barbets are active dogs and this means that they will need more food per day (or high energy content food). As a medium size breed, with a lifespan around 10 to 12 years, they need food that will satisfy their needs. There are food companies that make food formulas specifically for Barbets, or for medium size dogs and you just need to respect the given feeding chart for each stage of their life. However, if you want to feed your dog in an alternative way, other than kibble, it is a good idea to consult your vet or the breeder.

Every dog is an individual and needs different amounts of food. You will have to determine how much food your dog needs on a daily basis, by how active it is, how much it weighs, how old it is, how fast is his metabolism and so on.

If you’re not sure about any of this, please don’t hesitate to ask your vet, or the breeder.

Coat, Color and Grooming

As a relative of the poodle, you should’ve guessed by now that this breed needs some attention when it comes to grooming. Brushing and combing should become a part of your weekly routine and bathing should be done at least once a month.

If your dog loves swimming, you should groom him more frequently, in order to avoid mats. There are owners that really don’t have the time to groom their dog as needed, so they settle for a short haircut, which is easier to take care of. A couple of inches of hair is much easier to brush, bath and dry, than a show hairstyle.

The ears need special attention, especially if your dog is a swimmer and a diver. You need to check them weekly, for redness, sores or bad odor. Also, it is a good idea to consult with your vet about some options about protection the ear canals, while swimming.

The pads on the feet need to be groomed nicely and frequently, because as it was said, this breed likes the mud. So, if you don’t want your carpets dirty, cut the hair on the pads, and then you will be able to easily wipe them after every walk.

It is good to know that the Barbet has a coat like hair, not like fur. They are not shedders and they need frequent brushing so they won’t get matted. In addition to not matting, the brushing is also good for the skin, because it improves blood circulation. If you sometimes see tufts of hair on the floor or on the carpets, it is because your dog plucked some hair while scratching, not because it sheds.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

Barbets are naturally good with children and pets. However, small children shouldn’t be left alone with any dog; supervision is always needed, just to be safe. All kids need to be taught how to interact with dogs, not to bother them while eating or sleeping and to be gentle with them while playing. No dog will tolerate any harm or rough play with kids, so be careful even with this naturally gentle breed, and supervise any interaction with children.

When it comes to other pets, Barbets usually get along very well with all kinds of pets. It is always better to introduce the other pets, such as cats, at an early age. Socialization is important, and you need to begin with it when your Barbet is just a puppy. This breed loves companionship and playing with other dogs. However, they are a sporting breed and love to chase after small prey, so be careful with pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, or rabbits.

Want to go swimming with your dog? The Barbet is the perfect candidate! Hiking also! They are a sporting breed that loves accompanying their owners everywhere. But if you’re a neat freak, don’t even think about owning an individual of this breed. They are dogs that like to get muddy and jump into puddles. However, if you are grooming and bathing him on a regular basis, then you will also have him sleep on the couch with you, while you drink your tea after a long day!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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