The early origins of this French water dog have been lost in the mists of time but its roots have been traced back to the Middle Ages. The first references to the breed appeared in the 14th century and the Barbet’s propensity for water, plus its ability to point and retrieve, led to its selective breeding as a waterfowl gun dog over the ensuing centuries. In time, their fearlessness in frigid waters endeared them to sailors as well. In addition, the breed’s versatility was appreciated by shepherds who used them as drovers for their flocks. The ancient Barbet is believed to be the ancestor of many of today¹s breeds, such as the Poodle, Bichon, Griffon, Otterhound, Newfoundland, Briard and several varieties of water dog. Despite its long history, the Barbet began to lose ground to breeds such as the Poodle in the 19th century and faced extinction. Still quite scarce, the Barbet has aroused interest in rare-breed ranks.
Docile and sociable, the Barbet is even-tempered and non-aggressive. This shaggy, friendly dog is reputed to be a wonderful and devoted family pet that dotes on children and gets along well with other animals.
Vigorous and tough, the Barbet currently rates among the top agility dogs in France. He enjoys regular challenging exercise such as swimming, retrieving or hunting.
The medium-sized Barbet falls between 20-25.5 in (53-65 cm) at the withers. The weight ranges from 44-55 lb (20-25 kg).
The thick coat covers the body and is long, woolly, and curly, forming cords. The hair on the head reaches down to the nose and obscures the eyes. A thick beard and moustache completes the appealing picture.
Though many colours are acceptable, the coat should be only one uniform colour. Barbets may be black, grey, chestnut, tawny, red fawn, pied, sandy or white.
Be forewarned: this is a high-maintenance coat. It mats easily, especially if the dog swims often. Breed specialists recommend shaving a puppy between the ages of four to six months to encourage the correct coat growth. After that, regular brushing and combing are a must.
Canadian Kennel Club
Barbet Breed Standard
Origin & Purpose
The Barbet is often cited as being one of the oldest of all French breeds when he was simply known as a Waterdog. He may be considered the ancestor of all breeds with long, wooly or curly hair and a direct cousin to the sheepdog like the Briard. He is excellent at waterfowl work, retrieving and is undeterred and unaffected by icy conditions.
A dog of medium size and proportions with characteristic thick woolly, coat and given to waviness which protects him from cold and damp. The coat forms a beard on the chin to which the breed owes its name.
Even temperament, neither aggressive nor nervous, tractable. Very devoted to his master. Good mixer. Loves water.
Size Height at the withers
Dogs: 22-25½ inches (58-65cm) Bitches: 20-24 inches (53-61 cm) With a tolerance of +/- 1cm.
Coat & Colour
Coat: long, woolly and curly, forming cords. The coat is profuse and, in its natural state, covers the entire body. That is a particular breed characteristic. Since time immemorial, the barbet has been clipped in order to ease his work and lifestyle. According to how he is used, the barbet can present different appearances.
Colour: Solid black, grey, chestnut brown, fawn, pale fawn, white or more or less pied. All shades of red-fawn and pale fawn are permitted preferably the whole body should be the same shade
The coat on the head must fall to the bridge of the nose. The beard is long and ample; the profuse moustache covers the whole muzzle.
Skull: round and broad.
Muzzle: quite square. The bridge of nose is broad and
short. Lips: thick, pigmented,
completely covered by long hair. The pigmentation of the mucous membranes may
be black or brown.
Jaws/teeth: Jaws of equal length. Scissors bite. Strong teeth. Incisors well developed and well aligned.
Eyes: round, preferably dark brown. Ears: set on low (in line with eyes or slightly lower), long, flat, broad, covered by long hair which forms cords. If the ears are held together across the noseleather, they reach (with the hair) at least 5cm beyond it. The ear cartilage reaches beyond the corner of the mouth.
Neck Short and
Forequarters Shoulders: sloping. The scapulo-humeral angle varies from 110 to 115°. Upper arm: strong and muscular. Lower arm: straight, strong, perpendicular, completely covered by long hair. Strong bone structure.
Back: very slightly convex. Loin: arched, short and strong.
Croup: rounded in profile.
Chest: broad, developed, quite deep, rounded ribcage.
Upper thigh: slight slope, well muscled.
Hocks: set low. Well angulated.
Metatarsus: well upright.
Feet: round, broad, covered with hair.
raised, carried above the horizontal when the dog is in action, low set,
forming a slight hook at the tip.
Easy movement, the limbs moving in line with the body. Medium length foreleg stride with good thrust from the hindquarters
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be exact proportion to its degree.
• Head ﬁne and narrow; bridge of nose thin and long; lips thin.
• Light eyes.
• Ears high set (higher than eye level), thin, short and narrow.
• Neck long and thin.
• Top line hollow.
• Loin long and weak.
• Croup straight.
• Chest narrow.
• Tail high set on, curled over back.
• Lack of tail, stumpy tail.
• Shoulders upright.
• Upper arm thin.
• Lower arm ﬁne boned. Forelegs fringed.
• Upper thigh ﬂat; hocks straight; hindlegs fringed. Dewclaws.
• Feet thin and narrow, lacking hair.
• Skin thin.
• Coat short, harsh, not woolly, not curly.
• Colours: Any colour other than those mentioned in the standard.
• Overly shy dogs.
• Overshot or undershot jaw.
• Aggressive dog
Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.