Breed Category: Herding
Country of Origin: France
Average Size: 51-65 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 20-25 kg
Average Life Span: 13-15 years
Grooming Requirements: High – Long curly coat
Exercise Requirements: High – extremely active
Originally developed in France as a water dog (dogs bred to retrieve birds that had been shot over water) they get their name from the French word for “beard” due to their curly fur giving them the appearance of facial hair.
Their history can be traced by to the mid-17th century, though it’s unclear what all the breeds were that were used to create it, it’s very likely the poodle and or the Briad were a heavy genetic influence. They are similar to Portuguese water dog, a relatively newer breed and it’s likely some of their genetic makeup has found its way into this breed.
Despite having a lengthy history, they remain a rare breed and are rarely seen outside France where they are also uncommon. This is most likely due to their high care requirements, their coats need daily brushing they need a lot of exercise every day. Those that do keep Barbet’s speak highly about their waterfowl retrieving skills, their gameness, eagerness to learn and please and sense of fun and companionship.
Medium in size and build their curly coat is easily their most prominent and defining characteristic. It is this water-resistant coat that makes them so game as water retrieval dogs as it protects them from the often cold water they are asked to retrieve from. Their coat is most often black or brown thought some individuals come in fawn, grey, or black with white highlights. Their coat is virtually non shedding and is fast growing so it needs regularly brushing, detangling and cutting to prevent it becoming a tangled mess and becoming too long. The hair quickly matts if left un brushed for more than a day or two so daily brushing is recommended.
IN hot areas of Australia, a wooly coat on such an active breed may cause heat related issues such as heat stress and skin conditions so in summer it is wise to look at shaving them.
Typically, they are 51 to 65cms tall at the withers and from 20 to 25kg in weight. They are long legged and agile, muscular and strong without be heavy built and constricted in movement. Males are visibly larges than females. Both have large rounded heads with long curly hair covered ears. Their feet are both feathered and webbed making them extremely strong swimmers.
Typical of retrievers, they are fun loving and sweet. They form close loving bonds with their families without developing the overprotective traits of livestock guardian dogs. Being very social, they would much prefer to be in your permanent company than be left alone so if you come from a family that spend longs hours at work or school, this is unlikely the breed for you.
They are intelligent, quick learners that need consistent training or otherwise they will learn bad habits so be firm, fair and consistent with them. They love to learn, and work and play mean the same thing to them.
Bred to retrieve from water, it is inbuilt in their nature. They will plunge headlong over and over into a lake or pond to retrieve stick. If a water play option is not available, they need a daily off-lead run, preferably they would reside on a country property with a large yard for them to self-exercise in as well.
A healthy breed, like all breeds they are not immune to the most common genetic health problems seen in all dogs such as hip dysplasia and epilepsy. Their long hair makes them susceptible to skin and ear infections. Though there is no evidence to suggest inherit genetic problems being common in the breed, with such small numbers the potential for genetic problems is higher than in more common breeds.
Their lifespan is typical of a retriever being 13 to 15 years of age.
You won’t find a Barbet Breeder in Australia, if you wish to source one you will need to travel to France.