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Photo: Catherin Arsenault
Photo: Catherin Arsenault



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.

Activity Level

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.



Une des mentions les plus anciennes du barbet remonte au 14e siècle. La propension du barbet à aller dans l’eau, son aptitude à marquer l’arrêt et à rapporter ont fait qu’on a commencé, au cours des siècles suivants, à l’élever de manière sélective comme chien de gibier d’eau. On croit que l’ancien barbet est l’ancêtre des plusieurs races modernes, notamment le caniche, le bichon, l’otterhound, le Terre-Neuve, le briard et diverses variétés de chiens d’eau. Malgré cette longue histoire de collaboration avec l’homme, au cours du 19e siècle, le barbet a perdu du terrain au profit d’autres races, comme le caniche, et a presque disparu.


Ce chien ébouriffé, amical, est un merveilleux chien de famille dévoué et fidèle qui aime les enfants et s’entend bien avec les autres animaux. Il aime faire régulièrement de l’exercice, notamment nager, rapporter ou chasser.


Le barbet, de taille moyenne, mesure 20 à 25 ½ po (53 à 65 cm) au garrot.


Le poil fourni, long et laineux se présente sous plusieurs couleurs mais la robe doit être unicolore.


Unicolore noir, gris, marron, fauve, fauve clair, blanc ou plus ou moins panachée.  Toutes les nuances du fauve rouge et du fauve clair sont acceptées.  La nuance devra de préférence être la même sur l’ensemble du corps.


Cette robe exige beaucoup d’entretien. Elle feutre facilement, surtout si le chien nage souvent. Un entretien régulier avec une brosse et un peigne est absolument nécessaire.

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