The Barbet is an ancient French breed which was primarily used as a hunter in water games in France in the 14th century. It is said that it came into existence in the 8th century and was used by nobility, ordinary people and royalty as a water retriever. The name comes from the French word ‘barbe’ meaning beard and in the 18th and the 19th century, this breed got different names in different places like ‘Barbone’ in Italy, ‘Barbet’ in France and ‘Pudel’ in Germany. It is also considered to be the most common ancestor of modern breeds like Bichon Frise, Briard, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, and American Water Spaniel. Presently the dog is more famous as a family dog in North America and Scandinavian countries.
Barbet and the Poodle look similar and were considered as a single breed for almost a century.
In 2013, the estimated population in the USA was between 150 -200.
Because the dog gets muddy and wet while catching birds, the expression ‘muddy as a Barbet’ was coined in the 19th century.
Temperament and Personality
The breed is friendly, fun loving and joyful that goes well with seniors as well as family children. They are calm and obedient if they get enough time to play and exercise, but can get themselves dirty while play in the mud. Due to their devotion towards their owners, they don’t like to be left alone for an extended period.
It is an active dog, so it has to exercise daily to keep its mind and body fit. Moreover, they don’t like to stay indoors. Take them for leash walks or dog parks and play games with them like Frisbee, fetching and take them for swimming as they are expert swimmers.
The breed is a minimal shedder, so grooming is not very difficult. Brush its fur twice or thrice a week with a thick bristled brush to avoid mats, tangles, and debris. Trim its hair to keep away from brushing and also keep its nails clipped. Brush its teeth regularly and check its ears to prevent it from any infection.
Like the Poodle it can also be prone to hip dysplasia. It can also develop ear infection like most other water dogs and may even suffer from epilepsy, undershot/overshot bites, undescended testicles or a hernia.
The Barbet is very intelligent and can catch things quickly. They tend to get distracted easily and indulge in running behind small animals and birds. But they should learn to listen to the commands and reward them when they do so, especially when they pass a water body or birds around. Teach them to socialize with people during their initial stage to avoid aggressiveness.
Provide them with 2½ to 3 cups of good quality dry food split into two or three meals every day. However, the exact amount depends on their metabolism, age, size, and energy.