Barbet: origins, characteristics, care and photos!

Barbet: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The barbet or French water dog is distinguished by its abundant long and...

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The barbet or French water dog is distinguished by its abundant long and curly coat, its strong appearance and its great fascination with water. Its most accepted origin is French and they are excellent hunters, swimmers, shepherds and companion dogs. They are very loyal, intelligent and noble dogs who will maintain a strong bond with their guardians while adapting to changes, cold climates and new family members or pets.

Do you want to know more about Barbet? Continue reading this PlanèteAnimal sheet to learn all about this great breed of dog: from its origin, its characteristics, its education and care, to its he alth problems and where to adopt it.Stay with us until the end!


  • Europe
  • France

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group VIII

Physical Characteristics

  • Rustic
  • Muscular
  • Proportional
  • Short ears


  • Average


  • 55-70

Adult Weight

  • 25-45

Life expectancy

  • 10-12

Recommended physical activity

  • High


  • Balanced
  • Strong
  • Society
  • Smart
  • Active
  • Docile
  • Submitted

Ideal for

  • Children
  • The hunt
  • Shepherd
  • Sports


  • Harness

Recommended climate

  • Cold

Hair type

  • Curly
  • Big

Origin of the barbet dog

The origin of the barbet dog is not well established, as there are several theories. The most accepted claims that this breed is of French origin, where it was used as a hunting dog in swamps and rivers.For this reason, the barbet is a dog that was called the French Water Dog and rose in popularity, until it became part of roy alty when King Henry IV adopted one. In France, there are traces of this breed since the 16th century, which makes it a very old breed. According to other theories, it comes from Poland or even North Africa and was imported to Europe in the Middle Ages.

The barbet dog was on the brink of extinction during World War II, but three experts who loved this breed ensured that didn't happen by reactivating its breeding.

This dog spread until its genes, after several centuries, helped form breeds of most sheepdogs and the poodle. The Federation Cynologique Internationale approved this breed in 1954 and its official standard in 2006. In 2005, it was recognized by the United Kennel Club. It is believed that today there are about 1,000 dogs of this breed in France, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Canada.

Characteristics of the barbet dog

The barbet breed is medium to large in size and is characterized primarily by a very profuse curly coat that covers its entire body, including the legs and face. The rest of the physical characteristics that define a barbet breed dog are:

  • Height at the withers of 58-65 cm in males and 53-61 cm in females.
  • Weight between 17 and 30 kg.
  • Good muscles and good bone structure.
  • Round, large head with eyes of similar characteristics.
  • Brown or black eyelid edges.
  • Short, slightly square muzzle.
  • Black Nose.
  • A long beard forms under the chin.
  • Flat, low and wide ears.
  • Thick lips.
  • Strong and short neck.
  • The chest is well developed.
  • Strong and thick limbs.
  • Low tail, curved inwards, hooked.

In addition, this dog's skin is very thick, which, together with its dense and padded coat, allows it to withstand the cold, as well as to spend a lot of time in water or in humid areas. , hence its water dog name.

Colors of the barbet dog or the French water dog

The accepted colors for this breed of dog are:

  • Black.
  • Grey.
  • Brown.
  • Light fawn.
  • Sand.
  • White.

Character of the barbet or French water dog

The barbet dog is friendly, family-friendly, fun, playful and sociable, making it ideal for families with children. He will love going outside to play, and if there is water nearby.Moreover ! They are excellent swimmers and they love the water, but you should always be careful and not neglect them if they bathe in a river, pool or beach to avoid possible accidents.

They usually don't exhibit behavioral issues, but if they are alone for many hours a day without physical activity, the risk of anxiety or destructive behaviors around the home will increase.

This dog gets along well with other dogs and even with animals of other species, and tolerates human newcomers to the house and guests very well. In general, they are dogs of very good character who will develop very close relationships with the members of the family who take care of them.

Education of the barbet or French water dog

Raising a barbet dog is usually simple, as they are very intelligent, attentive and obedient.Remember that any dog training must be constant, patient and disciplined. He will quickly learn tricks and commands and you can get a good education in a short time that will turn him into a docile, loyal, educated and obedient adult dog.

From the month of life, the period of socialization of these dogs should begin, and from there one can begin his education. Positive reinforcement should be used to achieve adequate and comfortable training.

Remember this is a dog that can develop destructive behaviors if he feels lonely and lacks exercise, so he needs a moderate amount of exercise to maintain this behavioral balance.

Caring for a barbet dog

These dogs require a lot of outdoor physical activity, because they are so active that they need space to develop their full potential and thus stay he althy, happy and balanced.Sports practices such as agility or swimming will be very beneficial for this breed.

Although they don't require much care, they do require the basics of all dogs: walks, play, plenty of food spread over several times a day to be good sized dogs and contain all necessary nutrients but without becoming excessive to avoid obesity, as they tend to be gluttons.

Hygiene is paramount, the coat of these dogs is abundant, dense and curly, so at least one bath per month, brushing and trimming every six months is essential.

Vet visits are necessary, often for deworming, vaccinations and routine checks, as well as any consultation before symptoms appear that indicate something is wrong.

He alth of the barbet

The barbet dog is generally strong and he althy, with a life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years. However, we must take into consideration the following diseases which, by the size and breed of this dog, can have a relative frequency:

  • Otitis: being exposed to aquatic places can increase the predisposition to suffer from inflammation and / or a painful infection of the ear. It is important to monitor the condition of the ears of the barbet, especially if they are in contact with water and to clean them when this is the case.
  • Epilepsy: Due to an inherited condition, they show unexpected signs of seizures that usually last for a very short time.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy: degenerative and progressive hereditary disease that eventually leads to blindness in dogs.
  • Hip dysplasia: disease that affects the hip joint, largely due to its large size and rapid growth and its hereditary nature, being a degenerative disease that can lead to problems in mobility, lameness and pain.
  • Elbow dysplasia: similar to the above but affecting the elbow joint, also causing walking problems, lameness and pain.
  • Hernia: disc, umbilical and perineal herniations can also appear in the barbet.

In cold climates or if they are wet for a long time after a bath in winter, they may develop respiratory problems due to cold, such as inflammation of the trachea or tracheitis and other respiratory problems or pulmonary.

Where to adopt a barbet dog

This dog can be adopted if you're lucky from shelters or animal protection associations, although it's not usually common. Otherwise, you can always ask in these centers if they know someone or an association that offers the possibility of adopting one of these dogs, or you can contact associations specializing in the rescue of this breed and ask for the same thing.

The barbet dog is very good and docile, but we remind you that he needs to be outside, so in a house with a garden and with the possibility of going outside frequently.Adopting a dog is not a whim and it is necessary to think carefully about your decision before adopting.

Pictures of Barbet

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