|Barked: Mon Mar 12, '12 2:58pm PST |
|Any dog's nose is strong enough to find truffles. The issue is training them to alert you when they find them, and not getting distracted by other scents or sights in the woods. Traditional working breeds usually have a strong desire to please the handler and good focus on the task at hand. In my area, people hunt truffles with dogs of many breeds- there is even one trainer that uses Boxers, a breed not normally associated with scent work because of their short nose. All that matters is how work-oriented the dog's personality is, that they focus on the job and don't tire or get distracted easily.
I would guess a Barbet is very similar to a Poodle in working ability/temperament, since they are closely related, in the past even considered the same breed. I have never met a Barbet, but Poodles are known as one of the smartest and most trainable dog breeds, with a good working temperament.
A medium-sized dog like a Barbet can certainly pull or carry small loads. Siberian Huskies are the same size and are famous for their pulling power. But if you want a dog that can substitute for a pony and pull heavy loads (like an adult human) you probably want a larger breed.
I don't know about water rescue, but some people hunt waterfowl in cold weather with Poodles, and they seem to do alright. Not as cold-tolerant as Labrador Retrievers (the most popular gundog) but they're not too delicate either.
I know nothing about water rescue training, so maybe someone else can address that part.
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