The Barbet is a medium-sized water dog covered in a long coat that’s sometimes curly and sometimes wavy. Its large, slightly rounded head is usually covered in wavy hair and a shaggy beard, while its medium-length muzzle and round nose usually peek out. Its strong legs support a sturdy back that leads to a hanging or slightly curled tail. Its webbed feet make it a superb swimmer. The Barbet may not look particularly nimble and agile, but it is.
The Barbet is a happy, carefree pal. An ideal field companion and a sprightly sporting dog, it can fetch and retrieve for hours on end. With a quick wit and intelligence, the Barbet can learn commands quickly and perform at a high level. If you’re interested in agility competitions, you might look for a Barbet. But, keep in mind that this dog is rare—only about a hundred live in the United States.
Around the home, the Barbet enjoys the company of its family. It is probably best suited to living in a home with a large, fenced yard, but it can handle living in close quarters as long as it gets plenty of vigorous, outdoor exercise. If you live near a lake or stream, consider getting a Barbet—it loves splashing around in the water.
The Barbet can live as long as 15 years with relatively few genetic health concerns. Being a larger breed, some may develop hip dysplasia. Grooming the Barbet’s long, waterproof coat is easy, but it takes some time and dedication to prevent matting. Brush it daily and bathe it occasionally—but not too much. If your Barbet spends a lot of time outdoors, it might be wise to keep its coat clipped to prevent twigs, dirt and debris from getting tangled in the curls.
The Barbet is an ancient French water dog, sailor’s companion and, according to some, the basis for other water dogs such as the American Water Spaniel and the Portuguese Water Dog. Its name comes from the French word barbe, or “beard,” in reference to its bearded face. Though no one knows for sure, the Barbet itself may have descended from Briards, Poodles and ancient Asian and North African herding dogs that made their way to Europe.