31-51 lbs
French Water Dog

The Barbet (pronounced Bar-bay) was originally a gun dog used in France to hunt water game. He is not a well-known breed but is beginning to gain popularity outside of France. The Barbet almost became extinct after World War II. He is an ancient breed, dating back to the 16th century. He is devoted to his family and is smart, happy and loving. He is agile and does great in dog sporting events such as agility, Frisbee and lure coursing. He can withstand cold weather and has the ability to go into water in any weather. Somewhat of a high maintenance dog, his coat does require considerable grooming.

purpose Purpose
Gun dog
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Water dog

Barbet Health

Average Size
Male Barbet size stats
Height: 22-26 inches Weight: 37-62 lbs
Female Barbet size stats
Height: 20-24 inches Weight: 31-51 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Cataracts
  • Epilepsy
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Barbet Breed History

The Barbet is also known as the French Water Dog because he was originally bred to be a water retrieving gun dog. Barbet comes from the French word for beard. He is traced back to the 16th century and was bred to flush out water fowl in the wetlands and marshes then retrieve them.  Since then, he has been used for many different tasks including cart pulling and guarding. The first official standard for the Barbet was developed in 1894. He was a popular dog in French literature throughout the ages and was once a common breed. He was also depicted in many paintings where he was hard at work in the marshes hunting for water fowl. It is even rumored that Napoleon owned a Barbet. Many researchers feel that the Barbet was used to create other breeds such as the Briard, Poodle and Bichon. Researchers feel there are other breeds the Barbet contributed to but there is no proof to these claims. The Barbet almost became extinct after the World Wars in the 20th century. However, a few enthusiasts of the breed fought to preserve the breed and there has been a rejuvenation of the breed. Today, the Barbet is gaining popularity, though still considered to be a rare breed. He is evolving into a great family companion. It is uncertain when the Barbet was imported into the United States. They have experienced a surge in popularity and the Barbet Club of America was formed. In 2007, the Barbet began being recorded into the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service.

Barbet Breed Appearance

The Barbet is an ancient breed with a substantial head and a long tail. He has long dense coat that is curly and has a distinctive beard. He has a very unique look with profuse hair that must cover his entire body. His coat has thick, natural curls that can be large and loose or small and tight. The hair on his head should reach the bridge of his nose and he has a beard. His ears are also covered with long hair. His coat should never be cut and should be kept natural and free of mats. His hair should always retain a curl, even after bathing. The Barbet comes in all shades of fawn, brown, black or gray. He can have white markings on his chest or feet. He can also be pied, which is where he is primarily white with shading of fawn, brown, black or gray.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Barbet eyes
amber Barbet eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Barbet nose
brown Barbet nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Barbet coat
brown Barbet coat
fawn Barbet coat
gray Barbet coat
pied Barbet coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Barbet curly coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Barbet Breed Maintenance

Although there is no truly hypoallergenic dog because all dogs have some dander, the Barbet is a good choice for those with allergies. The Barbet has unique hair that does not shed the same as other breeds. He sheds tufts of hair that will come out and are generally removed with weekly brushing. His curls do need to be combed often to prevent matting and keep his skin healthy. When he is groomed, he needs to be combed or brushed completely. This means brushing his coat down to the skin to prevent tangles or mats from forming. When your dog plays in the water, as the Barbet is prone to do, he will need to be groomed after each outing. His hair grows continuously and therefore does require trimming to keep him neat and clean. Owners who are not showing their Barbet may even prefer to clip him down to about two inches so his coat is easier to maintain. Never shave your Barbet completely as his skin needs the protection of his coat. His ears must be plucked to keep excessive hair from growing and trapping dirt in the ear. Keep his ears clean to prevent infection. His nails should be trimmed as needed, usually every 2-3 weeks. The hair between his foot pads should be trimmed as needed.

Brushes for Barbet
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Barbet requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Barbet Temperament

The Barbet is a versatile water fowl gun dog. He loves the water and will jump into pools, ponds or lakes when given a chance. His coat is weather-resistant and he can play in water of any temperature. He makes an exceptional family companion and loves children and other dogs. He should be watched around pet birds since he does still have a high prey drive when it comes to fowl. He is easy to train as long as he is trained using positive reinforcement. The Barbet should not be left alone in the back yard for long, he can become destructive and a nuisance barker. He is not usually wary of strangers, however if he is not socialized properly from a young age, he can become shy and suspicious of new situations. Begin socialization with other dogs and people as soon as your Barbet puppy has received the final vaccination in his puppy series.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes
activity minutes

Barbet Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Barbet Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Barbet size stats at six months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 28.0 lbs
Female Barbet size stats at six months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 21.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Barbet size stats at 12 months
Height: 23.0 inches Weight: 39.0 lbs
Female Barbet size stats at 12 months
Height: 21.0 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Barbet size stats at 18 months
Height: 24.0 inches Weight: 49.5 lbs
Female Barbet size stats at 18 months
Height: 22.0 inches Weight: 41.0 lbs

Barbet Owner Experiences

2 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Man trailing
We are delighted to have found this breed. Hector has a happy, goofy personality and loves being with the family. He has around 2 hours of exercise a week, some off lead and with a pack a couple of times a week. He is very chilled at home once he has had a walk and likes to sit on the sofa with me..He had a long adolescence and I had to do a lot of work with him on recall but he is very responsive now. Total velcro-dog, loves cuddles and wants to be friends with everyone. His coat does need a lot of work - full brush weekly, and part brush every day. has a strong desire to chase birds and to swim in any water he can find regardless of the weather. Is usually wet with coat full of mud, sand and sticks....Rubbish guard dog!
1 year, 4 months ago
1 Year
playing keep away
playing with other dogs
I walked a pretty young Barbet. He has a beautiful curly black coat that needs a lot of regular grooming. He is a huge bundle of energy. He got very excited whenever he saw other dogs or people, and almost knocked them over! He really wanted to be off leash on trail so he could chase around other dogs. He’s very smart, and a little mischievous. If he had something in his mouth he wasn’t supposed to it was next to impossible to get it out. Also he walked best on a harness, as he tended to pull a bit. Overall an extremely happy, loving, and energetic pup.
5 years, 5 months ago
7 Years
Explore the city
Dressing up
I have had so much fun with the barbet that I've walked. He's a big, lovable goon with the softest fur and the sweetest face. He was immediately friendly upon my arrival and doesn't mind getting suited up when we leave, as I understand, barbets are incredibly tolerant breeds. He doesn't seem to get cold too easily, but he's got a big puffy winter jacket and a harness, so the dressing ordeal takes more than a minute. He patiently lets me manipulate him while I put on his gear. As patient as he is with getting suited up, he is equally patient strolling down the stairs. Once we're outside he lets loose a little, but only in that he has a penchant toward taking a few galloping steps on occasion particularly if there is a leaf blowing across the sidewalk, a stick, or, if we're so lucky to have a toy with us. When he is not particularly excited he walks like a show dog. He does very well to walk next to my side and match my own pace. This seems a sign of his intelligence and has compelled me to work with him on tricks a little more than I would with some other dogs‚ÄĒand he loves it. We have a habit of walking a few blocks then stopping for a brief trick break then continuing on for a few more blocks before repeating the process. When we pass other dogs or strangers he is very willing to say hello, but unless initiated by the other dog or the passer-by, he does not insist on meeting anyone. Because of his polite and bouncy nature he does tend to attract the attention and compliments of many strangers. We tend to walk along the boardwalk in Williamsburg where there are many other dogs and people and are frequently stopped along the way so he can get petted, talked to, and talked about by more than a few people. Though he could walk for miles without getting too exhausted, he seems to enjoy these moments so much that I do tend to encourage them. Anyway, it's nice to encourage the additional socialization of any friendly dog. He's more than willing to head in any direction that I lead him and is very good about heading back home, getting his gear off, and settling back in. Usually when we get home he has a brief burst of energy and romps around the apartment for a minute with his favorite toy. The balance between his politeness and his silly side is truly charming.
5 years, 5 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Behavior

I wanted to know if a barbet need to be on a lead at all times, or-if trained properly, he could run around without one.

Book me a walkiee?
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