The Barbet is often called the “Mud Dog”; as its impishness entices it to muddy and swampy places. This rare woolly breed is sporting, intelligent, smart and fun-loving. It is a fine hunter and the best family companion. He has the prestigious sporting group designation. His real name comes from the French word, ‘barbe’ which means beard; as it has a breaded face. He has webbed feet; making him ideal for water swimming.

Barbet Breed Information

The Barbet belongs to France. The written reference about the Barbet dates back to 1387; though the breed might have emerged as early as eight century. For several centuries it has served as a water retriever for royal people and commoners alike; as its thick coat won him the reputation of braving even the chilliest water. King Henry IV (1553 -1610) was a great royal fan of the breed and according to one legendary tale; his mistress was rebuked for bringing the Barbet to Church. The King of France (1589 -1610) also enjoyed playing water howling with it. It was about to extinct at the end of World War I, but due to efforts of the lovers; the breed was saved.
The barbet is a versatile, joyful, obedient and intelligent dog. He tops the rank as an agile dog and loves to chase the flying discs and balls. It can be easily trained and required lifelong obedience training. It is able to retrieve for waterfowl hunting; and in France it can take the basic water retrieving test, Test d'Aptitudes Naturelles (T.A.N.); and is permitted to take part in the BCE (Brevet de Chasse a l'Eau); a general hunting test involving field and water trials. Since 2012, Barbet is approved to play the retriever hunting test; and AKC companion events since 2010.
  • Activity Level: 4/5 (highly active)
  • Intelligence Level: 4/5 (very intelligent)
  • Curiosity: 4/5 (high curiosity, easy to train)
  • Friendliness: 3.5/5 (friendly with family and kids, sometimes friendly with strangers)
  • Vocal: 3/5 (moderately vocal)
The Barbet has a long woolly water proof coat. It can be wavy or curly; and its colour can be grey, solid black, brown, fawn, pale fawn, red fawn and white; and may have white marking on the chest. It has webbed paws for swimming.
  • Fur: The fur is thick, long; which can be wavy or curly; in colours such as red, white, black or fawn.
  • Eyes: The facial hair covers the eyes fully.
  • Body Structure: The body is medium in size.
  • Facial Features: The face is bearded which covers the entire face.
  • Weight: They weigh about 13.5kg to 23kg.
Health and Care
The Barbets shed little and are less prone to allergies. It can have genetic disorder; which is generally avoided due to small size and careful breeding. The few health issues can be epilepsy, hip dysplasia, hernias, ear infection and entropion, but most of the problems could be traced back 4-6 generations. Daily brushing and combing is a must to prevent the formation of mats. The coat can easily picks up burrs, leaves or twigs, so they require grooming session after walk. Sometime their coat has to be cut short for helping in maintenance.
We have gathered this information from our breeders based on their experience with this breed. However, remember that each animal is different with its own personality and needs (just like people!), so use this information wisely. Do you know more about this breed and want to share your knowledge with us? Send us an email at