The Barbet dog breed

The barbet dog breed was developed in France, but its origins lie further afield. It is thought to be the dog of the Saracens, who arrived in France from the Iberian Peninsula following wars and invasions. It is a very old breed, the first written evidence of its existence dates back to around 1300.  It was a Count of Gascony, at that time, who described a dog with a soft and curly coat that was very common at that time.

It was used extensively for hunting, especially ducks, due to its passion for water and swimming. In fact, it is famous for being unbeatable at hunting waterfowl in the marshes, swamps and estuaries of France, where it is well known.

The barbet has also worked on ship companies to hunt and kill rats and other vermin in ships.  It has also had excellent results as a shepherd dog; this dog is therefore suitable for any type of activity. It has a strong character, a resistant build and a unique spirit of adventure, which encourages it to throw itself into all kinds of situations without fear.

Its name “barbet” was officially attributed to it by a dog lover’s expert of the 16th century, Fouilloux. It is the ancestor of the poodle.

But the barbet is not just a hunting dog, this dog had access to the prestigious homes of the French upper middle class and became a much-loved companion dog. Unfortunately, it is only known in France; in the rest of the world it is almost completely unknown.

It risked extinction in the world wars and it is thanks to Helene Petre, the daughter of Dr Vincenti, who in 1970 in France, decided to resume breeding the breed in her kennel with some barbets that were descendants of her father’s mas dela chapelle.

Character of the barbet dog breed

The Barbet is easy to love, very attached to its family, it is distinguished by its devotion to its carer, but dispenses love and cuddles to anyone who shows it affection. It is the ideal dog for children because it never tires of playing, without ever being aggressive or violent in any way.

He needs constant companionship, because he does not like to be put in a corner, but wants to be included in every activity of his family group, he prefers to be the centre of attention and is suitable for every task, be it companionship, guarding, playing or other. It suffers a lot from loneliness, if left alone it could cause little disasters in the house or garden. It can live happily in a flat, and also with elderly people, as long as it has at least two or three outings a day, as it loves physical exercise and playing in the park.

From time to time, they should also be taken to a river, lake or sea; they love water and enjoy swimming immensely.

It is a hardy breed, especially in the cold, but adapts well to all kinds of weather conditions. It is also a fairly intelligent and cunning breed, easily trained, but must be socialised from an early age, although it gets on well with dogs, cats and other pets.

It is not aggressive with strangers, but it is an excellent alert dog and is very courageous and will try to defend its family if necessary.

Appearance of the barbet dog breed

The Barbet is a medium-sized dog, morphologically falling within the Braccoid breed. Its height at the withers is 58 to 63 cm and its weight ranges from 20 to 30 kg, the female usually weighing slightly less.

It is a dog with good musculature and good bone structure. It has a short but strong neck which is attached to sloping shoulders, the legs are straight and muscular with wide, round feet covered in thick hair which makes them webbed. The tail is low and forms a small hook at the end.

The head of the barbet is broad and round, the muzzle is square and short with a nice pair of whiskers and a long haired beard covering the lips and muzzle. The truffle is black in colour. The eyes are round, lively and very intelligent, covered by long and thick eyebrows that fall over the nasal passage and are almost always covered. The ears, on the other hand, are positioned very low and are almost invisible as they are wrapped in fur.

But the main characteristic of the barbet is the coat. The whole body is uniformly covered with a large amount of thick, curly, wavy and soft fur made up of larger and smaller curls. The coat is usually solid, black, grey, hazel, brown, fawn, white, but can also be piebald with white spots on the chest and legs. Its coat is waterproof and allows it to swim for long periods even in icy waters without any problems.

Care and health of the barbet dog breed

The Barbet is a robust and hardy dog with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

It can, however, suffer from epilepsy, hernias, limb dysplasia and other diseases common to many dog breeds. The barbet’s ears, which are abundantly covered in fur, need special attention to prevent them from getting an ear infection, which is very common in this breed.

As far as looking after their coat is concerned, it should be brushed daily to avoid knots and, depending on the activities they carry out, more frequent bathing than usual may be necessary.  They do not moult, therefore they hardly lose their hair and as they do not have many allergen cells, they are counted among the hypoallergenic breeds.

They are perfectly tolerant of cold and humidity, but you have to be careful of excessive heat.

In terms of diet, it is a sporty dog that, if it gets the right daily exercise, will not gain weight.

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