The Barbet (pronounced bar-bay) is a dog of French origin. The name Barbet comes from the French word barbe, meaning beard.  Recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) in 2006 they are a part of the Sporting Group.  Originally bred as waterfowl retrievers, the Barbet is a versatile and friendly dog.   Originating in France, the Barbet is not a very well known breed in Canada but numbers are steadily increasing and as of 2017, over 1000 individual Barbets have been registered with the CKC. The wait can be long for a Barbet puppy but as a passionate breed enthusiast, I can assure you, it is well worth it. 

Barbets are medium sized sporting dogs that are athletic and require good amount of exercise. They are sweet and loving and make an excellent family pet. These good natured dogs are willing to please but also very intelligent and one must provide suitable exercise (both mental and physical) and consistent leadership.  This breed thrives on companionship and engagement with their owners. As their numbers grow, we are seeing more Barbets participating in many different areas such as conformation, rally, obedience, lure-coursing, agility, dock diving and therapy work.  

When considering a Barbet as a pet their grooming needs must not be downplayed.  They have a coat which is considered to be good for those with allergies but if you have sensitivities to dogs I would advise you to spend some time around some Barbets to see if they affect you in this way. Please understand that low-shedding does not mean low-maintenance and the Barbet should be groomed often.  You should plan on thoroughly brushing your dog out on a weekly basis. Their profuse coat grows continuously and will form wooly strands. If left unattended it will also form thick mats. This is a breed that truly requires regular brushing and combing if you want to maintain it’s coat in beautiful condition. The breed may be kept in a shorter clip to suit your lifestyle but many of us Barbet lovers find their longer coats and beards to be part of their charm.


Photo by Helle. Fisher

french water dogs