french water dogs

The Barbet is a relatively healthy breed with few identified health concerns and an average lifespan of about 12 - 15 years.  As the number of Barbets continue to grow we are, over time, obtaining more data on the widespread health of the breed. Currently the key issues to be aware of in the Barbet are hip dysplasia, eye disorders including; entropion, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy and allergies. To a lesser extent epilepsy, immune disorders and cancer have also affected the breed.


In addition to being of sound mind and body, our breeding dogs undergo several health tests prior to inclusion in our breeding program.  At two years of age our dogs are radiographed to look for evidence of hip or elbow dysplasia.  Evaluation is obtained by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and dogs with a passing grade, meaning no evidence of dysplasia is found, receive a certificate.  We also require our dogs to be periodically evaluated by an OFA board certified ophthalmologist and be certified normal.  At Northrock in addition to these basic pre-breeding tests we also have cardiac and thyroid testing performed on our dogs and DNA tests for the dilution gene and prcd-pra.  As DNA testing for various traits and health conditions has become more available, many of our dogs also have Embark Veterinary DNA genetic test results included in their health portfolio.


More information about Barbet Health is available at these links:


PRA in the Barbet - An article about Progressive Cone Rod Dystrophy - a form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy which is a late onset eye disease causing blindness. 


CHIC (Canine Health Information Centre) - Breeding requirements for the Barbet. The CHIC database is maintained by the OFA. It is an open database and serves as a research tool for breeders and owners of Barbet. 


         CHIC Benefits (as stated on the CHIC website):

  • For breeders, CHIC provides a reliable source of information regarding dogs they may use in their breeding programs. Using CHIC, breeders can analyze the pedigrees of a proposed breeding for health strengths and weaknesses as well the traditional analysis of conformation, type, and performance strengths and weaknesses.
  • For buyers, the CHIC program provides accurate information about the results of a breeder's health testing. For diseases that are limited to phenotypic evaluations, there are no guarantees. However, the probability that an animal will develop an inherited disease is reduced when its ancestry has been tested normal. Further, as more DNA tests become available and the results are entered into CHIC, the CHIC database will be able to establish whether progeny will be clear, carriers, or affected.


The Barbet Health Survey - This survey has been developed in cooperation with Club Barbet Canada and the Barbet Club of America to help ascertain the significant health concerns in the Barbet. The results of this survey will assist in determining the overall health picture of Barbets and this information will be shared world-wide to interested parties. One of the major goals of this project is to assist Barbet breeders in making better breeding decisions by identifying the most significant health issues in the breed. The health survey results will also assist veterinarians and researchers in caring for, treating, and establishing research protocols for the Barbet.