Barbet (pronounced Bar-Bey) is a Waterdog from France that has been around for centuries. However, it became popular outside of France only in the latter half of the 20th century. Today, the Barbet is a popular family pet or a companion dog all over the world, thanks to its hypoallergenic coat, cheerful disposition, and lively personality. People having allergies to dog dander can easily tolerate Barbets since they do not shed too much. In fact; most waterdogs are hypoallergenic and that includes the Portuguese water dog and Spanish water dog as well. Let us find out more about the fun-loving French water dog breed.
Fun facts about the Barbet
- The word Barbet comes from French barbe meaning beard, owing to the characteristic ‘beard’ in these dogs.
- Many Kennel Clubs were paralyzed after the Second World War and the Barbet clubs were no different. The breed almost became extinct due to this. After the war, many breeders started using Poodles in their Barbet breeding programs to bring them back and that significantly changed the breed’s appearance.
- The Barbet is a medium-sized dog with a dense curly coat. The coat is a distinguishing feature of this breed.
- Breed standards allow different coat colors including black, brown, grey, fawn, pale fawn, red fawn, and white.
- Being water dogs, their coat dries very quickly and does not develop that usual doggy smell even while it is wet.
- Barbet coats can vary in styles, ranging from loose or tight curls (long or open curls) to wavy curls.
- Adult barbets weigh about 18-30 kg (up to 60 lbs) with a withers height of 61 cm or 24 inches.
- They have long, wide ears set at eye level or slightly lower.
- The Barbet’s skull is rounded and broad and they have short, strong necks.
- They also have a characteristic beard that is long and furnished.
- Their long tail has a slight hook at the tip.
What makes Barbets hypoallergenic?
Waterdogs, poodles, and doodles are all known for their hypoallergenic coats. People who are normally allergic to dogs hardly have any reaction around dogs with these types of coats. The reason why these dogs are hypoallergenic is that, while they still have allergens, they are in very small amounts, which hardly bother people. Nevertheless, if you are allergic to dogs and are considering buying or adopting a Barbet, then do try several test runs around them to ensure you are indeed not allergic. Unlike many dog breeds, Barbet coat grows continuously rather than being renewed each season. This is the main reason for the lack of shedding. While the hair occasionally falls out, it remains in the tight curls until it is brushed out. This is why you won’t see too much stray doggy hair on your clothing and furniture.
Where to find a Barbet
Find reputed and ethical breeders of this breed; you can do so by visiting the official club website for the Barbets in the USA. When you talk to or meet several breeders, ask them about their breeding programs and the intention behind them. Good breeders won’t be looking to make money; rather, they’d be more interested in the breed’s welfare. A Barbet puppy is expensive, especially if it comes from pure bloodlines. Depending on the puppy’s parents, your location, and the breeder from whom you buy expect to pay anywhere between $1500 and $3000 for a Barbet pup. Shipping charges can be extra.
Barbets are extremely cheerful dogs. They love to play outside and they love water. No matter how cold it may be, your Barbet will always be ready for a swim! They are friendly, well-balanced dogs that love to learn new things and please their owners. Barbets make excellent therapy pets and many a Barb has helped calm autistic individuals having social and behavioral issues.
This is an energetic dog breed that won’t be overbearing; he loves to go out with his humans. Barbets are excellent with kids, provided you socialize them early on. Most Barbets are not too excitable and that is why they are safe around toddlers. Barbets that grow around cats and other house pets end up becoming best friends with them.
Barbets are active and energetic dogs that need plenty of exercises to keep them mentally and physically fit. Give him enough daily challenges in the form of swims, walks, bike rides, or training combined with mental challenges like hide-and-seek, dog puzzles, etc. You can also look for agility classes near you. They have very high hunting instincts, so you need to train him not to chase game during your walks.
Training your Barbet
Since Barbets are very intelligent and eager to please their owners, training is usually a rewarding and fun time for both the owner and the pet. Use a variety of training techniques to keep your Barbet from getting bored.
In rare cases, training can end up being difficult and no matter what you do your dog just won’t seem to understand what is required of him. Remember that it is absolutely normal for the learning curve to fluctuate over the course of the dog’s life. In the first couple of years of his or her life, a Barbet undergoes many hormonal changes. A male Barbet can get distracted when there is a female in heat. A female can become emotional and unpredictable during her heat cycles. If you feel stuck while training your Babr, try the following tips:
- Play with your Barb every once in a while, forgetting all the rules. These playful dogs love the extra attention from their owners.
- Lower your expectations. Praise and reward your pet when s/he does what you want them to do.
- Do not train when you are sick, low on energy, sad, or upset. Your Barbet can sense your moods and that will reflect in his training.
- Look for trainers or friends having dogs to help you with training.
- Sign up for competitions! This will motivate you to keep going.
If these tips still do not help, you may want to have your Barbet examined by a vet. He/she could have an underlying health issue that may be preventing it from living life to its fullest potential.
Barbets do not shed a lot but a few dead and loose hairs end up getting stuck in his tight curls. This makes it necessary to brush your pet’s coat every day or at least once in 2-3 days. Regular combing ad brushing will also stimulate natural oils under the skin to give the coat a natural glow. Barbets that swim daily must be dried thoroughly to prevent fungal skin issues. Always check your pet’s ears after a swim and dry them as best as you can. If you notice any foul odor from the ears, have it examined by the vet. Regular trimming of nails and daily teeth brushing are other very important aspects of grooming a Barbet.
Barbets are relatively healthy dogs with an average life span of about 13-15 years. There is very little information about common health issues recorded in Barbets. Hip dysplasia is occasionally seen in these dogs, while elbow dysplasia, though rare, is also present in Barbets. A number of cases of epilepsy have also been reported. Like many breeds with long, hairy ears, Barbets are prone to ear infections. Many suffer from eye issues like cataracts, PRA, and abnormal eyelash growth. Barbets also sporadically suffer from skin allergies. Common allergens for barbets are mites, dust, grass, and certain foods.