A Family-Friendly Dog You Can Truly Call Unique


A Very Friendly Pet Who Loves Children, This Bearded “Mud Dog” is Rare in the United States

Those looking for a medium-size pet that is kid-friendly and makes an ideal companion will no doubt fall in love with the Barbet, (pronounced Bar-Bay), a shaggy lug of a dog that’s long been known for its abilities to flush or retrieve waterfowl. Playful and highly intelligent, this breed is the perfect pet for those who live alone but who have an active lifestyle, or families with small children and other pets. Currently there are very few of this breed in the U.S., so you will enjoy having a pet you can truly call unique! The Barbet is one breed that truly loves its “people,” and will be found in whatever room you and your family spend time in, considering itself a real member of the family.


When it comes to dog breeds, the Barbet has been around for quite some time - at least since the 1300s, and perhaps as far back as the eighth century. Often referred to as the French water dog, the Barbet is a relative of the Briard and Poodle breeds, and gets its name from "barbe," a French word for beard, referring to the breed's bearded face.

Relied on for its abilities to assist with waterfowl retrieval, the Barbet was a favorite of King Henry IV. This breed is quite a rarity in the U.S., according to Wikipedia, with only about 200 living in America in 2013. Similar to the Portuguese Water Dog and long confused with the Poodle, the Barbet’s role in the wetlands and marshes of France have characterized its typically dirty, unkempt appearance with the moniker of the "mud dog."


A medium-size breed, the Barbet typically weighs between 35 and 60 pounds, standing about 20 to 25 inches in height. With a thick, curly coat similar to a Poodle's, the most memorable characteristic of the breed is its distinctive beard. The Barbet also has webbed feet which aid in swimming and waterfowl retrieval.

With a waterproof coat often described as long and woolly, the Barbet's hair may range from wavy to curly and unlike fur, will shed in much the same way human hair is lost, in longer strands. Colors include brown, grey, white, fawn, and black, with the most common colors being black or brown with white markings. The Barbet may also be any shade of red- or pale-fawn. It is considered a fault when the breed has any markings other than white.


Fun-loving and intelligent, the Barbet is a friendly, social dog with the temperament of most hunting dog breeds. Often described as goofy, this pup loves companionship, and is well-behaved with children as well as other pets. It is important to note that the Barbet will need to be trained to encourage obedience throughout its life, but dogs of this ilk are quick learners.

An ideal companion for your family, the Barbet loves nothing more than being part of the crowd and will want to be in the same room with you at all times. Always eager to please, your puppy will be happy to learn any new tricks or tasks you may want to teach it.

Living Environment

The Barbet can live in almost any environment, as long as sufficient exercise is provided every day. This breed is active and one that requires a substantial amount of activity and mental stimulation. Potential owners who live in a small home, apartment, or condominium can enjoy owning this breed, as long as plenty of exercise is a regular occurrence. Whether you live in the suburbs or within a rural/farm setting, your pet will be happy as long as it can be active and enjoy the companionship of your family.


Because of its shaggy, curly coat, it is important to brush your pet frequently in order to prevent matting, once or twice per week. While the Barbet is a low-shedding breed, it's still important to remove loose hair and debris which can easily become tangled. You may also want to consider taking your pet to a groomer for a trim two or three times per year to prevent the coat from becoming too shaggy.

Cleaning of the ears is important, too, as the floppy, hairy ears are more prone to infection. Check and clean your pet's ears on a weekly basis.

Health Issues

The average lifespan of the Barbet is 13 to 15 years, and like many other breeds they are prone to hip dysplasia and PRA, or Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Because of the low population of this breed, there is not an abundance of information available about long-term health issues. The few issues which have presented themselves include hernias, ear infection, epilepsy, and undescended testicles.


Barbet (dog).

Retrieved November 16, 2013


Retrieved November 16, 2013

Barbet History.

Retrieved November 16, 2013

Barbet Information.

Retrieved November 16, 2013

Questions people often ask about Barbet puppies

  • +How big does a Barbet get?

  • +Is the Barbet a good family dog?

  • +Is the Barbet easy to train?

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