Illustration of Barbet (Imp)

The Barbet (pronounced Bar-bay) is a French retriever and water dog whose origins can be traced back to at least the 1700s. Traditionally, the Barbet was used to flush and retrieve waterfowl in the marshes and lakes of France, and it is thought that the breed was used in the development of other breeds like the Poodle (originally a duck retriever also) and the Curly Coated Retriever.

His French title Le Chien Barbet (the Bearded Dog) describes his thick and protective coat, and his well-furnished muzzle. Standing around 53-65 cm, the Barbet is sturdily built, of square outline and his dense coat should remain untrimmed – he is essentially a rustic, at home in mud and water. City dwellers take note! He is also intelligent and loyal to his owners.

During the World Wars the Barbet population, never prolific, dwindled even further but from the late 20th Century there has been some resurgence of his popularity as a good worker in the field. He has also shown ability as a search and rescue dog, and in the show rings of Europe and America, the breed has gained some momentum.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
More than once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Small House
Minimum Garden Size
Over 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Gundog Breed Group

Dogs that were originally trained to find live game and/or to retrieve game that had been shot and wounded. This group is divided into four categories - Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters - although many of the breeds are capable of doing the same work as the other sub-groups. They make good companions, their temperament making them ideal all-round family dogs.

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