Barbet (French Water Dog): Breed Information & Characteristics

Country of origin: France
Shoulder height: 53 – 65 cm
Weight: 15 – 25 kg
Age: 12 – 14 years
Colour: black, grey, brown, fawn, sand, white, solid, or piebald
Use: Companion dog, hunting dog

The Barbet or “French Water Dog” belongs to the group of retrievers/scavenger dogs/water dogs. He is one of the oldest European water dogs and comes from France. Today this breed is relatively rare. The passionate hunter and swimmer is an even-tempered, friendly family and companion dog. He is easy to train and versatile.

Origin and history

One of the oldest European water dogs, the Barbet is possibly an ancestor of the Poodle. Known since the Middle Ages, it was used as a herding dog and hunting dog in the coastal regions of France. The name “barbet” means “bearded”. Today the Barbet is not very widespread, it is estimated that there are around 400 to 500 dogs worldwide. In terms of breeding, however, this breed has influenced several hunting dog breeds that exist today. These include the German wire-haired pointer, the Pudelpointer, the Griffon Korthals, and the Irish Water Spaniel.


The Barbet is a medium-sized dog with a thick, woolly coat that reliably protects against cold and moisture. The hair is long, woolly, and frizzy, and forms cords in hounds. Many colors are allowed: solid black, grey, chestnut, fawn, sandy, white, or more or less piebald. The Barbet has a long beard and a lush mustache. The ears are set low and hanging long, with long hair.


The Barbet is an even-tempered, docile and sociable dog. His passions are hunting and water. He is an avid swimmer and doesn’t shy away from ice-cold water.

The Barbet is willing to be submissive and can therefore be trained well and trained in a variety of ways with friendly consistency. It is suitable for dog sports activities up to therapy dogs. The care of the curly coat is relatively time-consuming, but this breed of dog does not shed. With sufficient, intelligent occupation, the Barbet is an absolutely pleasant and friendly companion and the family dog.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *