One of the reasons we love the Barbet is the coat. Not only the fact that it doesn’t shed and is good for sensitive skin but also the look and feel of it.
Every Barbet has a different coat and every owner will have a different grooming routine. Every dog will have a certain length at which the coat is easiest to manage for its groomer.
However, the Barbet is essentially a long-haired breed as the Standard clearly describes. We don’t believe in shaving off the coat completely every few weeks/months to make the upkeep of your dog easy. If you don’t want to take care of the coat: buy a short haired breed!
I hear and read often ‘the shorter the coat the easier to manage’. This is probably true for most dogs, but for example Alba’s coat is easiest to manage if it is not too short. The shorter bits knot more easily and half the forest seems to get stuck in there. In her longer coat she does collect leaves and sticks but most will fall out before we arrive back home.
In this breed there is no ‘showcoat’ vs. ‘sportcoat’. If you want to show your dog, it is normal to show your dog with 8 – 10 cm of hair. That way, the judge can form an opinion of your dogs coat.
The grooming routine best for each dog’s coat will differ with age, the length of the coat and the structure of the coat. What activities we’ve done and the weather also influences how often we groom. A full grooming session takes us about 2 hours.
Brushing is neccesary but will also damage the coat a bit. Too much brushing will not improve the coat and can even increase the amount of matts, even when good materials are used.
In general we advise new owners to brush their Barbet once every week. This way you keep up with any knots forming. Once the coat is adult and the owner more experienced, you will find what works best for you.
To learn how to brush your dog properly, your breeder can advise and show you. There’s also the possibility to do a workshop at some groomers’.
The change from puppycoat to young-dog coat to adult coat can be challenging. Coats are adult around 2 – 3 years of age.
Though the Barbet is a non-shedding breed, you will find that the undercoat comes loose now and then. If you don’t brush your dog enough, little knots of under-wool will form in his coat which he will scratch out.
Grooming for us is brushing the coat but also: clipping the nails, cutting away the hair underneath the feet, cleaning the ears and taking out hair every now and then, cleaning the teeth if necessary, etc. Grooming-time is quality time and though of course it is sometimes unpleasant for the dog (when brushing out a particular nasty knot for example) you should make it a nice experience in general.
The most important tools we use to groom our dogs:
- Chris Christiansen Big K slicker or Les Pooch brush
- Broad comb
Other useful tools:
- Waterblower: a very easy machine to dry and clean your dog after a wet walk or a wash. A great investment!
- Nail clippers
- Nail file (we reccomend the Oster Nail Filer)
- Small clippers to clip the hair underneath the feet
- Scissors, both normal and thinning
Depending on how long you like the coat and what your capabilities are in keeping it on the preferred length yourself, you should find a groomer in your area who knows how to cut a Barbet. Count on a visit every 2 to 3 months to keep your dogs coat in shape.
If you want to cut your Barbet yourself, you’ll need a good pair of scissors (or if you want to clip, a good clipper). Again, a workshop is advisable.