The Barbet

The breedhistory

The Barbet (pronounced: Barbay) is a very old breed and as with many old breeds the origins are not completely clear. It is said the breed was around much longer, but got his name in the 16th century. There are several drawings and paintings from that time where a dog very similar to the Barbet is pictured.

The Barbet has always been used as a hunting-dog, trained to retrieve shot birds and game and probably pointing and flushing game too. However, the Barbet is also mentioned as a herding- and guard dog. This is not surprising as it was the dog for the people, who did not have money or food enough to keep dogs for every task.

A lot of the breeds we know now are said to be descendants of the Barbet. The Poodle is the most well-known but several herding breeds and even Griffons are said to be (partly) created by Barbet-blood.

During the 19th century the breed was rare, some even say extinct. In the recent history the breed has been bred back using several breeds and dogs of unknown origin. Nowadays the Barbet has a growing group of devoted breeders and owners which will hopefully get the breed into more calm waters.

The breed is relatively healthy. Most Barbets live a long live without many problems. Health problems for which breeding stock is tested in the Netherlands are hip dysplasia (HD) and eye problems (Cataract, PRA, distichiasis and entropion being the main things they are checked for). Nowadays we also have options for DNA tests that check if a dog is a carrier or at risk for a wide scale of diseases, not all applicable to the breed. The Dutch Barbet Club asks for Dutch breeding stock to be tested at Embark or MyDogDNA.
Epilepsy sometimes occurs in the breed. This neurological disease is species-related and can and does occur in all breeds and in non-pedigree dogs. Research is being done in Finland which will hopefully help to understand how this horrible condition can be eradicated, but as it is polygenetic we are a long way off for hoping for a genetic test or a cure. 

A lot has been written about the breed and its origin. Although we feel history is important, we will not try to write down our own version of all that happened as that is not the purpose of this website. 
In our breeding, we keep in mind the history and original function of the breed, but we prefer to concentrate on the current population and figure out how we can help the breed made to last. 


The character is that of a family dog, the Barbet is a social dog who is very attached to his owners. It’s a breed that is relatively easy to raise and train into a well-adjusted pet. When raising a Barbet, remember to stick to your ground rules but don’t be overly firm. The Barbet is a sensitive soul and will not easily forget if you treat him roughly.
The Barbet is a breed that takes a long time to mature mentaly, up to 3 years. Most Barbets retain their playfullness their whole lifes. In general, Barbets are not great guard dogs and will not bark at everything.

It’s an easy-to-train breed who loves to be active in dogsports. Whatever sport you want to try, the Barbet will be happy to try with you! A Barbet does have a mind of its own and will only work wíth you. Don’t expect him to do everything you ask him to do and avoid monotonous work.
We enjoy a wide variety of dogsports. Our main hobby is showing but we’ve tried our dogs at many different classes, including Flyball, Balance&Coordination, Nosework, etc.

Although every individual is different, Barbets in general do not do well when put under pressure. In our opinion, if you are looking for a dog to compete at high levels of dogsports with, the Barbet is not necessarily the best choice. They have talent for a lot of sports but their mentality is not really suited to the hard-core competition spirit.


Barbets are active dogs and need their exercise outside. At least one off-leash walk a day, is much appreciated. If the normal routine gives your Barbet enough exercise, he will not complain if there’s a bit more down-time now and again. At home Barbets are relaxed and calm, if they can release their energy during walks.

Most Barbets are open and social to other living beings, but they are very aware where they belong. They are loyal to their owners. Within their family, they don’t focus on one person and (especialy once adult) they are also obedient to kids in the household.
They love being with their people and like to be included in whatever is going on.
Although they can of course be taught to stay home alone for short times, it’s not a breed for people who are away from home a lot.

We love the happy character of the breed and their always sunny disposition. 

The coat

Één van de redenen dat de Barbet meer en meer bekendheid geniet is zijn vacht. Sommige mensen noemen die hypo-allergeen. Deze term komt van de commerciële Doodle marketing strategie, waarbij gedaan wordt alsof dat de enige hond (of, zoals ze zelf volhouden, ras) is die niet verhaard en die geschikt is allergische mensen.
Dat het vachttype van de Barbet voor veel allergische mensen geen problemen oplevert is waar,maar er bestaat geen hypo-allergene vacht en we willen deze (foutieve en misleidende) term dan ook niet gebruiken.

De reden dat de vacht van de Barbet, en een boel andere rassen waaronder de Waterhonden, vaak geen reactie geeft bij allergische mensen is omdat ze niet verharen zoals ‘normale’ honden.
Ze verliezen wel ondervacht maar deze, en alle huidschilfers, blijven in de vacht hangen. Hieruit kun je automatisch concluderen dat de vacht wel heel regelmatige verzorging nodig heeft.
De meeste allergische mensen kunnen hun eigen Barbet borstelen, maar niet iedereen kan dit doen zonder allergische reactie. Als er geen ander familielid is die de hond kan borstelen, is het slim om iemand ervoor te betalen. Meer informatie hierover staat op de pagina Verzorging.