Are you tired of searching for a dog that is big enough to cuddle but is not boastful of their strength? Well, meet the Barbet!

These fluffballs have been loyal companions to humans for centuries and can be your couch owner! Known for their thick, spirally fur, they still have much to offer us. So here we are on a mission to make you fall for this majestic breed—the Barbet. 


Height19-24 inches
Weight35-65 lbs
Life span13-15 years
Exercise needs1 hour daily
TemperamentCalm, Curious, Stubborn
GroomingHigh maintenance

Origin of the Barbet

It all started in the 16th century when the first standard of Barbet was created. The primary purpose of this dog breed was to hunt. Famously known for being gun dogs, Barbets had the skills to catch waterfowl. Nomads used this breed as water-retrieving dogs and also—loyal companions. 

This breed was all over Europe but primarily hunted in France. They have a thick layer of fur that helps them swim without freezing in water. Unfortunately, the Barbet dog breed almost went extinct after the world wars. This led to a massive crisis in the doggo world and for dog enthusiasts. 

However, some enthusiasts put great efforts into breeding these dogs and giving rise to Barbets again. In modern times, Barbets are still very rare, yet popular. But if you are a dog lover, it is impossible not to know about this breed’s uniqueness. They are not just excellent hunters or waterdogs but wonderful companions to hoomans. 

Barbets, the gun dogs, also hold a rich lineage that includes dogs like Bichon, Briard, and Newfoundland. As you can tell by the looks of these breeds, many physical features have been passed to Barbets in the best way possible.

Talking of appearance, let’s jump to the exciting part where we see why Barbets look the way they look- A giant goofball (curly one).

Appearance of the Barbet

The first thing you notice about Barbets is their distinctive appearance. They are draped in heavy, curly furs that make them look like they can’t fit in your lap, but believe us—Barbets are great lap dogs. They are so cozy and cuddly that you can say bye-bye to your large pile of blankets. 

1. Lovable size

These furry buddies can be up to 19-24 inches and weigh around 35-65 pounds. This makes them medium-sized dogs that may look lazy but have the strength and build to hunt. They have a round skull covered with a thick layer of fur coat.

2. Water resistant coat

Their fur coat comes in various colors like black, grey, brown, or yellowish-tanned. As this breed is rare, black and brown, like grey Barbets, are more seen than the others. 

Moreover, the Barbet dog breed has tiny little paws that are also covered with flowing spirals. The reason why these dogs have so much hair is to protect themselves. Being a waterdog is difficult, but Barbets do it effortlessly as their coat is water resistant.  

3. Mustachioed dog

Another feature that catches the eye is their long mustache. Even their name “barbe” comes from a French translation of “beard.” Judging each feature of Barbets is challenging as all their skin is hidden behind coarse, heavy hair. From their eyes to mouths- all undercover!

4. Matching eye colors!

But well, we were lucky enough to find that behind those curtain bangs were the marble eyes. An interesting thing about their eyes is that they match with the coat! For example- if your Barbet has a brown coat, their eyes will probably be golden-brown too. Similarly, black Barbets also have black crystal eyes. In-person, these dogs almost look unreal due to their appearance. 

Personality and Temperament

There is more to the Barbet dog breed than their spiral head appearance. Digging into a dog’s personality and temperament before adopting them is essential. To help you out with that, here are the details for the temperament and personality traits of Barbets:

1. They have a way with other pets

Barbets are great with other pets. So, if you already own a cat and want a dog, you can consider this breed safe. They tend to have a way with other animals and can live peacefully with them under the same roof. The only catch is to train and familiarize them at an early age. It can be hard to adapt to new family members in their adulthood. 

2. Calm and jolly

Their temperament is usually calmer than other dog breeds. Barbets are not an aggressive breed. Instead, they are admired for their jolly nature. We highly recommend the Barbet dog breed if you want an entertaining dog with a “happy-go-lucky” personality.

Also, if your Barbet shows aggression, you can always train them with positive reinforcement techniques.

3. Curious

These dogs are curious about their surroundings. Barbets are the individuals who tell the end of a suspense movie within the first 15 minutes. They are curious and can get excited to solve the mysteries. Hence, you may even catch them running after small animals like hares, squirrels, lizards, or rodents. These are their instincts, adding a comical essence to their personality.

4. Good family dogs

The Barbet dog breed can be a great family dog. They get along well with hooman companions and children. This dog breed can be super affectionate and gentle towards children. Also, due to their hooman pleasing personality, you can train them for socialization. Besides, with their calm temperament and friendly nature, Barbets can fit very well with inexperienced families.

5. Stubborn sometimes

Barbets can be hooman pleasers; in no way do we mean that they don’t throw tantrums. Due to their independent thinking skills, this dog breed can sometimes be stubborn. They won’t even sniff around a food item if they do not like it. No. Matter. What.

6. Water-babies

Due to their rich history of working as hunting dogs who retrieved waterfowl, Barbets are excellent water dogs! They love water, and water loves them. It would be best to take Barbet to water sites as swimming keeps them healthy and prevents boredom. This dog breed is energetic; you must never underestimate them for a couch potato. 

Next time you think YOU are having a bad hair day- think of Barbets. 
a Barbet gazing into the woods as he stands in the midst of a woodland stream

Grooming Needs of the Barbet

Barbet’s coat is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of their grooming. However, every dog has grooming requirements that go beyond their fur coat. So here are the grooming needs of the Barbet dog breed. 

1. Brushing the furry spirals

You should thoroughly brush Barbet’s heavy fur at least 1-2 times weekly. Rest, you can leave it on an “if needed” basis. Meaning when it comes to brushing their hair, here are a few things that you should keep in mind:

  • Tangles and mattings

Due to so many curls on their body, Barbets can struggle with hair tangling. Only a curly-haired girl knows the struggle behind detangling the hair. So, to avoid getting too many hair clots, you should brush their fur daily. Again, you can brush their hair only if you notice problems like matting or tangles.

  • Hair shed

Surprisingly, Barbets shed very little. But sometimes all their hair shed can be stuck in their thick hairlocks. Hence, you must also brush their fur to remove all the unwanted hair.

Ensure to use a slicker brush for combing their fur coat. It will help to loosen their hair. Also, a pin brush will help to fluff up their curls.

2. Bathing and cleaning

How many times you need to bathe a Barbet depends upon the health of the coat. If they are visibly dirty and smell bad, you must bath them. You should use dog-friendly shampoo and soap. Please ensure not to use human products as they can be harsh on their skin and cause irritation. 

For cleaning, you must keep a check on:

  • Ear wax buildups
  • Eye boogers,
  • Debris on paws
  • Dental Health

It would be best to always clean their eye boogers, ears, and paws with a damp cloth. These areas can be home to debris and infections. As fleas and ticks are prevalent with the Barbet dog breed, you must have the dog supplies to keep your dog’s skin healthy.

3. Trimming

You can also trim Barbets at home with proper instructions. You can also get help from grooming professionals to learn about it. It would be best not to shave them as they can cause skin infections, but you can trim their hair. Once you wash their hair, you can trim them as they are wet. 

It is essential to let their curls be in the best health possible. Once you bathe them, you should use the right supplies and let those natural curls shine. For this, you also give them a coconut oil massage. This may make them look like glazed donuts, but it will keep their curls bouncy and healthy. 

Are Barbets Hypoallergenic?

To everyone’s shock- The Barbet dog breed is hypoallergenic. Even though they are covered in thick layers of spiral coat, the shed is minimal. These dogs are suitable for everyone, including people sensitive to allergens. However, just because they shed less does not mean they have less grooming needs.  

Exercise and Training Needs

You should allot at least 1 hour a day for training Barbets. They are highly energetic, and directing their energy in the right direction is essential. For that, you must keep the Barbet dog breed busy and active. We do not recommend more than 20 minutes a day for puppy Barbets. However, you can focus on their physical exercises as they grow up. To make it easier for you and your dog, here is the guide for training the Barbet dog breed:

1. Obedience training

The very first thing to teach your dog is commands. You can train them with good obedience techniques and reward them for following orders. These commands can be very basic, like—”sit,” “run,” or “stop.” Also, you can add your dog’s name after the command so they can associate with it better.

2. Early socialization

Another essential training exercise is to teach socialization at an early age. Puppies can learn faster and adapt better to civilized environments. Also, as Barbets tend to gel well with cats and other animals, you can teach them not to tease the cats at an early age and behave nicely.

Everyday essentials-

  1. Leash training to guide them. You should carry an extra leash just in case they bite one and make you run the whole town after them.
  1. Rewards and positive reinforcement are essential to encourage Barbets to show desirable behaviors.
  1. Dog walking is essential every day. You must walk Barbets at least 10-15 minutes a day.
  1. Fix a schedule and follow it consistently. If it is irregular, Barbets can develop unwanted behavior and get lazy. It is essential to make them feel like training is a “must-do” part of their lives.
  1. Be patient with them. Every dog has a different learning pace, and you must not beat the dogs. It does not teach them but only leads to more destructive behaviors.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, the Barbet dog breed truly holds more personality than most of the other breeds. They have a sense of humor that never fails to impress dog enthusiasts. If willing to give in the effort to match their energy levels, Barbets can also be suitable for new dog owners. 

Their stubbornness can come in between, but there is nothing that a dog cuddle can’t fix!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Barbet a good family dog?

The Barbet dog breed is an excellent dog for families. They have a jolly personality that suits well with children and adults. They are not aggressive and stay calm throughout the day. Also, this dog breed is very affectionate and thrives on human companionship. Lack of socialization or aloofness can cause behavioral problems in Barbets.

What are the cons of the Barbet dog?

There are three main cons of owning a Barbet. Firstly, their long hair locks can get tangled very easily. You will need to comb them and condition them thoroughly to prevent matting. Secondly, Barbet is prone to separation anxiety, so you cannot leave this breed alone for long hours. Thirdly, you must keep this breed busy, as Barbet’s last desire is to be bored.

Are Barbet dogs hypoallergenic?

Surprisingly, YES. The Barbet dog breed is a hypoallergenic dog. Even though they have thick and curly fur coats, they shed much less than other breeds. You only need to brush their coat once or twice weekly if you spot tangles or matting. Rest assured, these dogs are suitable for everyone, even if they are sensitive to danders or allergens.

Are Barbets good apartment dogs?

Absolutely, yes. To adopt this breed, you do not have to buy a villa or a condo. They are medium-sized and can live in an apartment. The only catch is that you must provide them with proper training, daily walks, and an open ground to play in. Until you fulfill their requirements, Barbets can live in an apartment comfortably.

Do Barbet dogs bark a lot?

The barking levels of Barbets depend on their moods. Sometimes, they can be very vocal, while others sit in silence. Generally, from 1-10, they are on a scale of 4 regarding barking. You can expect them to bark the most when they sense a threat or want to alarm you. The rest are just random barks being thrown in the air.

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