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Barbet

Life span: 13-15 Years

Height: 56-65cm (Male); 52-62cm (Female)

Weight: 37-62 pounds

Nicknamed “mud dog” this dog loves chasing after water birds and doesn’t mind getting dirty while doing so. Dating back as far as the 16th century, this dog was companion for both royalty and commoners. It’s the perfect breed to play catch with and give you lots of affection!

Physical Characteristics

This breed has a characteristic, dense coat that must at all times remain curly and never be cut, covering its entire body. The curls can be tight or loose and could be either small or big. The facial hair reaches its snout and it has a mustache to go along with it. Its head is big with ears full of hair and hanging, its tail is large and straight, also full of hair, and its paws are webbed. Their coat can be black, brown, light brown, grey, or pied, in which it will be mostly white with any of the previously mentioned colors. They can also have white marks on their chest and feet.

History

Also known as the French Water Dog, this breed was originally used for hunting in water. Records of this breed go back as far as the 16th century, where it is described as a dog to hunt and retrieve waterfowl, although during the ages this dog is mentioned doing different jobs, sometimes just as company. It is believed the Barbet is the ancestor to many dog breeds such as the Poodle or Briard. After World War II, their breed was greatly reduced, almost becoming extinct, and is still a rare breed. In 2007 the breed started being recorded in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service.

Personality

This loving dog is great with children and as a family companion. They especially love anything water related, meaning it is most likely it will want to join you in the pool. This breed gets along with other dogs just fine but may find any pet birds interesting to hunt. If left alone for too long, they might respond with destructive behavior and by being noisy. They respond well to positive reinforcement during training and should be socialized young. Although not naturally wary of strangers, if not properly socialized they might become overly shy.

Health

This sport dog is generally healthy, despite its limited genetic pool. However, they can suffer from:

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.

Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can produce seizures.

Allergies that produce the same symptoms you see in humans, and depending on the cause, different treatments can be used.

Ear Infections, which can be prevented by constant cleaning of any debris or excess wax.

Care

The Barbet needs weekly brushing, especially when shedding, given that this dog sheds in tufts of hair that may get stuck to the rest of its curls and will need to be removed through brushing. When groomed, they will need a complete brushing session accompanied by a bath. After the bath they should be blow dried if you wish to trim (just trim 3-5 inches) its body curls. When you have finished trimming its curls, wet its coat again and let them dry naturally. The nails have to be cut regularly, ears have to be constantly checked for any dirt to prevent infection and their teeth have to be brushed regularly. They cannot be left alone for long and they greatly enjoy the company of their family. Exercise can be done indoors or outdoors, whether it is going for a run, teaching them new tricks, or playing fetch within a fenced yard, but keep in mind they love water above all else. They will also enjoy simply laying on the couch next to you. These agil dogs are also very intelligent and easy to train with positive reinforcement.

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