Canis lupus

Last updated: May 1, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Israel Ruiz/

This dog has the nickname ‘Mud dog’ because it likes to play in muddy, swamp-like areas.


Barbet Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Barbet Conservation Status

Barbet Locations

Barbet Locations

Barbet Facts

Name Of Young
Fun Fact
This dog has the nickname ‘Mud dog’ because it likes to play in muddy, swamp-like areas.
Most Distinctive Feature
this breeds beard
Other Name(s)
Barbet Water Spaniel, French Water Dog, Griffon d'arrêt à Poil Laineux, and Griffon Barbet.
sweet and social
Litter Size
3-7 puppies

Barbet Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Fawn
  • Black
  • White
Skin Type
Top Speed
35 mph
12-14 years

Barbet as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
- lbs
Female weight
- lbs

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species.

View all of the Barbet images!

Share on:

The French word barb means beard. That’s how this dog earned the name Barbet.

Dating back to 16th century France, the Barbet was bred to retrieve ducks and other waterfowl on hunting trips. They are descendants of a few dogs including the poodle, Bichon Frise, and Briard. This dog’s thick, wavy coat is designed to repel water as it dives into lakes, streams, or swamps to complete its retrieving work. This intelligent, agile breed belongs to the sporting group.

See all of our expert product reviews.

Part of this dog’s charm is it looks like it has a beard! A family looking for a friendly, playful dog with an even temperament should give the Barbet close consideration.

The 2 Different Types of Barbet Dogs and Barbet Mixes

Its mixes include:

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Barbet

The Barbet is nicknamed “mud dog” because they love activities in muddy water.

©Maria Sivtseva/

Little shedding activity: Despite having a thick coat, this canine is known to shed very little hair.Grooming attention is essential: This dog’s coat needs a thorough brushing twice each week. Also, taking it to a groomer three or four times a year for a trim is necessary to keep its coat in healthy shape.
Good for family members with allergies: This dog can’t be categorized as hypoallergenic. But its low shedding coat and minimal dander won’t aggravate the allergies of people in a household.Needs a special approach to training: Obedience training requires an owner to make the process fun to keep the attention of this curious, smart dog. Repetitive lessons aren’t effective with this breed.
Loves to play: This dog is a favorable choice for a family with kids who like to run around and play with a shaggy dog!Loves mud and water: Its nickname is ‘mud dog.’ They enjoy jumping, running, and swimming through muddy water. This can be an issue for an owner who wants to keep a dog clean.

Size and Weight

isolated Barbet

Barbets are considered to be grown ups at 18 months old

©Jne Valokuvaus/

Health and Entertainment for your Barbet

See all of our expert product reviews.

They are categorized as a medium in size with a wavy, thick coat of hair. Males of this breed grow to be 26 inches tall from their paws to its head. Females are 24 inches high. When they reach the adult stage of life, a male weighs as much as 62lbs. while females can get to 51lbs. These puppies weigh an average of nine pounds at the age of eight weeks. They are considered adult dogs at 18 months old.

Height (Male):26 inches
Height (Female):24 inches
Weight (Male):62 pounds
Weight (Female):51 pounds

Common Health Issues

close up of a Barbet

Barbets are generally healthy although they may suffer from elbow dysplasia

©Ysbrand Cosijn/

Compared with many other breeds, the Barbet doesn’t have a lot of health issues to consider. But there are some to keep in mind such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). When a dog has this condition, the cells in its eyes deteriorate which eventually results in blindness. It is very difficult for owners to detect this condition in their dogs. However, dogs with this condition may be hesitant to walk around in the dark.

Elbow dysplasia is a health issue for some of these dogs as well. This is when the dog’s elbow joint doesn’t fit together correctly. Surgery may be needed for a severe instance of elbow dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an issue caused by a hip joint that has slipped out of its proper position. It reveals itself as limping and hopping in this active breed. Sometimes the treatment for hip dysplasia is a change in diet to decrease weight. In other cases, surgery is needed to correct the issue.

Common issues of Barbets:

  • PRA
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia

Temperament & Behavior

Retrieving waterfowl from lakes, streams or swamps was the original purpose of this breed. And it served that purpose with gusto! Leaping into muddy water is still one of its favorite things to do.

A household that adds a Barbet to the family is going to get a smart canine with a sweet personality and a love of adventure. Plus, if there’s a swimming pool, lake, or even a creek on the property, family members are sure to be entertained by this four-legged, expert swimmer. Its mischievous behavior is one of this canine’s most appreciated traits.

Barbet vs. Portuguese Waterdog

Although Portuguese Waterdogs bear a close resemblance to Barbets, they’re taller and more adaptable

©Lynda McFaul/

The Barbet and the Portuguese Waterdog are so similar in appearance they could easily be mistaken for one another. They both have that wavy, thick coat made for repelling the water they love to splash around in. The coats of both of these dogs shed very little but require regular grooming maintenance to stay in great condition. In addition, the lifespan of both breeds is about the same. Of course, there are some differences, too.

When it comes to size, adult Barbets and Portuguese Waterdogs fall into about the same weight range. But the Portuguese Waterdog is a little taller. A Barbet has a greater variety of coat colors than a Portuguese Waterdog. A Portuguese Waterdog has a more adaptable nature and is a better choice for owners who live in apartments. Furthermore, the cost of Portuguese Waterdog puppies from a breeder is higher than the cost for Barbet puppies.

How to Take Care of a Barbet

Barbet resting with tongue out

Barbets require weekly brushing and food rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for a healthy coat


Providing the right daily care for a pet means being aware of its dietary, health, grooming, and exercise needs. Whether an owner buys a Barbet puppy from a breeder or adopts a fully grown dog, the care it gets must be appropriate for its stage of life.

The Best Dog Food for Barbets

The nutrients in the daily diet of this breed can help to fight off illness and maintain its overall health. The food given to a puppy is different from the food given to a fully grown dog. Consider this dietary guide:

Barbet puppy food: As a puppy grows, it needs Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to nourish its thick coat as well as its skin. Those fatty acids also give nutrients to a puppy’s developing brain and vision. The development of tissue, bones, muscles, and joints are all served by lean protein in a puppy’s food bowl. Carbohydrates boost a puppy’s energy level for exploring its environment. Calcium strengthens their bones, claws, and teeth.

Barbet adult dog food: Salmon, turkey, brown rice, and other lean proteins in an adult dog’s food continue to nourish its muscles and joints. This is important for a breed that may develop joint issues. Keeping this dog’s eyes healthy with the addition of Vitamin A can serve to guard against PRA. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant helping to protect the dog against disease. Carbohydrates in its daily diet support an adult dog’s high energy level so it can exercise and maintain a normal weight.

Although Barbets tend to enjoy good health, it can’t hurt to hunt down a dog food that helps prevent the most likely health issues, including progressive retinal atrophy, hip and elbow dysplasia.

So A-Z Animals finds that the best Barbet dog food is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food.

When you read the ingredients of this quality food, you’ll find chicken as the first ingredient, followed by wholesome brown rice for fiber and healthy carbs. As a result, there’s adequate glucosamine to ensure optimum joint health, taurine for the eyes and heart, plus omegas and other amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for your Barbet’s wellness from head to toe. They also threw in probiotics for digestion and turmeric, a great natural anti-inflammatory.

Try out Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Large Dog Food, available on Chewy and amazon.

Best Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe designed for large breeds
  • Glucosamine for joint health
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

How much does a Barbet shed? These dogs shed very little. Brushing it twice a week with a slicker brush is an efficient way to remove loose hair.

This dog has a fast-growing coat. So, taking it to a groomer three or four times a year helps keep its hair trimmed and makes weekly grooming maintenance easier.


These dogs are so intelligent that they get bored very easily. Consequently, making the training sessions fun and giving the canine abundant encouragement is going to make obedience training easier.


These canines have a high energy level and need 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise. Setting up an agility course of tunnels, jumps, and bridges in the backyard is one way to get this dog’s legs moving! They’re a familiar sight at agility competitions due to their eagerness to learn and adventurous spirit. Jogging around the neighborhood and visits to the dog park are other sources of exercise.

Apartment life is not a good choice for this breed because of its need for space.


Barbets get along well with children and make for great family pets.

©WilleeCole Photography/

Socializing this puppy is essential. Socialization teaches it how to behave around children and other pets. This dog has a natural tendency to chase and socialization can help it learn when that behavior is appropriate.


This dog gets along well with children. Kids should always be aware of the importance of treating a dog with respect.

Dogs Similar to Barbet

The standard poodle, Briard, and Bichon Frise are all similar to the Barbet.

  • Standard Poodle-This dog shares a high energy level and friendly temperament with the Barbet. But the standard poodle has many more coat colors than the ‘mud dog.’
  • Briard-Both dogs originated in France, have a high energy level and a sweet temperament. However, the briard weighs more and is taller than the Barbet.
  • Bichon Frise-This dog is much smaller than a Barbet. But they both have a quick mind as well as a playful temperament.

Popular names for this dog breed:

  • Bleu
  • Pascal
  • Gaston
  • Percy
  • Ella
  • Dottie
  • Cheree
  • Flori

View all 285 animals that start with B

Share on:
What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Barbet FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a Barbet dog?

This breed belongs to the sporting group. It originally comes from France where it has a history dating back to the 16th century. This dog is featured in some famous works of art. It was bred for the purpose of retrieving water fowl on hunting trips. It’s a great swimmer and even has webbing between its toes!

Today, it is a popular dog for families with or without children. Its wavy coat of thick hair makes it all the more adorable. The lifespan of this breed is 12 to 14 years.

How much does a Barbet puppy cost?

These puppies can be purchased from a breeder at a cost of around $2500.

The yearly cost of vet visits for this breed fall between $400 and $700.

An owner should have a food budget of $35 to $45 a month for this active pooch.

Do Barbet dogs shed?

Yes, but it is a very small amount.

How does a Barbet see with hair over its eyes?

It may look like this dog isn’t able to see with such thick fur everywhere. But the hair over this dog’s eyes is thinner than the hair on the rest of its body. It blows out of the way and is otherwise thin enough for it to see through.

It may look like this dog isn’t able to see with such thick fur everywhere. But the hair over this dog’s eyes is thinner than the hair on the rest of its body. It blows out of the way and is otherwise thin enough for it to see through.

Yes, they are playful, affectionate dogs.

What is a Barbet a mixed with?

Barbets are descendants of a few dog breeds including poodles, Bichon Frise and Briards.

How much does a Barbet weigh?

Males weigh between 37-62 pounds while females weigh 31-51 pounds.

How long does a Barbet live?

Their lifespan is 12-14 years.

Is a Barbet good with kids?

Yes. They have an affectionate, playful nature and like being around kids.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. Barbet Club of America, Available here:
  2. thesprucePets, Available here:
  3. Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Available here:
  4. American Kennel Club, Available here:
  5. Wikipedia, Available here:

Newly Added Animals

A Nile Monitor
Nile Monitor

The Nile monitor is the world's fourth-largest lizard!

A Tokay Gecko
Tokay Gecko

The Tokay gecko gets its onomatopoeic name from its "To-kay!" barking call.

A Tundra Swan
Tundra Swan

“The tundra swan is entirely white except for a yellow marking at the base of their bill!”

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Nile Monitor
Nile Monitor

The Nile monitor is the world's fourth-largest lizard!

A Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

A Cross River Gorilla
Cross River Gorilla

Less than 300 remaining!