The Barbet, commonly referred to as the French Water Dog, is a water-retrieving gun dog whose name comes from the French word for “beard.” Originally bred to flush out and retrieve water fowl from the marshes and wetlands of France, the Barbet is mentioned in history as far back as the 16th century. The first standard for the Barbet was created in 1894.

General Appearance

An archetypal water dog of France, the Barbet is a rustic breed of medium size and balanced proportions which appears in works as early as the 16th century. In profile, the Barbet is slightly rectangular with a substantial head and long, sweeping tail. He has a long, dense covering of curly hair and a distinctive beard (French barbe), which gives the breed its name. An agile athlete, the Barbet has been used primarily to locate, flush, and retrieve birds. He has a cheerful disposition; very social and loyal.


The Barbet is a responsive, loving member of the family. Joyful, bright, and kindly natured, he is a versatile sporting dog and willing participant in many activities. The sensitive Barbet responds to positive interaction and training, and displays an even temperament.


The preferred height for males is 20-23 inches, females 18-21 inches. Quality is not to be sacrificed in favor of size.


All shades of black, gray, brown, fawn; with or without white markings. Pied (primarily white with all shades of black, gray, brown, fawn markings).

Learn more at the Barbet Club of America.