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Origin / History The Barbet has been in existence in Europe since the Middle Ages. At that time, this breed was just known as the Waterdog. This breed has been depicted in several drawings and mentioned in various writings during the 16th century. The Barbet nearly became extinct during the late 19th century, because only country folk and poachers used the dog for hunting. Fortunately, though, the breed didn't die out completely. 

This dog is considered the ancestor of many other breeds such as the Portuguese Water Dog, American Water Spaniel, and Poodle. The Barbet is also considered the direct cousin of sheepdogs such as the Briard, with whom this breed is very similar to. In the United States, the number of Barbet remains very low. As of 2008, it has been estimated that there are less than 30 Barbets in the country. Dogs of this breed can be registered with the American Rare Breed Association, the United Kennel Club, or the American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service Program.

Appearance The Barbet has a medium-sized, powerful body. Dogs of this breed have a broad, round skull with a defined stop. They have a very angular muzzle and a short nose bridge. Their lips are thick and pigmented. The eyes of these dogs are round, preferably dark brown in colour, and are hidden by hair on their nose bridge and skull. They have long, flat ears that are set on low and furnished with long tufts. Their legs are strong and give support to their sturdy back. The neck of these dogs is powerful, strong, and short. These dogs have webbed feet, which enable them to be excellent swimmers. Although Barbets don't look agile and nimble, they are.

Colours The coat of these dogs may come in solid black, brown, pale fawn, fawn, grey, and white. All shades of pale fawn and red-fawn are acceptable. Grey and white Barbets are very rare, and mixed colours (except for those which have white on their coat) are considered a fault. The most common colours of Barbets are brown or black with some white markings.

Temperament Barbets are happy, carefree dogs. As sporting dogs, Barbets can retrieve and fetch for many hours. With their intelligence and wit, these dogs are able to learn tasks quickly and they perform these well. At home, these dogs enjoy being with their family.

Height and Weight Male dogs of this breed should be at least 21 inches in height, while females should be at least 20 inches. The weight of these dogs fall between 44 and 55 pounds.

Common Health Problems The Barbet is a fairly healthy dog with few health concerns. Like other large breeds, though, these dogs may be prone to hip dysplasia.

Living Conditions It would be good for these dogs to be provided with a large, fenced yard where they can run around and play. They can, however, live indoors as long as they are given enough exercise. These dogs will also enjoy living near a stream or lake, because they love splashing in water and are very good swimmers.

Exercise Requirements These dogs need plenty of vigorous outdoor exercise. Owners should take these dogs out for long walks daily. It would also bee good for these dogs to be allowed to run around and play.

Training Requirements Being highly intelligent, the Barbet quickly learns new tasks and performs them well. Owners should train their dogs at an early age using kind but firm methods. It's also important for these dogs to be socialized while they are still young.

Life Expectancy Barbets have a life span of 13 to 15 years.

Grooming The coat of Barbets are considered hypoallergenic, which means that they do not have the same shedding issues as most dogs do. Owners should brush the coat of their dogs regularly to keep it in good condition. If not groomed regularly, these dogs may lose small tufts of hair.

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