Official Standard of the Barbet


General Appearance: An archetypic 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.

Size, Proportion, Substance: Height at the withers: Dogs 21 to 24½ inches, Bitches 19 to 22½ inches. Weight in proportion to height. Proportions - Measured from point of shoulder to buttocks and withers to ground, the Barbet is slightly longer than tall. Exact proportion is not as important as balance. Substance - Neither coarse nor refined, the Barbet is solidly built with adequate bone to perform his tasks as a true sporting dog.

Head: Of great importance, the head is strong, broad, and proportionally large. Expression is bright, engaging. Eyes of medium size, nearly round in shape, dark hazel to dark brown, harmonizing with the coat color. Eye rims are fully pigmented, corresponding to coat (black for black, black pied or gray dogs; brown for brown or brown pied dogs. Fawn dogs may have either black or brown pigmentation). Ears are wide and are set at eye level. Ear leather reaching at least to the corner of the mouth and fully covered with long hair. Skull is rounded and broad. Occiput is not prominent. Stop is defined, neither abrupt nor sloping. Head planes are nearly parallel. The muzzle is shorter than the skull and is quite square. Bridge of nose is broad. Lower jaw fairly square and strong. Jaws of equal length. The nose is large, with well opened nostrils, fully pigmented in harmony with coat color. Lips are thick, fully pigmented. Flews are tight. Scissors bite, teeth large and strong.

Neck, Topline and Body: Neck is strong, blending well into the body. Back is solid with well sustained level topline, loin is short and slightly arched, croup rounded. The tail is the natural extension of the topline, long and low set. When in motion the tail is carried above horizontal in a sweeping curve but does not curl onto the back. The tail is never docked. Body is athletic with substance, chest is broad, well-developed, deep, reaching the elbow; ribs rounded but not barrellike, underline slightly inclined without tuck-up.

Forequarters: Emphasis is on balance. Shoulders are well laid back and approximately the same length as the upper arm, placing the front legs well under the chest with elbows close to the body. Legs are straight and strong; well boned. Pasterns are strong and flexible. Front dewclaws may be removed. Feet are round, and toes are tight, well-arched. Pads thick.

Hindquarters: Angulation balances with forequarters. Upper thigh is well muscled, stifle well bent, second thigh is well developed, hocks well let-down, short and perpendicular to ground; without dewclaws. Feet same as front.

Coat: The coat of the Barbet is his defining characteristic. Profuse hair covers the whole body evenly with thick, natural curls that range from large and loose to tight, smaller curls. The hair on the top of the head reaches the bridge of the nose. He has a distinctive beard. Ears are covered in long hair. The coat is shown in as natural a state as possible; clean and free from mats. The hair is to retain curl. While scissoring is necessary to keep him neat, excessive sculpting and shaping is to be penalized.

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

Gait: Easy, ground-covering trot with good front reach and impulsion from hindquarters with precise cadence. Feet converge toward the centerline with increased speed. Topline remains level and carriage is smart.

Temperament: 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.


Approved December 9, 2015

Effective January 1, 2017