French Water Dog

The French Water Dog is a breed of dog from France that was originally used as a waterfowl hunting dog. The characteristic beard that adorns its chin is what gives its name to the Barbet breed, which means "bearded" in French. It stands out for its cheerful character, intelligence and versatility.

General details

The Barbet is a medium-sized, stout dog. Males usually weigh between 17 and 28 kilograms and measure between 58 and 65 centimeters in height. Females reach a height between 53 and 61 cm. Their life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. They belong to Group 8 of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), which groups together retrievers, hunting hounds and water dogs.

Breed history in brief

The Barbet, commonly known as the French Water Dog, is a rather old and admired breed whose first records appear in the 16th century and there are many depictions in both French literature and painting. It was bred to scare away and retrieve waterfowl from French marshes and swamps. World wars in the 20th century caused great damage to the Barbet population, which was on the verge of extinction. Thanks to the efforts of breeders, the breed has recovered and today shows its versatility and affability both as a family member and as a working dog.

Breed characteristics

French Water Dogs have a broad chest and well marked ribs. They have a round, broad head covered with their characteristic curls that partially hide their round, dark eyes. Their muzzle is short and they have a bushy beard typical of the breed. The ears are low set, long, flat and long with long hairs forming tufts. Its tail is not long, although it is very hairy and has a hooked shape. It has an abundant woolly, curly and long coat. Its colors range from brown to black. They may or may not have white markings and a fawn coat. The French Water Dog enjoys playing and learns quickly. They adapt very well to children, they are quite obedient, tolerant and sociable, they establish close relationships with the people who live with them. They love to play in the water where they can stay for long periods of time, even in cold water. They are easy to train and it is advisable that they have contact with other dogs from puppyhood to prevent them from becoming territorial.

Common health problems

This is a breed that is in generally good health, and although they are well adapted to wet and cold climates they can develop certain pathologies. The OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) recommends an evaluation for hip and elbow dysplasia, dilution factor (optional) and ophthalmologic evaluation for progressive retinal atrophy.

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