Vero Shaw: The Book of the Dog 1881

Fabulous book. I have had it in my hands which is not the same as online, but being able to access it is grandiose.

illustratedbooko00shawrich_0024 - Copie

In the first pages you will see the “mindmap” above, that shows very clearly that the water dog  is the ancestor to  all  rough coated water dogs and clearly not the Barbet. There has not ever been enough research done on this theme and  most everyone, unfortunately jumped on the bandwagon with not an ouce of proof. The Barbet as a breed does not at all date back to any kind of antiquity! It is a breed that was put together like all others in the late 1800’s.

It was a working gundog for a short time as a breed and not as a poodle. Its standard dates to 1886 for a Barbet d’arrêt.

Sad that it never really made it as a working gundog, and even less so than its cousin the Griffon BOULET, either extinct or on the verge of boulet

extinction, that it ressembled before it was  re-converted into a Poodle, the poodle having come before the French Barbet, but most likely was not the first ever rough coated waterdog…that is a myth.

Back at the beginning of the 20th century, the English gundogs were preferred over the barbet type dogs, because of the maintenance ( or lack of) of their coat. It is much worse of a situation today since there is less and less marshland in France, more and more people very adamant about hunting and fearful of having any type of hunting dog. Those beliefs unfortunately again, are deeply embedded in neophytes’ minds because a dog may have natural instinct, but that does not BY ANY STRETCH of the imagination mean he will be a natural- obedient- gundog. The gundogs require a lot of training and that is why trainers exist.

The French breed club again, insisting on the Barbet remaining a gundog which it has not really been in over one hundred years is absolutely absurd.

People who claim that any Barbet is a working gundog retriever or whatever you wanto to claim must then explain HOW the Barbet works…and there are TREMENDOUS differences between the different waterdog breeds ( the Poodle being a waterdog, the Puli being a waterdog)! All they have in common is a coat..and hair that keeps growing…. that’s it.



Puppy weights

An official veterinary thesis was written in 1991, by O. Chapusot, for the ECOLE NATIONALE VETERINAIRE D’ALFORT, in France. It dealt with the Barbet past ( 1930 ) and present. This means that the 2  lines were dealt with.

Among other items covered in the thesis was the weight of puppies.

It is, of course, very important to have documented weight curves and whenever possible, share them. Not much has been done to that effect other than what we manage to get ahold of once in a while. Most everything is kept hushhush for some unknown reasons.

In a club bulletin a few years ago,  a breeder  had published the weight curve of his litter. I believe that was the only time I have ever seen anything having to do with the subject since the weights given by Dr Vincenti of the Mas de la Chapelle kennel in the 30’s. This thesis used these weights and compared them to the Modern Barbet ( yes, it exists regardless of some sites claiming there is only one breed).

Finally today, through 2  completely different litters, I was able to pull out the document and check the veracity of the information.

Here you have a photo of 2 pups. One is from what I would like to call an “old” line and the other from a “modern” one. The composition of the litters relies mostly on what kennel names you want to work with or stay away from for various reasons.


The black pup is 8 weeks old and the brown one, 9. There is a 2-kilo difference between these 2 females. That is documented below in the chart.


When planning a litter, it is  vital to take all aspects of the stud or female ( I don’t use word bitch, because I don’t like it). This means the lineage, the size, the weight, the coat type, the morphology ( defects of the one or the other), not just 0% inbreeding as often is the case ( mixing oranges and apples) and how you can come out with something even better. I said absolutely nothing about breeding for color.

An “old” line female’s adult size would be 50-ish to great maximum 55cms. (some of the Griffon types with Chien de Crau are around 55)

A “modern” line female will size up to 61+ cms, with many around 58/59cms. They mostly have Poodle in the pedigree (some PWD) + Canaille de Verbaux (kennel) which, when selected only on curls ( tight/ frizzy) and known for very long legs with “lots of air between the legs” give us the dogs we very often see today.

Below is the weight curve of a litter in 2002. Tiboubou is Booly Wooly’s father. His weight at 2 months was 7 kilos. Son Booly Wooly’s was the same. Tiboubou is 64 cms. Booly Wooly is 59.5 and weighs 23kilos, about the same as his father. It was important to be able to follow up on this information years later to crosscheck it.


It will be extremely interesting to follow the growth of these 2 little girls and see if they fit the pattern. I think they will, what do you think? The male was about 7kilos.

If you are wondering why the breed club in France does nothing about the Barbet any more, wonder no more: there is “only” one type, because there is too much animosity among breeders to admit to 2 and secondly, they have very little information on the breed’s evolution historically and in the last 30 years.

Here is a link to another weight chart:



The power of conviction

Depending on who you want to believe (or what), the country they/you live in or what documented research has been done( which in many cases has not been done). The issue here is the popular belief that the BARBET is the ancestor to the POODLE, and that appears to be not at all the case. People believe the Barbet is a breed and has been for centuries and centuries, going back to antiquity, Henri IV, the Royals in France and what have you.

It appears that a rough coated water dog ( not spaniel?) would be the ancestor to the other water dogs, but by no stretch of the imagination is the Barbet as we think of it today, an old breed who made it down to us through thick and thin, wars and everything else that has happened on this planet.

France originated this, of course and through the years the beliefs of some who created a club and followers who created a myth.

Thanks to internet, books available in several countries and people’s contributions from those different countries, we have managed to get to this conclusion. Next step is coming soon.

Enjoy the pictures, they are self explanatory.

As an example:

The Dutch version


The French version:


The German version:



The Ebay version:




And most important, the British version…since this etching is from a Britsih artist!



………..and so it goes with the “Grand Barbet”:

In Germany:


In The UK:


In France:


In Italy:





It used to be…

It used to be that breeders were extremely proud to announce litters 6 months ahead of time: so and so will be mated to so and so because of this and that…Nowadays, some breeders think that by just announcing their female is going to produce, it’s enough to get the list of “would-be” buyers going. People just wanting a Barbet regardless of the selection of the male, who does have something to do with it, or doesn’t he?

I wonder why that is the case. Isn’t a combination based on a selection of complementary attributes of one or the other to produce dogs as close to the ideal of the standard? ………or is it that there is not an ideal and we go back to the original description of what a generic Barbet is?


Looking back at Barbet, Poodle type

BB_esturgeonneThis is a Barbet called Esturgeonne. She has an extremely dense  bushy coat.  It comes from the crossing of a  pure Poodle  with what could be another Poodle type. Serienoire, found in an SPA around Paris was most likely a Poodle. We cannot be sure that Lynx was her father as he was not always willing to mate ( information from some private letters I have read).

When selecting partners for matings putting together 2 Barbets with this type of coat will certainly produce a great majority of this type of coat. Basically, you can do nothing with it for it is so dense and so thick, that you have to keep in extremely short as we see some dogs. They cannot have a longer coat than 3/4 centimeters or it gets completely matted. That is non-standard, but perpetrated over the years.


Thelma (open curls) Molly ( tight frizzy curls)

On a positive note, a nice combination is a open curl coated dog with a such bushy type. Then, you will have part of the litter with bushy coats and the other half with looser open curls.

Below, is Duel, as JC Hermans was quoted, he was a Poodle put into a litter of Barbets. Same morphological type.


This is Molly, in 2003. She is from that line. Notice her morphology, dense coat and also the tail that hangs down. The tail as we know is a very important detail, as is the head, when determining a breed.

molly2003 - tailGuide dog

Very often,  the tail is hidden…there’s no “crochet” at the end. It’s also up at 12:10 which is a standard Poodle detail. Or worse…the Portuguese Water Dog tail comes out.Notice how this particular dog, on the right has a very thin head,  look at the position of the ears which are quite high and of course the body is rather thin and too long.

Covered in a bushy thick coat…hold the tail down when needed, and voilà.





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