The Barbet as a Gundog

Bepop retrieving a pheasant

Bepop retrieving a pheasant.

Historically the barbet (French water dog) predates the gun and was first used to accompany huntsmen using the bow in the lakes and coastal marshlands of France.

Centuries later the barbet in the UK is showing great promise as a working gundog. Several dogs are already active companions in the working field. The barbet as a breed is not gun shy, and has a natural instinct to hunt and retrieve. In the UK they seem equally happy on land as they are in water. The Barbet as a working breed deserves respect, it is not the modern gundog, nor is it a breed that will thrive in kennels, but the barbet is a breed that can still do the job it was bred to do.

The working barbet is normally kept in a shorter length coat of about an inch all over for land work in the UK. This affords the dogs skin good protection from brambles and twigs but is not so long as to constantly be getting snagged.

Wether used as a companion on the occasional shoot in the UK or taking part in field trials and retriever tests in mainland Europe the barbet uses its willingness to work and ability to scent to great effect.

Even for those who do not wish to work their dog or take part in field trials, gundog training is a great way to improve your dog handling skills and strengthen the bond between owner and barbet.

The Barbet Club of G.B. is committed to as many barbet as possible passing the "Test d`Aptitude Naturelle (Eau)". This is a basic French aptitude test for water retrieving and helps to ensure that we do not lose any of the scenting, retrieving and hunting skills that the breed is known for.

Retrieving duck on a shoot

Retrieving duck on a shoot.