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This shaggy sporting dog breed is fun and intelligent. The Barbet was bred to retrieve waterfowl for hunters-and has the webbed paws to prove it-but is also a talented agility competitor in his native France. Although these are purebred dogs, you can find them in the care of shelters and rescue groups. Remember to adopt. Don’t go shopping if you want to take one of these dogs home. Barbs do best with experienced parents. They have lots of energy and would love to participate in dog sports such as agility competitions. If you can meet the breed’s needs, you will have a loving family member who even gets along with children and other dogs.
A relative of the poodle and the briard, this French water dog with webbed feet gets dirty when chasing waterfowl, earning it the nickname “mud dog”. Its real name comes from the French word barbe, meaning beard, because of its bearded face. The Barbet is not a newcomer: the first written reference to the breed dates back to 1387, although it is possible that its origin dates back to the 8th century. For centuries, the Barbet served as a water dog for royalty and commoners alike, and its thick, waterproof coat earned it a reputation for braving the coldest waters. King Henry IV was a royal fanatic, and legend has it that the king’s mistress was once reproached for taking a Barbet to church. In addition to its retrieving abilities, the Barbet is prized for its versatility and cheerful, intelligent personality. In his homeland, he is among the best agility breeds and also likes to chase balls and flying discs. The breed is rare, with about 30 to 40 in the United States and about 600 worldwide, but Barbet fans hope others will come to share their love for this interesting dog.
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