Barbet Breed Magazine - Showsight

BA RBET

Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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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 barrel- like, 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.

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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

IN PROFILES

Curls

A DISCUSSION OF BARBET PROPORTION AND PRESENTATION

BY LESLIE WOODWARD, BARBET CLUB OF AMERICA BREED MENTOR

T he body of a Barbet must be both substantial and athletic, exhibiting no exaggeration. The unique silhou- ette of this medium-sized breed is slightly rectangular with a strong, broad, proportionally large head, and a long, sweeping tail. Covered with dense, curly hair and a distinctive beard, the Barbet is unmistakably a Sporting dog constructed for power and agility as he flushes and retrieves waterfowl and upland game in any sort of weather. A strong neck, blending well into the shoulder; a broad, deep chest; long, rounded rib cage; and a short, flexible, slightly arched loin are all characteristics of the most robust of canine athletes. The underline is slightly inclined, without tuck-up. The tail is the natural extension of the topline, long and low-set. While exact proportion is not as important as balance, a longer dog is much preferred over a short-backed or square dog that must surely lack durability in undergrowth and marshy terrain. Images A, B, and C have been adjusted to represent variations in profile to help illustrate the language of our AKC Standard. Visualizing the intent of the words helps to train the eye to focus on the best exhibits—those which most closely represent the intent of the standard.

Image C. Incorrect Profile Square by Virtue of Short Rib Cage Unbalanced Angles Short Tail

Image B. Incorrect Profile Square by Virtue of Leg Length

Image A. Correct Profile Rectangular

Distinct Tuck-Up Lack of Forechest Long Hocks

Inclined Underline Balanced Angles Long, Low-Set Tail

The coat of the Barbet is his defining characteristic. The hair on the top of the head reaches the bridge of the nose. Ears are covered in long hair. Profuse hair covers the whole body evenly with thick, natural curls. A wide variation in curl is acceptable; from wavy, to large and loose curls, to tight, smaller curls. Regardless, the hair must retain enough loft to protect from weather and underbrush. A straight, flat or sparse coat is incorrect.

Image D. A Wide Variation of Curl is Acceptable.

284 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2021

PROFILES IN CURLS

The coat is shown in as natural a state as possible; clean and free from mats. The hair is to retain curl. While scis- soring is necessary to keep him neat, excessive sculpting and shaping is to be penalized. Likewise, poorly turned out animals (clipped, matted or unkempt) should be penalized. Animals with sparse hair, bare patches, or the impression of ill health or poor management must not be considered for points. Tightly curled dogs can give the impression of more substance and can appear to be more sculpted. VIEWPOINT As an exhibitor and breed mentor, I’ll offer some opinions that I am arriving at regarding my preferred ring presen- tation. As varied as the curl might be on our dogs, so is the opinion of breeders/exhibitors on trimming. There are those who believe the dogs should never be trimmed, and there are those who are more comfortable with a neater appearance. There is no final authority on this topic, and our standard only addresses excesses in one direction or another. I believe a successful trim “outlines” and reveals the shape of the body, without being extreme. An unsuccessful trim obscures the natural shape of the body. Each animal must be neatened to one degree or another, but the coat must be presented long enough to sufficiently assess its quality. As a newly recognized breed, we bring to competition many novice exhibitors or folks who are new to the breed—some wielding scissors for the first time and some relying upon professional groomers as they aren’t yet sure of their scissor skills. A trained eye is the best grooming tool! Images E, F, and G have again been adjusted to represent variations in profile to help illustrate the words of our AKC Standard. Visualizing the intent of the words helps to train the eye to focus on preparing exhibits that most closely represent the intent of the standard. Make note that this is the same image we used to illustrate a correct profile. The only thing that has changed is the hair. “THE COAT IS SHOWN IN AS NATURAL A STATE AS POSSIBLE; CLEAN AND FREE FROM MATS. THE HAIR IS TO RETAIN CURL. ”

Image G. Obscured Profile Appears More Square Defined Tuck-Up, Angles Straighter Legs Appear Long Muzzle Appears Long, Head Small Tail Appears Short

Image F. Obscured Profile Appears Long and Low “Beer Belly” Underline Shoulder Angle Appears Straight

Image E. Correct Profile Rectangular

Inclined Underline Balanced Angles Long, Low-Set Tail

Legs Appear Shortened Head Appears Smaller

As fellow exhibitors and judges, we must rely upon our standard for direction, train our own eye to see each dog’s virtues and shortfalls, and present the breed (or judge it) to the best of our ability. Images H, I, and J illustrate a healthy variation of coat curl and presentation, while retaining the called-for profile of this rare and fascinating breed.

Image H. An Immature Dog

Image I. A Mature Bitch

Image J. A Veteran Dog

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2021 | 285

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