Barbet in numbers: Heights

For the purpose of following a study, we‘ve collected the heights of 174 males including 103 active studs (from around 140 available) and the heights of 112 females including 42 already bred females. The better coverage of male heights is due to the fact that clubs tend to create “Stud Lists” while females are only for use by one breeder and their lists are not presented.

As a reminder, the current Barbet standard states that the height of males should be 58-65 cm and the height of females 53-61cm with tolerance of +/-1 cm.

Also note that we’ve used median values in our calculations, instead of mean values (which are also shown). Median may be simply understood as is the numerical value separating the higher half of a data sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. Median also works better in the presence of outlier values than the mean.

The coverage of males (and studs) heights shows an anomaly. Females’ results generally fit into normal distribution pattern, however males’ results do not. There is a huge dropdown in the number of males with heights of 56 to 57 cm that is even more surprising, not just because that at 58 cm (next value) numbers are suddenly reaching highest levels overall, and on the other (second half) part of the chart it fits normal distribution pattern, and also because at 54 and 55 cm we can see higher values than at 56 and 57 cm. In fact this anomaly is not surprising at all, minimal height of male required by breed’s standard is 58 cm (with tolerance to 57cm). Two factors may play a role – first – a tendency by owners to add one or two centimeters to make a male fit the required standard or second – strict measuring the dogs which ends in eliminating those under 57 cm. However both factors may play a role, the peak of heights that starts at 54 cm continues to 55 cm and suddenly drops at 56 and 57 cm where the numbers of males are below normal distribution support the thesis that the first factor (adding centimeters) have much bigger impact than eliminating males due to their small heights, in that second case all numbers below 58 cm should be very low, not only bordering ones. The significance of that pattern is that in fact mnay more males than we will show next, are below the standard requirements.

The median height of studs is 58 cm and also 58 cm in general for males (mean values are 58,58 and 58,41 )

The median height of breeding females is 54 cm and also 53.37 cm in general for females. (mean values are 54.07 and 53.32 )

Chart above represents heights of females, current standard range of height is marked with red, optimal with green.


Chart above represents heights of males, current standard range of height is marked with red, optimal with green. The area of deviation from normal distribution pattern is under the red line, line itself shows supposed correct distribution of heights.



  1. Median and also mean heights of both males and females are equal to the minimum heights required by standard.

  2. 55.1 % of males and 51.7 % of females are below the standard requirements or its minimum.

  3. However expected by statistical data (anomaly) and by breeding practices, there is a huge “hidden” population below the standard limits due to elimination of dogs from reproduction or “addition of the centimeters”.

  4. Mean predicted standard height of males is 61.5 cm (3cm-3.5 cm over current median/mean), and for females 57 cm (3cm-3.5 cm over current median/mean).

Current requirements for heights in the standard are completely out of reason. They were changed in 1999 to support influx of Poodles and other breeds into the Barbet. Previous standard from 1987 had only minimal height requirements set on 54 cm for males and 50 cm for females.

To cover as wide a population as possible with current range of accepted heights, the standard should be lowered at least by 3-3.5cm. Again due to the “hidden/eliminated” population it should be lowered even more. 54-61cm for males, 49-57 cm for females would cover the largest possible number of dogs. In fact it would be return to normality, with heights that were attributed to the breed for almost 100 years.

Current heights eliminate a huge portion of the breed’s population, without any particular reason. Lowering them will allow many more dogs to reproduce than it would eliminate. For example with keeping the tolerance -/+1 cm the proposed above values would cover 53 more dogs leaving 15 over the standard, even more beneficial effect it would have on females covering 23 more of them leaving only 3 over the maximum height 

Comments are closed.