Barbets in numbers

Barbet in numbers – Use of studs (as of 2012)

Best way to verify rumours is to make calculations. One could ask how many studs we can choose from those that were used less frequently then three times (why three?, You will get the answer at the symposium) Answer would be 98 from total 123 confirmed and ready to use studs.

There are 123 studs, ready to be used as we speak. This figure is for sure under evaluated, there are studs out there not listed on breed club sites (if You have such stud, contact us), some are in the process of receiving permissions from kennel clubs. Is it few? 24 of those studs were never used, 45 of them were used only once, another 24 used for two times. You have plenty too choose from before You go to those used three times or more, don’t You?

Barbet in numbers: Heights (29-11-2013)

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

Barbet in numbers – population

There is quite easy to spot trend in th numbers, before IIWW we had around 40 registred births, then:

1966-86 – 188 (10 per year)

1987-1990 – 229 (57 per year) peak

1991-2003 – 412 (32 per year) slowing down, some years with few births others with many

2004 seems to be the breaking point, 77 dogs were born, in 2005 – 86, 2006 – 142, 2007- 175 etc.

As today (mid 2012)  the barbet population around the world is around 1540 dogs (assuming average lifespan of a dog as 13 years). The population is growing fast and has almost quadrupled since 2003 (412). We have recorded 283 births in 2011 and we are on our best way to break the number of 300 births in 2012. If the number of births will stay at 300 per year for next years and average lifespan stays at 13 years (both those numbers are rather underestimated), in 2020 there will be around 3500 barbets alive.

*On the chart, we assumed that in 2013 there will be 300 births (so far we recorded 42 births in first two months of 2012).

Barbet in numbers – average COI

The graph shows the average COI of born puppies per year. The average COI was counted in eight generations, as the average pedigree has 7,3 complete generations. What was not counted? We didn’t take into consideration the dogs without parents (TI’s and other breeds), their impact on lowering the COI reflects in their progeny. Few words on reading the graph properly. As You can see the average COI of puppies born before 2002 was rapidly changing form year to year. This is because the overall number of puppies was small so even one litter could dramatically change the outcome. Since 2002 we see a constant raise in number of puppies born yearly, that is why the line doesn’t fluctuate so much.

Barbet in numbers – countries of birth

The graph above shows percentage of overall number of birth by each country.

Barbet in numbers: Hips dysplasia (updated 25-11-2013)

This an updated version of previous article on hipscores in Barbet breed. At this moment 2951 dogs were taken under consideration. 536 (previous analysis consisted 418 scores) of them had been screened (18,1 % of whole population). In comparison with previous results the changes are minor, 75% of screened dogs are healthy1 (previously 73%), 25 % have some form of dysplasia2 (previously 27%), 11 % have severe dysplasia3 (no change). According to FCI rules, there are no such things like double hipscores. Hips are marked with one letter (A to E) Final grading is based on the worst hip joint.


 In this analysis however due to very small number of tested dogs, we have used double hip grades to show how much of them are non-symetrical cases. But still according to FCI rules, we categorizedthe double hipscores basing on worst hip (f.e. A/D is treated as severe dysplasia same as D/D)


This chart shows the hipscores divided by results in whole population.

This one shows the hipscore results in screened population.

There some debates raising form time to time about whether the Barbet breed is relatively healthy or unhealthy breed in terms of hip dysplasia. Making such assumptions, without having established knowledge of situation in the breed (proper data) and comparable data (other breeds results) is purely speculative. It may cause more harm to the breed then one would expect, especially when such fallacies may have an impact on breeders, club breeding programs or just on people choosing the breed.

To make things easier to compare with other breeds, we have grouped the results in three categories

  • healthy dogs (scores A/A,A/B,B/B) – no single hipscore lower then B

  • mild dysplastic dogs (scores from B/C to C/C) – no single hipscore lower then C

  • severely dysplastic dogs (scores from A/D to E/E) – one hipscore equal or lower then D

We may try to compare those results to Finnish study on hipscores in breeds. However have this in mind that Finnish study:

  • consists results from years 1987 to 1995

  • was based on records of dogs living only in Finland

  • all breeds covered were part of strict breeding programs to minimalize dysplasia prevalence

Due to this factors it is far from being a good data to compare, unfortunately we had not been able to find any better sources with statistical data. If we were to put Barbet results in, the breed would be placed 10th amongst 23 screened.


Dysplasia prevalence % (1988-95

Severe Dysplasia prevalence % (1988-95

Smooth collie



Shorthaired German pointer






Rough collis



Wirehaired German pointer






English cocker spaniel



Flat-coated retriver



Bearded collie






Nova Scotia



English sprigner spaniel



Labrador retriver






Welsh sprigner spaniel



Golden retriever









Irish setter



German Shepher dog






Shorthaired Saint Bernard



Longhaired Saint Bernard




1 hipscores: A/A,A/B,B/B

2 B/C or lower, including severe dysplasia

3 A/D or lower

Barbet in numbers: Hips dysplasia (previous analysis)

Charts above represents the results of Barbet hip scores published on sites around the web. We were able to find and collect around 420 results. Although all of those results were published by owners/clubs, or send directly to us, their credibility shouldn’t be questioned. Chart on the left indicates that around 27 % of current Barbet population was x-rayed for dysplasia. From those who where tested 73 % have healthy hips (A/A,B/B and A/B*). 27 % of tested dogs have dysplasia, 11 % of them have severe dysplasia (D or lower).

Studies show that dysplasia is heritable disease, although scientists opinion varies on details. The Finnish (1) study, which focused on effectiveness of hip-dysplasia-control-program, showed that: “Our study could not support the previous studies which found significant overall decrease in disease prevalence (Brass, 1989; Swenson et al., 1997); instead, our findings support those of the studies that found distinct between-breed variation (Fluckiger et al., 1995; Willis, 1997). The effectiveness of strong official breeding restrictions is also questionable”. On the other hand British (2) study of dysplasia in labradors ends with several conclusions, with one most important” the genetic heritability of that condition was significant from both sires and dams with higher heritability from sires”.

In the threatened breed like Barbet is, with a small gene pool, we should remember that “Hip-dysplasia screening and restrictive programs are also stated to cause a decrease in genetic variance (because of single-trait selection), which can lead to other more-severe problems (Bouw, 1982).Of course It doesn’t mean that we should stop testing hips , quite the opposite – we should test as many as we can (also by encouraging puppy buyers, who will never breed), but we have to keep in mind that:

  • B result also means that dog is healthy
  • C is acceptable in most breeds around the globe (only in breeds with very big population, acceptable values are higher – like A and B in Poland in Labrador Retriever), so careful selection of parents (history of grandparents, siblings and/or other litters) with one A/A and other C/C hips should give good results – read the British Study to find out more about predicting of hipscores
  • dysplasia is one of many traits (overall structure, coat quality, temperament etc.) we need to take under consideration while planning the litter and not the most important one (of course we speak about ABC results)
  • D results means that dog is sick, unfortunately, we can observe a big step back in one of the countries that was a pioneer in hip-control-programs, by allowing such dogs to be breed, while the bad results can and probably will occur in the progeny. Also the mating and pregnancy can cause discomfort to the dog, which should never be overloaded.

* FCI Classification of hip-dysplasia.

A Normal No signs of dysplasia
B Borderline Healthy, with slight changes in conformation
C Mild dysplasia
D Moderate dysplasia
E Severe dysplasia

To read (studies mentioned above):

1. Controlling canine hip dysplasia in Finland (EN)

2. Heritability and epidemiology of canine hip-dysplasia score and its components in Labrador retrievers in the UK (EN)

To watch:

Motion capture used to show the differences in movement between healthy and dysplastic dogs