There are conflicting ideas on how to groom this breed. Some say they should be brushed regularly with regular trimming, and others believe their coat should be allowed to grow naturally and allowed to form into a thick woolly and/or corded coat. The coat will get matted/felted easily and should carefully be pulled apart without tearing the coat.
If the coat is kept trimmed to approximately 10 cm all over the body and slightly longer on the head, it will be easier to maintain and look neat. Hair on the ears, chin and tail should be trimmed less often than the rest of the body. The hairs from the ear canal should be gently plucked out regularly. Some coats matt more easily than others. Left unattended, the Barbet hair will grow to extensive lengths. The hair in between and around their eyes can be periodically clipped for cleaner eyes.
If the coat is shown in a rustic style there should be no fluffing or blowing out. The coat should match the lines of the dog and the curls should be evident. The dog should have the appearance of the working dog that it is. If clipped down shorter than 10 cm, the coat will need about 3 months of growth to be ready to show. Long or short, natural or brushed, make no mistake – a rustic dog with a rustic coat does not mean unkempt or dirty.
As the stories go, traditionally, farmers would shear their Barbet in the spring along with their sheep. There are some Barbet coats today who have coat textures that manage well with this tradition.
Variant(s): also rus·ti·cal \-ti-kəl\
Etymology: Middle English rustik, from Latin rusticus, from rus open land — more at room
Date: 15th century
1: of, relating to, or suitable for the country : rural; rustic rolling farmland; 2a : made of the rough limbs of trees; rustic furniture; b : finished by rusticating; a rustic joint in masonry; 3a : characteristic of or resembling country people b : lacking in social graces or polish 4 : appropriate to the country (as in plainness or sturdiness); heavy rustic boots; — rus·ti·cal·ly\-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb — rus·tic·i·ty\ˌrəs-ˈti-sə-tē\ noun
The Barbet whether in rustic coat or show groomed coat should have the same body, structure and morphology underneath all that hair. This is an old measurement document used by breeders for years.
The following has been generously shared by Mrs. Greet Los-Romeijn of the Netherlands, she and her husband Alex breed Barbet and Lagotto, as well, Greet is a professional groomer.
GROOMING ~ A Groomer’s perspective:
The brushing and dematting is a big job, especially for hair that long.
Hopefully, your dog will learn to enjoy the time you spend together on the grooming table, and I guarantee that you will learn all about the Barbet HANDS ON during this time!
Brush and comb the dog carefully. All matts should be removed.
Wash the dog and dry the dog with a blower (this should be done at least 2 weeks prior to a confirmation show, otherwise the coat may feel too soft)
Before grooming starts, have a copy of the Barbet standard close by!
Body: Cut the whole body evenly from shoulders to croupe, using clippers or scissors or a combination of both.
Back: straight with rounded hips and a nice tail set
Back-legs: nice angulations, low hocks and rounded big feet.
Fore-legs: straight, also with big round feet, with good angulation to the fore chest.
Under chest: hair to the elbows.
Tail: when the tail is to thick – remove on the top side of the tail. Leave the underside natural but not too long.
Head: don’t cut the hair too short. The hair should not be puffed up and high on the head. The forelock should fall upon the bridge of the nose. If you wish, you can remove some of the bulky hair from eye-corner to eye-corner.
Neck: Cut evenly from ears to neck. Cut down to shoulders and create a nice even top line.
Throat: Cut short from throat to fore chest. Leave the fore chest to the forelegs longer to pronounce the fore chest.
Leave ears and beard long. When the hair on the cheeks (under the ears) is too thick you can thin it out with thinning-shears.
Once you have gone over the dog again to ensure an even cut and good representation of the angles/characteristics, wet the dog all over, and let him dry out naturally.
Then the natural and rustic (but clean and matt free) look of the Barbet has been achieved and maintained.
The Barbet hair has some diversity in regards to type and texture of coat. While the general appearance is more or less curly, some coats texture can vary. Frizzy, dense and thick or wavy, thin and soft.
© Greet Los-Romeijn 2010 Groomer
With the dense hair around the Barbet eyes, it is necessary to clean the crusted discharge from the corners of the eyes. Simply by putting your finger at the tear duct and wiping away the “eye booger” or using a tissue and wiping away the moist one. The more hair on or around the eyes, the more the eye collects. Just think to do this when you are petting the dog, it becomes second nature, and the dog gets used to it.
Ears: Dogs ears are different from ours. The canal is much longer and makes a 45 degree turn towards the jaw. These differences make seeing into the ear more difficult. Dogs who spend time swimming and in water have protective hair and waxy build up in their ears to prevent water retention and damage. Generally, the Barbet has quite hairy ear canals.
Weekly their ears should be checked. If they give off a sweet and “yeasty” pungent odour, it’s definitely time to clean them!!! Yellow to yellowish brown is normal, even black waxy discharge. If you notice excessive scratching or some whimpering when scratching … that can mean an ear infection.
There are many good ear products on the market, or you can make your own ear preparation. Liquid ear cleaner is generally a water/witch hazel/lavender oil combination. This is great to squirt down the canal and rub around. Leave for a short while and then wipe out with a tissue The liquid helps work the deep down wax build up – out to the outer ear. It smells great too.
Powder cleaner is also effective. Again, you can buy prepared products or use/make your own. Astringent and anti-humectant preparations are best such as Boric Acid or Iodoform. Shake or squeeze some into the ear, leave it for a few minutes and then start “plucking”. You can use your fingers and when using the ear powders you can get a good grip on the hair. You can also use a hemostat (surgical clamp) especially if you use ear solutions, as it’s harder to get a good hold on the wet hair to pull out. If you have never done ear maintenance before, you may want to get your vet or groomer to show you a good technique and how far to pluck.
To make your own ear powder:
4 oz. zinc oxide powder
4 oz. boric acid powder
½ oz iodoform powder.
Mix well. Keep in a sealed jar in a cool, dry place.
To make your own ear liquid:
12 oz rubbing alcohol
4 tablespoons boric acid
16 drops gentian violet.
Shake well before using. Keep in a squeeze bottle and be careful when using, the gentian violet STAINS.
Witch hazel is always good for superficial cleaning as well (on a cotton ball) because it doesn’t dry out like ear skin like alcohol.
In either case, liquid or powder, your dog may squirm, fight and cry the first few times. Be persistent!!! The only way to keep away ear issues is good ear maintenance.