Historically the barbet would accompany huntsmen in the lakes and coastal marshlands of France where it was used to flush and retrieve game. Its love of water, willingness to work and thick curly coat to protect against the cold made it an ideal choice.
Centuries later the barbet can still hold its own as a working gundog. Whilst nowadays the option to work the dogs in lakes and marshlands is limited, the barbet is equally happy working on land and does well on driven shoots. The barbet as a breed is not gun shy and has a natural instinct to hunt and retrieve.
It should be noted that the barbet is not a `modern` gundog and is sensitive in its training and tends to think it knows better occasionally. It is also not a dog that will thrive in kennels, but that said, the barbet is a breed that can still do the job for which it was originally bred.
The working barbet is normally kept in a shorter length coat of about an inch minimum all over for land work. This affords the dogs skin good protection from brambles and twigs but is not so long as to constantly be getting snagged and helps cope with the British winter.
Whether used as a peg dog on a shoot or as part of the beating team, the barbet uses its willingness to work and ability to scent to great effect.
Even for those who do not wish to ultimately work their dog in the field, gundog training is a great way to improve your dog handling skills and strengthen the bond between owner and barbet.