Barbet ?

barbet Barbet ?

Vieux Barbet and Modern Barbet

A month ago Eva Olsson has published on her blog an article about her experiences with Barbets. I think it’s worth to read because it was written by a person who looks at the race from the perspective of the owner and not from the breeder. Eva’s article drew our attention to one important thing, to by no means an academic debate – how much there is a Barbet in Barbet ? How come so large differences in one breed, why some dogs have beautiful long-haired coats and others are regularly shaved. From our perspective, look at the pedigree is enough to understand more or less what it is and where the dog comes from, for you – pedigree cut on the fourth generation can say absolutely nothing. And so the riddle of why the two standing next to each other dogs of the same breed can be so different, is impossible to answer. Statistical Barbet has a lineage reaching 7-8 generations (exactly 7.3 – as of year 2012), and so literally the paper version bypasses its key starters. A simple example of the dog which often appears in the pedigreesCH FR de l’Etang de Fontmerle R’Mohican. Looks like a sound Barbet, champion of France, from French kennel but can We be sure? his own pedigree dispels doubts, he is a Barbet only in name, his entire lineage – portuguese water dogs, poodles and two dogs from the shelter (last column on the right), of all those dogs only one looked like Barbet.

The whole problem of the origin of dogs is taboo and some breeders avoid answering questions about the origin of the dogs, because the next logical question is – “and what it is and whence comes my future dog” and the answer “from a poodle” is not very encouraging, it is also quite common option that the “breeder” simply does not know what is in the pedigrees of the dogs. Given the small population of old lines there is no longer (and never will be) the possibility to breed Barbet without any admixture of new lines, but still with proper breeding, we can breed beautiful dogs in the proper type, with a large proportion of dogs descanding old lines. On paper, each Barbet belongs to the breed but in the race today (although the division is not new), there are two lines of dogs conventionally called – Vieux Barbet and Modern Barbet. Example – Ulysse di Barbochos de Reiau Pouvenco i Alias De Ile Romande. Take a look at their pedigrees. Those two dogs could be shown in one exhibition and one does not have anything to do with the other except the name of the breed, in their pedigrees, there are no common ancestors and their appearance (without the characteristics common to dogs in general) is quite different. 

Officially …

The reasons for this state of affairs is explained in the section about breed’s history. Just a reminder old lines descended from dogs registered with the 60s and 70s,  another completely new line of dogs was created in the late 80’s. The godfather of this new line of dogs is JC Hermans (for many years the President of the French Barbet Club). This short text actually containes the whole drama of events that changed the race and almost led to the replacement of the Barbet with a hybrid of other races. What it is not shown – ordinary people and breeders who have been bullied and forced to abandon the breed unable to resist the influence of one well connected man. For many years, JC Hermans maintained that there is no historical references about Griffon Barbet after as these, however, began to appear, it is how he commented mention of nineteenth-century exhibition which was attended by Barbetsbarbet Barbet ?

One of many JC Herman’s messages, red & black annotationa by Elaine Fichter

When I decided to recreate barbet ( Buffon’s barbet –today we know that Buffon’s Grand Barbet was a poodle – TT), sometimes I’ve seen dogs in the type of Griffon Barbet and had to eliminate them from breeding and reproduction. At one point I thought it might be interesting, kill two birds with one stone and simultaneously recreate Barbet and Griffon Barbet. TT) that adding yet Griffon Barbet would adding fuel to the fire.

J de Coninck wrote a standard for Griffon Barbet also called Barbet d’arret (hunting –TT). When the race disappears (in 1977, when Hermans decided to start his fantasy, already 50 registred Barbets lived in France – well, they must have been invisible – TT), its name is never removed from the nomenclature (of course it is, as it happend with Boulet Griffon – TT ), barbet therefore still existed with the standard for GriffonBarbet. As a result, I could officially modify the standard and go from Griffon Barbet to Barbet, without saying anything. At the same time there has been a change of nomenclature and the new barbet could change the group (from 7th do 8th – TT) and be with his brothers from other countries.. So we have recreated barbet, thanks to other breed standard and confusion of misleading information.

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Above two of many examples how JC Hermans tried to change the breed by influencing the judges. The most important criteria – height and tight curls,

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Another letter to the judges, JC Hermans reminds them to that Griffon Barbet type must be eliminated.

The people who opposed him were Rainer Georgii i Inge Fischer. This is how the fight looked from their side:

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barbet Barbet ?barbet Barbet ?As JC Hermans wrote, barbet was invented anew, and many breeders now breed new Barbet, a proprietary mix of several races, trying at all costs to link it with the historic type of dogs (it is as if today someone would argue argue that it labradoodle is a labrador). Altough Hermans did not manage to eliminate the old line, his successors and are still trying to do it. It is worth mentioning that the division into two lines has become “a topic to avoid” just recently, even twenty years ago, when it seemed that there is only a step away from the extermination of the old lines, breeders openly talked about the new breed with old name. Today, when it turned out that the old lines withstood the bad times, modern type breeders are trying to convince everyone that the old type of dog does not exist or even that it does not correspond to standard. Not many know that back in time another Club was created to protect the old type and was called “l’Amis du Barbet”.

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French article written some 30 years ago. On the left the old type is described, on right the modern type. This part starts with a honest declaration by the modern barbet breeder that history of this type starts in 1977

A bit of history

Rebuilding race – the old line, in the 70s, proceeded the same way as many others breeds including f.e. Polish Lowland Sheepdog, dogs in breed type were registered in the French Preliminary Book o (hence the names of dogs with – TI – Titre Initial), then their offspring was checked and allowed to further breeding. barbet Barbet ?

Photos of dogs that become the basis of the old lines.
1. R’LUCKY (1968-03-01), 2. S’GANDAR (1969-07-28), 3. U’GRIBOUILLE (1971), 4. THAIS (1970-12-22 – R’LUCKY (T.I) x PHEBEE DITE DOLY (T.I)), 5. ISLAM (1973-07-01), 6. M’DIOUNE (1976-01-01), 7. NOE (1977-04-01), 8. O’PLUTART (1978-06-01), 9. OPS (1978-09-03 – U’GRIBOUILLE (T.I.) x THAIS ) , 10. PHELIE (1979-04-23), 11. RHETIE (1980-02-21 U’GRIBOUILLE x JOYEUSE)- 12. SOUSHONG (1981-07-25 – ISLAM (T.I.) x OPS), 13. GAUGIN des Marécages du Prince (1991-01-01)