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 pedigrees – CH 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.
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 Barbets