Irish Water Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison | MyDogBreeds

Irish Water Spaniel is originated from Ireland but Barbet is originated from France. Irish Water Spaniel may grow 7 cm / 2 inches shorter than Barbet. Both Irish Water Spaniel and Barbet are having almost same weight. Irish Water Spaniel may live 3 years less than Barbet. Irish Water Spaniel may have more litter size than Barbet. Both Irish Water Spaniel and Barbet requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Gun dog
Gun dog
Height Male:
51 - 59 cm
20 - 24 inches
57 - 66 cm
22 - 26 inches
Height Female:
51 - 59 cm
20 - 24 inches
52 - 62 cm
20 - 25 inches
Weight Male:
25 - 30 kg
55 - 67 pounds
17 - 28 kg
37 - 62 pounds
Weight Female:
25 - 30 kg
55 - 67 pounds
14 - 28 kg
30 - 62 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
13 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 12
4 - 6
Medium dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Rat Tail, Southern Irish Water Spaniel
French Water Dog
Colors Available:
Dark Brown, Liver
brown, grey, white, fawn or black
Longish hair - thick and very curly
longish, dense and curly
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Responsive, Social, Sweet
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


The Irish Water Spaniel is one of the larger spaniel types and also one of the oldest.

He is sometimes referred to as the Southern Irish Water Spaniel. Hailing from Ireland, the precise origins of the dog aren't altogether sure. It is believed that the dog came from other dogs from Persia and there are references to these water dogs from as early as 1600.

The modern breed was developed in Ireland in the 1830s. The breed's purpose is that of a hunter of waterfowl and he swims strongly.

The Irish Water Spaniel was recognized by the AKC in 1884. In 1890 the Irish Water Spaniel Club was formed.

The Barbet is an ancient European waterdog, with the first references to it coming way back from 1387. This breed is thought to serve as a common ancestor for several other waterdogs, and these include the poodle. The breed was used to retrieve water fowl from water, and today it is used as a gundog and as a companion.

The name ‘Barbet’ comes from the French word for beard, which is ‘barbe’. The Kennel Club has announced that this dog is to be described as being in a class of its own, and it has become the 220th pedigree breed.


A peculiar feature of this dog is its hairless tail which is partly covered in curls which the rest is all but hairless, giving him the nickname of Rat Tail or Whip Tail.

Looking much like a Poodle with his tight oily curls, the Irish Water Spaniel is a medium to large sized purebred dog, a robust, compact built dog with a skull which is shaped like a dome.

The muzzle is longish, the eyes dark brown and intelligent looking and the ears are long and floppy.

His hair is thick and curly and it sheds very little so that the dog is regarded as being hypoallergenic. The medium length coat is a dark brown, liver color with fairly tight curls that may even tend to cover the eyes.

It is interesting to note that he has webbed feet, which is useful for when the dog swims.He stands at roughly 51cm to 61cm and weighs between 25 to 30kg.


Temperament in any dog is affected by socialization and the way the human owner raises the dog. The Irish Water Spaniel is a water loving dog, being active and energetic.

He is an intelligent dog and easy to train and socialize. When trained he becomes such an obedient dog. He has also got a light-hearted side to him and is actually known to be quite amusing and clownish, providing plenty of laughs for you.

They make good family dogs, getting on well with children in the home as well as with other pets. They're also able to make good guard dogs, taking the protective roles seriously. He isn't an aggressive dog but he has a warning bark that can be a good warning to intruders.

The Barbet is a medium-sized breed of French water dog, measuring anything between 52–66cm in height. The dog is known for his thick, curly textured coat and even the head and tail are covered with this dense hair. His coat is waterproof.

The coat can vary in color and these colors can be brown, grey, white, fawn or black. The dog isn’t a heavy shedder. The Barbet’s tail is long and somewhat raised but not erect. He has long, wide pendant ears set at eye height, the skull is broad and the neck short and strong.

A Kindly Expression

With his kind brown eyes, it simply adds to the kindly expression of this attractive gun dog. He is a friendly, fun-loving dog, and makes a great family pet. He loves to swim and in fact has webbed paws to assist him with his swimming. Some dog owners say that this intelligent active breed can be a great watchdog, while others say the being a guard dog isn’t a particularly strong characteristic.

Health Problems

A generally healthy breed, the Irish Water Spaniel, just like with most other dogs, can fall prey to some of the more common dog ailments of which hip dysplasia is one.

Bone and joint problems like this can lead to lameness even in young dogs.

Eye diseases are also a problem, and cataracts can form in the eye, particularly when the dog is older and create a cloudy look to the eye. It's not painful for the dog.

Hypothyroidism, a treatable hormonal disorder is another disease worth being aware of.

The Barbet is a rare breed and therefore not much is known about particular health issues affecting him. Some health issues that you will need to be alert about with your Barbet are ear infections, hernias and hip dysplasia.

A veterinarian should be consulted if your dog shows signs of these ailments. The risk of a Barbet developing any health condition can always be significantly reduced by making sure you buy your Barbet from a reputable breeder. If he is fed well and taken to the vet when he does get sick, he can live to be 13 to 15 years of age.

Caring The Pet


Your Irish Water Spaniel requires quite a bit of grooming that will involve his coat, his nails, his teeth and his ears. The double coat doesn't shed much so it can be easily maintained by brushing the coat twice a week.

It can help your water spaniel to look good by sending him in to a doggy grooming parlor to have his curls neatened. This is a dog that loves water and swimming, and you will need to check the inside of his ears for dampness, wax build-up and debris. This can all combine to cause nasty ear infections.


The dog is energetic and will need to be exercised. Take him for walks, play ball games with him and allow him to go on hikes with you or to go swimming. He loves being involved in all your activities as he is a social, active dog.


Highly energetic, it will be important to feed your Irish Water Spaniel with food that enhances his energy levels. There are some good quality commercially manufactured dog foods on the market. Choose one that caters for active, athletic dogs such as the Irish Water Spaniel.

Dry kibble is more recommended to prevent canine tooth decay. Mix in some home cooked foods from time to time such as cooked chicken, rice, pasta and vegetables and try to include some raw meat every now and then as well. Make sure he has constant access to fresh, cool water.


The Barbet’s coat is longish and curly, much like a poodle, and long, wooly coat This being the case, moderate maintenance is required. Brushing and grooming twice a week will be necessary to keep the coat from matting too much. In fact, some Barbet owners prefer to keep their Barbets professionally groomed so that the thick hair is fairly short all over.

The dog’s ears will also need to be kept clean and dry.


If your Barbet is a farm dog, used for hunting or working purposes, make sure to buy dog food formulated for active dogs. Your Barbet puppy up to the age of 3 months will require 4 meals a day. When your Barbet reaches a year of age he can be fed one or two bowls of food. Speak to your veterinarian about top-quality wet- and dry foods. Every dog will require raw meat added into their food once in a while.

Make sure there is a constant supply of cool, fresh water and also wash his food and water bowls regularly.


The Barbet is an intelligent breed and therefore trainable. Dog owners who care for their pets, see to it that they are trained and have been socialized. This makes dogs much nicer to live with as they get on well with children and other pets and they don’t bark incessantly.


The Barbet is a working breed so you can’t just leave him in your back garden day after day. To stay healthy and happy, he will need to be played with, taken for walks and exercised regularly.


Your active Irish Water Spaniel just loves water so you can count him in whenever you go swimming. That is one characteristic of the Irish Water Spaniel – he just loves to be involved in all the action you're busy with.

He makes an ideal family pet for an active family, and he will be a loyal and devoted pet who will provide a lot of fun to your family with his mischievous side.

He is confident, independent and strong willed so first time dog owners should bear this in mind. He is essentially just a fun loving, busy dog and if you make sure to exercise him well and make sure he is a participating member of your family, he'll be your most loving and devoted friend.

Most Barbets do superbly well with children and are naturally gentle with them. It is always important to teach children to respect animals and to be kind towards them. Even a gentle dog like the Barbet can turn aggressive if taunted beyond their endurance.

Barbets are social, good mixers and they get on well with other pets in the family, more so when they have been properly socialized. As a Sporting breed, the Barbet is energetic and loves to be involved in games and activities. He is such a versatile dog – gentle and friendly and he makes a wonderful devoted pet. Of course, he is also suited for use as a working dog, after all this breed was originally used for hunting waterfowl.

Treat him well and the thanks you’ll get will is unconditional friendship and loyalty.

Comparison with other breeds

  1. Pudelpointer vs Irish Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  2. Picardy Spaniel vs Irish Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  3. Pont-Audemer Spaniel vs Irish Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  4. Irish Water Spaniel vs English Springer Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  5. Irish Water Spaniel vs American Cocker Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  6. Irish Water Spaniel vs Brittany - Breed Comparison
  7. Irish Water Spaniel vs English Setter - Breed Comparison
  8. Irish Water Spaniel vs French Brittany - Breed Comparison
  9. Irish Water Spaniel vs Boykin Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  10. Irish Water Spaniel vs American Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  11. Irish Water Spaniel vs Braque d'Auvergne - Breed Comparison
  12. Irish Water Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  13. Irish Water Spaniel vs Ariege Pointer - Breed Comparison
  14. Irish Water Spaniel vs Blue Picardy Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  15. Irish Water Spaniel vs Canadian Pointer - Breed Comparison
  16. Irish Water Spaniel vs Deutsch Drahthaar - Breed Comparison
  17. Irish Water Spaniel vs Clumber Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  18. Irish Water Spaniel vs Braque du Bourbonnais - Breed Comparison
  19. Irish Water Spaniel vs Cesky Fousek - Breed Comparison
  20. Irish Water Spaniel vs Drentse Patrijshond - Breed Comparison
  21. Stabyhoun vs Irish Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  22. Styrian Coarse Haired Hound vs Irish Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  23. Vizsla vs Irish Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  24. Large Munsterlander vs Irish Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  25. Tyrolean Hound vs Irish Water Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  26. English Springer Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  27. Brittany vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  28. English Setter vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  29. French Brittany vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  30. Boykin Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  31. Pudelpointer vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  32. American Water Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  33. Picardy Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  34. Braque d'Auvergne vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  35. Barbet vs American Cocker Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  36. Ariege Pointer vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  37. Pont-Audemer Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  38. Blue Picardy Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  39. Canadian Pointer vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  40. Deutsch Drahthaar vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  41. Clumber Spaniel vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  42. Stabyhoun vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  43. Styrian Coarse Haired Hound vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  44. Vizsla vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  45. Large Munsterlander vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  46. Tyrolean Hound vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  47. Cockalier vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  48. Braque du Bourbonnais vs Barbet - Breed Comparison
  49. Cesky Fousek vs Barbet - Breed Comparison

Popular Dog Breeds