Barbets have long-haired, woolly, curly coats that require a great deal of upkeep. Below you'll find further details on Barbet coat maintenance, including info on brushing, bathing, and optional clipping.
Barbets are well-known for their long, curly coats--but their signature feature makes Barbet grooming a pretty major chore. Though they don't shed much, these dogs' coats mat and tangle at the drop of a hat, so they'll need daily brushing to keep the tangling to a minimum. They'll need baths every 2-3 months (though since these dogs love the water, many owners let their Barbets go for a swim periodically to help keep the coats clean). And some choose to clip their Barbets' coats every few months, while others (particularly those who show their dogs) prefer the "natural" look of an un-clipped coat.
Brushing a Barbet will take some time, and should be done daily. You'll need both a rubber-tipped pin brush and a 2-in-1 comb; go over the coat section by section with the pin brush, moving in the direction of hair growth. If you encounter a mat or tangle (and odds are, you will), first try separating it with your fingers, then continue working it out with the comb. If you're following the brushing with a bath (and these dogs definitely need a thorough brushing prior to bathing), use either a bathtub or, if weather permits, an outdoor kiddie pool and a garden hose. Wet the coat, then apply a quarter-sized portion of canine shampoo (using the human kind is not recommended, as it can irritate the dog's skin) to the Barbet's back; lather well and work downward (and don't forget the legs!). Save the head, ears, and facial furnishings for last, making sure not to get suds in the dog's eyes or inner ear canal. Rinse completely, then give the dog another quick brush-through to neaten the coat.
As for haircuts: many owners say that clipping a Barbet's coat to four inches or less makes it much more manageable. These haircuts can be done at home with a little practice, but it's a good idea to visit a professional groomer at least once. The groomer can demonstrate how to clip the coat yourself, and provide further grooming tips in general.