Breeds like the Poodle, the Griffon, and the Bichon Frise are said to have originated from the Barbet or the French water dog. However, the exact origin of this breed is not known. Some believe that it is a descendant of the original Griffon. Another theory is that it came from the cord-coated dogs that were brought over from Asia when Europe was invaded. One more theory is that it came from northern Africa, traveling across Spain and settling in France.
It was used as a water dog (as the name implies), and was a hunter's constant companion, retrieving fallen game from the land and the water. It was used as a tracker and a pointer, or by farmers to herd sheep and goats. It was also frequently taken to sea to be the sailors' friend and companion. It was a very versatile breed. It belongs to the gun dog group.
This is a medium-sized dog. The males should be 21-25 inches (58 to 65 cm) at the shoulder and the females should be 20 to 24 inches (52 to 61 cm). The breed should weigh between 35 to 60 pounds (17 to 28 kg). Its life expectancy is 12-15 years.
The coat is long, thick, and woolly, and protects the dog from the elements, as it is a working breed. Coat colors include black, gray, chestnut, sand, and white. Gray and white are very rare colors. Mix-colored coats are not very common, and colors mixed other than with white are considered as a fault. Black or brown (also with white markings) are the most common colors.
As the coat is very thick and dense, a simple walk outside can result in it becoming matted and full of twigs. As a result, it needs to be brushed quite often. Puppies are born with soft, wavy coats. Hence, it needs to be completely shaved off when they are 5 to 6 months old, and the subsequent coat will be thicker and curlier.
This dog is happy, obedient, smart, and very companionable. It is a quick learner. It is very good with children and all people in general. It needs its family members around it most of the time. It needs exercise and mental stimulation, otherwise it can get bored.
Some of the health issues that affect this breed are epilepsy, hernia, hip dysplasia, and entropion. Most of these illnesses can be traced back 4 to 6 generations. This breed is most commonly prone to ear infections, as it is a water dog. The ears should be free of hair and kept dry. It is best to consult your vet if your dog shows any signs of the same.
When considering a puppy, always look for a good responsible breeder either in your city, the neighboring city, county, or even state. He/she will be able to offer you proof of vaccines and veterinary health checks, not only on the puppy you are considering buying, but also its parents. Also, this will help discourage the cruel trade of puppy mills.