The Barbet, often known as the French water dog because of its enthusiasm for taking to the water, will become the 220th pedigree dog breed in the UK in April when it becomes recognised by the Kennel Club.

The Barbet was originally developed to work alongside hunters and farmers around the lakes and estuaries of France as it will go into the water readily to retrieve fowl in all weathers, its coat providing necessary protection.

The first female Barbets arrived on UK shores from France in 2007 when two were imported and the breed has since been developed here by a small group of enthusiasts who run their own club dedicated to the breed. Despite their small numbers so far in the UK, with only around 140 believed to be in the country to date, supporters of the breed believe they would make wonderful family pets due to their nature.

Barbets are intelligent, active and friendly dogs that are devoted and loyal to their owners. They are a medium to large breed and require good daily exercise and mental stimulation, becoming bored if they are left alone for long periods. Barbets are sociable with both adults and children and are good with other dogs. Like any breed, Barbets require proper training, socialisation, and experienced guidance. The Barbet has a thick, non-moulting curly coat that is commonly solid black, solid brown in varying shades or are either colour mixed with varying quantities of white.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said: “The diverse mix of pedigree dog breeds in this country has grown slowly over time and we are now seeing many of the breeds that originated overseas becoming some of the most popular in the UK.

“The process of being recognised as a pedigree breed by the Kennel Club takes several generations of dogs, but once we recognise a breed it means that we know that it has a reliable lineage that will give people a dog with predictable characteristics in terms of temperament, health, exercise and grooming needs, which helps dogs to find homes with the right owners."

The breed will be putting on a special parade at this year’s Crufts, the world’s most famous dog show, held at the NEC in Birmingham from March 8-11.