The newest pedigree breed was welcomed into Crufts family as the 127th edition of world’s largest dog show got up and running in Birmingham.

The Barbet Club of Great Britain paraded some of their finest specimens on the famous green carpet for the first time on Thursday.

Related to the poodle, briard and Newfoundland, the Kennel Club will confirm these French gun dogs’ accreditation on April 1, allowing them to be shown at Crufts next year. It will also bring the number of pedigree dog breeds in the UK to 220.

“What makes the barbet special is their versatility – they can be running in the fields one day, completely lively, but then as soon as you sit down on the sofa, they really want to cuddle you,” said 57-year-old Julie McDougal, secretary of Barbet GB.  

“Their recognition is significant because it means we’re able to show the dogs in this country.

“We haven’t been able to publicise them and people don’t really know they exist.

“Crufts is the best show in the world for showing dogs and it’s a good opportunity to see other breeds, not just your own, so I love to come here every year to have a look around.”

An estimated 22,000 pooches will visit the NEC during the four-day event, with a record 3,623 four-legged friends from 49 countries vying for the chance to win the coveted Best in Show.

And joining them is the bearded barbet, which was originally bred as a working dog, helping fishermen in the south of France by retrieving nets from the water.

“At the moment there’s a shortage of puppies in the UK, but as breeders come in, import dogs and breed them, it’ll increase our numbers and make it more available as a dog,” said Richard McDougal, chairman of the Barbet Club of Great Britain.

“People have to do their homework and understand that the barbet fits their lifestyle.

“It’s an outdoor, vigorous dog so they have to be able to give it exercise and socialise it when it’s young.

“But so long as you do those things, it does make a good family pet.

“One of the really good things about the barbet is its loyalty to owners–and people they like!”