Jarbas was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Attracted to training show dogs in his early 20's, he started grooming his Standard Poodle champions and opened one of the first grooming salons in Brazil, in 1976. After moving to the USA, he opened The Dog From Ipanema, a Florida salon with an international reputation for quality work, champion groomers and loving treatment of pets.
Barkleigh launched a side-career of public speaking, in 1996, with many engagements all over the nation that led to him being nominated twice for the Crystal Cardinal Achievement Awards. He co-organized and demonstrated at several large seminars in South America and conducted a series of workshops in Europe. He also was the featured groomer on Petsburg USA, an Animal Planet show, still in reruns.