The French 2014 dog scene, as each year, was concerned by several issues: registrations and most popular breeds, shows, legislation topics, and the SCC orientations.
by Anne-Marie Class
Last year saw 34 CACIB shows, 94 CAC shows, over 300 regional and national breed club championship shows, 130 confirmation sessions and presentations, over 30 cups and national working championship competitions, 1700 working trials (rescue, defense, tracking, herding, hunting, sight hounds racings, agility competitions, etc.), all organized by the SCC or under its aegis.
The most successful international dog shows remain the Paris Dog Show in January with 3034 dogs entered; Bordeaux one week later with 3058; Montluçon: 3051; Orléans: 3034; Bourg en Bresse with 2876 dogs was not so far, then come Amiens : 2551; Rouen: 2246; Limoges: 2116; Saint-Brieux: 2090.
Some events are organized with 2 shows in one week-end: one national show on Saturday and one international show on Sunday. Metz saw over 4000 entries, Douai 3347, Nantes 4293, Perpignan 2242. In 2014, some of these national or international shows saw an entry reduction. On the other hand, Championship Club shows were mainly increasing. They are significant as the CAC of these shows allow obtaining the French Champion title (the only other opportunity being the CAC of the French national championship all-breed show).
The climax of the show calendar was the French Championship Show, held last year in Angers. An excellent entry of 7410, a beautiful main ring and a good organization made it a great success.
BIS was judged by Tamas Jakkel from Hungary who chose the White Swiss Shepherd “Great Winner du Bois des Ternes”, bred and owned by Nathalie Touretta (photo n°1). This dog was best Junior 2013 at the French Championship Show in Marseille and represented France at the 2014 Eukanuba World Challenge. BIS Reserve was the Italian Saluki “Delborghino Oscardelarenta” belonging to Leonardo Galliano and third in Show was the Dachshund “Eliot d’Harcourt” bred by well-known handler Pascal Douis and belonging to Christine Marion.
There was a further thought at the French Kennel club to promote national shows and to create more national champion titles. The other purpose was to preserve a good genetic diversity in breeding. It is a shame but one should realize that breeders love champion titles to choose a stud dog. In our country, dogs that have points (called “cotation”) may likely be considered as champions. They have to have results at shows, a character or working test plus health tests. All these issues brought the SCC about to create new champion titles. The new ones are Junior Champion, Veteran Champion and National show Champion. For the latter, six CACs from which one at a Specialty show and the same health tests and working or temperament ones as for the French Champion title are compulsory.
In the same spirit of breeding dogs fit for function, the Agriculture show (in French, “Salon de l’Agriculture”) reserved to the best dogs of the Nationale d’Elevage (the Best Champion male and female, the CAC male and female, the Best breeder and the Best Progeny), was held, as usual, during the last week of February. A huge show devoted to the domestic animal and promoting the French breeding. It drew, as usual, more than 700.000 visitors. It is a one week show with 2 week-ends and a finale on the last Sunday; each day competition being dedicated to one or two FCI groups and judged by a panel of three judges: one veterinarian, one Group judge, one all-round judge. At the end of these 9 days, Professor Bernard Denis, Christian Eymar-Dauphin, the SCC President and Jacques Médard-Ringuet, all-round judge, had to decide between the five finalists: the wired-haired Fox Terrier Fyrewyre Brown Sugar, the Italian Greyhound Gourmandise “Peche Capital Bamani de Magistris”, the Afghan “Jacosta Gold But Not Copper”, the Gordon Setter “Darius de Cinq à Sept” and the Standard Teckel “Ford Camaro de la Lucerne d'Outremer”.
The Winner was the Fox bred by Betty SEATON and Alton PERTUIT from the USA and owned by Véronique Gehan (photo n°2), second was the Greyhound bred and owned by Nathalie Hurel, third the Afghan, bred by Stephen Wheeler from Australia and owned by Didier Coton.
Best of Pastoral French breeds have a special competition involving dogs which have obtained working trials and the winner was the Pyrenean Sheepdog Uhlan de la Petite Ferme de Wihr (photo n°3).
A real revolution came in 2014 when the SCC undertook to encourage the DNA identification for pedigree dogs. It appeared clearly that the solution lied in the centralisation of the tests by the SCC. It entitled the SCC to trade better prices. An invitation to tender was done and three European laboratories presenting the best quality-price ratio were selected. Dog-owners now order kits from the SCC, let the sample be done by their veterinarian who sends it to the SCC. It is also possible to let samples be done at shows when a vet is present and able to do it. Samples are sent to the SCC who identifies them and sends them to one of the three European DNA analysis laboratories. A guarantee of reliability for pedigree dogs. Next step will be to manage genetic diseases testing.
One important event took place in Paris: the FCI Show and Show Judges Commissions meetings gathered delegates from countries all over the world and for the first time China and Turkey were present. The French Kennel Club was delighted to welcome the event and to show them round the offices and the library.
218.320 pedigree dogs were registered last year, an increasing number compared to 215.365 in 2013, 207.987 in 2012, 202.931 in 2011 and 198.029 in 2010. Ten years ago the number of registrations was 175.667.
Most popular breeds are: German Shepherd (11.192), Belgium Shepherd (10.306), Golden Retriever (8.826), American Staffordshire Terrier (8.575), Australian Shepherd (8.352), Labrador (7.277), Cavalier King Charles (7070), Staffordshire Bull Terrier (6.510), Chihuahua (6308), French Bouledogue (6.224).
France has 57 own breeds, most popular are French Bouledogues, Brittany with 4966 puppies, Beauceron: 3266, Bichon Frise with 1300, Poodles with 1332, Dogues de Bordeaux with 1334.
Groups 1, 2, 3, 5 and 9 were increasing; Groups 4, 6, 7, 8, 10 are decreasing. Puppies of 283 breeds were registered in 2014. Registrations were still up last year. It is incentive for the work of breed clubs who are in charge of the selection for their breed. It is the breed club who decides of the compulsory health tests, temperament tests, conditions to obtain national titles, gives instruction to judges and is responsible for their training.
For the coming year, the French Kennel Club plans a new portal bringing together all dog activities including also breed clubs and working committee’s publications. Currently there are a formal website: www.scc.asso.fr and a general public website: http://www.chiens-online.com. Breed clubs, local canine societies, working committees have mainly their own websites despite the fact that many of them also publish news and results on Chiens-online.
The 2014 Literary Awards went to the Japanese Akira Misubayashi for his novel “Mélodie, chronique d’une passion” written in French. Melodie is the story and analysis of the relationship between the author and his Golden Retriever bitch. A stirring autobiographical account written in a delicate style, rich of philosophical and musical thoughts.
Concerning legislation, there is currently a debate about professional and amateur breeding which brings about a lot of discussions and cause for concern. In fact, the real problem consists with the non-registered puppies produced without any control.
Dog shows are only a part of the French dog scene. Many other topics and projects are of importance and are about dog fitness and pedigree dogs’ promotion. It needs efforts from all dog background actors: breeders, clubs and canines societies’ officials, veterinarians and researchers.
Photo n°1 :
BIS Championnat de France 2014, Angers:
Winner: White Swiss Shepherd “Great Winner du Bois des Ternes” bred and owned by Nathalie Touretta. BIS Reserve: the Italian Saluki “Delborghino Oscardelarenta” belonging to Leonardo Galliano. Third In Show was the Dachshund “Eliot d’Harcourt” bred by Pascal Douis and belonging to Christine Marion.
Photo n° 2: Winner of the final of the Concours Général Agricole at the Agricultural show: the wired-haired Fox Terrier Fyrewyre Brown Sugar, bred by Betty SEATON and Mr Alton PERTUIT from the USA and owned by Véronique Gehan,
Photo n° 3:
Best of Pastoral French breeds at the Agricultural Show: the Pyrenean Sheepdog Uhlan de la Petite Ferme de Wihr.