Another year begins.

The start of a new year is a good time to look at the work that was accomplished over the past year. It is the right time to take stock, and this year will be no exception.

Once again, 2016 has been a busy year for the FCI Office –we owe it to the extensive activities of our members, of their breeders, of the exhibitors, etc. 2016 has been a year of major and remarkable events. A year during which our new premises have been brought to life as we organised a few receptions and hosted the meetings of several Committees or Commissions.

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Y. De Clercq
Executive Director
2016: a year to remember for purebred dogs in France

As the unique herdbook dedicated to purebred dogs in France, the French Studbook (LOF – Livre des Origines français) features figures dog lovers and connoisseurs can but welcome: with 228,045 registrations, the LOF (established and managed by the Centrale Canine since 1885) posts an all-time record year and supports the developments that took place in recent years as regards selection, facilities and traceability.

Our economy shows a flat growth, we are lagging behind the sharp American rebound, and yet, the year 2016 ended with a rise in household consumption in France. The main beneficiaries of this rise have been the automotive, real estate and domestic appliance sectors; however, French households have also turned to purebred dogs, i.e. dogs listed in the LOF. As a result, 2016 has exceeded all forecasts in achieving record registrations in the French Studbook. Here is a preview of the major trends in 2016, an outstanding year for dog breeding in France:

  1. three herding breeds top the 2016 list: the Belgian Shepherd Dog –driven by its Malinois variety, the breed has taken the pole position, thus dethroning the German Shepherd Dog (the undisputed leader since 1946), who places second before the Australian Shepherd Dog. The latter claims third position: a first since the LOF was established in 1885!
  2. three breeds –those on the podium– gather over 10,000 yearly registrations; the figure even goes as high as 11,000 for the ultimate champion, the Belgian Shepherd Dog.
  3. the star Retriever is the Golden Retriever, which approaches 10,000 registrations in 2016 and now ranks fourth on the podium.
  4. in Group I, 2016 is a historic year, with three breeds taking the top three places in the LOF. We also applaud the very good performance of the Berger de Beauce, that comes fourth in the Group.
  5. in Group II, the Italian Corso Dog has passed the 5,000 registrations milestone, thus confirming its leadership way ahead of number 2, the Bernese Mountain Dog (3,430 registrations) and the Rottweiler (2,817). The latter has been coming back nicely over the past few years (for the record: 1,878 registrations in 2012).
  6. Group III (Terriers) is largely dominated by an American dog, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and an English dog, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also known as “Staffie”, that both exceed 9,000 registrations in 2016.
  7. the Dachshund, which represents Group IV, turns in a much better performance with over 3,600 registrations.
  8. in Group V, the Siberian Husky remains unchallenged and passes the mark of 3,200 births: one has to go back to 1988 to find similar levels in the LOF.
  9. in Group VI (Hounds), which counts almost 70 internationally recognised breeds, the “Frenchies” are doing well – the Gascon Saintongeois (806), the Blue Gascony Griffon (719) and the Griffon Nivernais (691) in particular. The top-ranking Beagle boasts 4,682 registrations, i.e. almost one third of the Group’s total registrations.
  10. in Group VII (Pointing dogs), the top trio – the English Setter (one fourth of the Group’s registrations), the Brittany Spaniel and the Weimaraner – hold their spots in the podium. Note is made of the Kleiner Münsterländer’s breakthrough; the German Spaniel in the best of shape claims birth rates higher than those achieved by the Pointer, close to the German Hound’s performances.
  11. in Group VIII (Retrievers, Spaniels and Water dogs), the Golden Retriever is an undisputed leader, now approaching the 10,000-mark (9,808 registrations), whereas the two runner-ups, the Labrador Retriever and the English Cocker, hold their spots in the ranking. The steady growth of the Romagna Water Dog, an Italian outsider, should be highlighted.
  12. Group IX, France’s second favourite Group, gathers numerous stars of pleasant company, with an original top trio: a small-sized English Spaniel (King Charles Spaniel), a small-sized Mexican (Chihuahua) and a small-sized watchdog from the Île-de-France (the French Bulldog), all three with over 6,500 registrations.
  13. last but not least, Group X – Sighthounds, mainly – indicates a headcount scale-up thanks to the popularity of its leader, the Whippet (over 1,400), and its Italian counterpart, the PLI (Italian Greyhound). Regrettably, the Salukis and Afghan Hounds keep declining in number: the first posts 34 registrations only, and the second, 99. We welcome the progress of a scarce breed, the Deerhound, which multiplied its headcount by 2,5 within a year.

To conclude, the year 2016 confirms the buoyant state of the “purebred dog” sector, in progress in a country whose dog population is decreasing. This means the French are increasingly aware of the notions of purebred dog and pedigree when buying a puppy. This is a great opportunity to commend the work done by our breeders who, in addition to ensuring traceability and compliance with the breed-specific characteristics, have revised their criteria upwards these past few years, especially as far as the health and well-being of the dogs they breed are concerned.