The beginning of the FCI’s Plan for the Future

The last six months have seen a great deal of hard work, adaptation, changes and planning. They have also been the first six months of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale’s new plan for the future and during this time we have reached a consensus on working together to build a platform for the new FCI.

Ever since the very first day on which I became chairman, I have been determined that the FCI would begin this new era strengthened and united, in order to face up to the challenges that lay ahead of us all, and to make the changes needed in order to convert the FCI into a proactive organisation which would benefit not only our members but - far more importantly - the dogs of the world.

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Rafael de Santiago
President of the FCI
Current FCI Breeds Nomenclature: who, when, how?
Part 1/2

When the FCI Newsletter’s Editorial Committee contacted him about the preparation of the current FCI Breeds Nomenclature, Prof. Raymond Triquet, former member and President of the FCI Standards Commission, was happy to explain the circumstances in which he prepared this nomenclature and the criteria he used to achieve this extremely important work, an almost universal classification system which has been applied and duplicated around the world, to the extent that it is now THE benchmark on the subject. It therefore gives us great pleasure to pass on to you in a few lines the thoughts of Raymond Triquet, together with those of Doctor Yves Surget, a major figure on the French and international dog scene.

Yves De Clercq
FCI Executive Director

Breeds Nomenclature

As we announced in these columns (SCC Informations), a new breeds nomenclature was adopted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale at its General Assembly in Israel on 23 and 24 June 1987.

The former nomenclature, which my colleagues might vaguely recall skimming through during the first year of their zootechnics studies had effectively become obsolete and contained too many inaccuracies for the leaders of the Sociéte Centrale Canine. Also, in 1979, the Zootechnics Commission was required by the Committee to update the nomenclature in force at that time. Claude Roche was appointed a rapporteur within the Commission. He very quickly appreciated the size of the task he had been given and stated that it was not simply a question of making a few changes, but rather of completely overhauling the classification of the breeds. However, his trade union activities took up a considerable amount of his time and, therefore, due to the significant amount of time and thought that would have to be devoted to the successful completion of this task, Claude Roche requested that another rapporteur be appointed. The Zootechnics Commission then turned to Professor Raymond Triquet of the University of Lille III, the author of the indispensible and accomplished “Dictionnaire de la Cynophilie - Dictionnaire anglo-français du Monde du Chien” to carry out the task of reforming the nomenclature.

The former nomenclature included ten groups of breeds. The first group comprised working and non-working sheepdogs and cattle dogs. The second group was composed of guard and protection dogs (Molossoids, Bouviers, various Spitz breeds), both working and non-working. The third group contained the Terriers, the fourth was reserved for Dachshunds, while the fifth and sixth groups were devoted to scent hounds for large game and scent hounds for small game respectively. The seventh group contained the non-British breeds of hunting and pointing dogs, while the eighth comprised the British breeds of Pointers, Retrievers and Spaniels. The ninth group contained Toy and Companion dogs and the tenth group comprised Sighthounds.

This nomenclature was liberally sprinkled with canine heresies. For example, the ninth group included some non-working Terriers or Spaniels, and some dwarf breeds were incorporated into the breeds in the first two groups.

In addition, there were a number of errors, in particular the reference to the “Braque du Puy”, as if the dog originated from the city of Puy, when it was actually known as the “Braque Dupuy”, named after a breeder from Poitiers involved in its selection.

Raymond Triquet set to work in 1981 and, like Claude Roche, believed that it was not simply a question of improving the existing nomenclature, but that it had to be completely rewritten. He described his ethic and his conception of the nomenclature in a number of articles, one of which, published in the third quarter of 1981, asked the question, “what about breed standards after 100 years of canine organisations?” and, as well as the inaccuracies contained in a number of standards, highlighted the imperfections in the nomenclatures on both sides of the Channel. During the third quarter of 1984, he made a case for “the use of an accurate terminology in the canine field”. However, in the second quarter of 1983, he had written an excellent paper entitled “Concerning a componential definition of groups, breeds and varieties”, which resulted directly in the rearrangement of the canine breeds into logically composed groups. He defined the group as “a class of breeds with a number of distinctive transmissible characteristics in common”. This explains the appearance of a componential division of the breeds into ten groups, based on their related morphological characteristics and on similar aptitudes. There were, however, a number of administrative requirements that needed to be taken into consideration. The catalogues for dog shows were prepared using the nomenclature, and the College of Judges was formed in accordance with the specialisations of certain judges, with others being qualified within a specific group, and sometimes for an entire group.

While conducting his analysis, Raymond Triquet carried out a major consultative enquiry, approaching all of the breed associations about this opportunity to classify their specific breeds within the planned new nomenclature, asking for their observations and requirements.
The business was, at the end of the day, ably and efficiently completed, for in 1985, the new nomenclature was proposed to the Zootechnics Commission, who adopted it after making only a few minor amendments. This substantial and accomplished work was based on a conception of the classification of dog breeds that was completely different to what had gone before. It was difficult to isolate France in applying the nomenclature which had just been adopted, and it was decided to present it to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in order to have it applied to all of its member countries.

This proposed radical upheaval appeared to be truly revolutionary to the officers of the FCI, who tried to avoid the problem. Nevertheless, discussions began which led to a number of modifications. These included the allocation of Dachshunds, which had previously been included in a sub-group of hounds, to a specific group in order to accommodate Germany and take account of its wishes. A new dialogue was opened, this time between the member nations of the FCI.

It was just as obvious that the 1985 General Assembly in Amsterdam was also avoiding the adoption of the French nomenclature of Raymond Triquet. In July 1985, the Committee of the SCC decided to implement the new nomenclature as of 1 July 1987. Then the work of the FCI European Section in Vienna in May 1986 highlighted the fact that most of the European countries were willing to offer their support, with a few minor variations. Countries from other continents, particularly Japan, made it known that they were also in favour. The FCI Committee was finally convinced and decided to submit the nomenclature, which it had ruled out in vain in 1985, to the General Assembly in Jerusalem in June 1987. The SCC Committee decided that it would be right to do everything possible in order to promote the adoption it wanted to take place and, with this in mind, it postponed the date of implementation of the new nomenclature until 1 January 1988 so as not to put the FCI in the position of facing a fait accompli on the part of the French.

The final adoption of the text in Jerusalem on 23 and 24 June 1987 constituted a positive move and the recognition by the FCI of the value of the proposals of the Société Centrale Canine.

The new nomenclature, which will be fully developed in this column, therefore includes, after the inevitable concessions and modifications, ten groups of breeds. The groups are divided into sections, within which the sub-groups are preceded by a capital letter. The countries are classified numerically in accordance with the alphabetical order of their names in French. When the FCI recognises varieties within a breed (varieties which, of course, have no specific standard), they are classified in alphabetical order and preceded by a lower-case letter. The name of the breed is expressed in the Latin alphabet and spelt in the language of the country of origin, with the French translation, if it exists, included in italics. The number in parentheses following the name of each breed corresponds with the number of the standard allocated by the FCI. Finally, the working breeds are indicated by the reference (TR) in parentheses and in italics. The nomenclature is presented under the following general headings:

  • Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs – Section 1 = Sheepdogs; Section II = Cattle Dogs (except for Swiss cattle dogs).
  • Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer. Molossoid breeds, Swiss Cattle Dogs - Section I = Pinscher and Schnauzer types; Section II = Molossoid breeds (mastiff types and Mountain types); Section III = Swiss Cattle Dogs.
  • Group 3: Terriers (large- and medium-sized, small-sized, bull types, toy Terriers).
  • Group 4: Dachshunds.
  • Group 5: Spitz and primitive types – Section I = Nordic dogs (Sledge dogs, Hunting dogs, Watchdogs and Herders); Section II – European Spitz (German Spitz, Italian Spitz); Section III Asian Spitz (Japanese Spitz, Chow chow); Section IV = Primitive types.
  • Group 6: Hounds and scenthounds - Section I = Hounds (Large-sized hounds, Medium-sized hounds, Small-sized hounds); Section II = Scenthounds.
  • Group 7: Pointing dogs - Section I = Continental (Braque type, Spaniel type); Section II = British and Irish (Pointers, Setters).
  • Group 8: Retrievers, Flushing dogs and Water dogs - Section I = Retrievers; Section II = Flushing dogs; Section III = Water dogs.
  • Group 9: Companion and Toy dogs - Section I = Bichons and related breeds; Section II = Poodle; Section III = Small Belgian dogs; Section IV = Hairless dogs; Section V = Tibetan dogs; Section VI = Chihuahua; Section VII = Dalmatian; Section VIII = English Toy Spaniels; Section IX = Japanese Chin and Pekingese; Section X = Continental Toy Spaniels; Section Xl = Kromfohrländer; Section XII = Small Molossian type dogs.
  • Group 10: Sighthounds and related breeds – Section I = Sighthounds (long-haired or fringed; short-haired, drop ears); Section II = Related breeds (Hunting dogs with erect ears: Cirneco, Pharaoh and Podenco).

This quick table shows the consistency of this nomenclature. Only Group 9 contains a number of sections including some breeds which could have been incorporated elsewhere (for example, the Dalmatian with the Braques, the Poodle with the water dogs, etc.). It was, however, apparent that in a number of different cases, on account of the changes in our society, similar morphological characteristics no longer corresponded with common aptitudes. For that reason, Group 9 contains sections which form relatively logical and satisfying entities.

This nomenclature is easily memorised and undoubtedly worthy of being brought to the attention of veterinarians, regardless of how it came to be created and of the perspective from which it was drawn up. It is a real asset for the Société Centrale Canine in that it demonstrates a greater scientific involvement in its approach and serves as a tool for the relatively simple and perfectly logical classification of dog breeds.

Dr (Vet.) Yves Surget
SCC Informations n° 17, 1e trimestre 1988

The personal, but not short, account of the breeds nomenclature

The SCC (French canine organisation) originally entrusted the task of updating the breeds nomenclature to Doctor Roche. He passed the task on to me in 1981, with the agreement of the Zootechnics Commission of the SCC. Before Doctor Roche, Doctor Luquet had often criticised the famous “yellow sheet”, in other words the list of breeds of the FCI.

I quickly realised that there was no point in simply updating the list, but that it had to be completely rewritten from scratch. I believed that it was necessary to sort the different breeds into groups and sub-groups using the distinctive traits that characterise them. The purpose and nationality of each breed are no longer the only criteria. Each breed has become what it is due to a range of distinctive traits. This system was inspired by the phonetic classification of consonants. I submitted an initial article, written in November 1981, to the Zootechnics Commission of the SCC on 3 February 1982 (published in the Revue Officielle de la Cynophilie Française no. 38, 2nd quarter of 1982): “Concerning a componential definition of groups, breeds and varieties”. This article was preceded by a few thoughts on the “revision of the nomenclature of dog breeds” (R.O.C.F., same number, page 16).

I then wrote a report for the Zootechnics Commission of 20 April 1983 on a “draft breeds nomenclature”, which appeared in the R.O.C.F. no. 42, in the 3rd quarter of 1983 (distributed to the clubs by the SCC). After receiving feedback that was “sometimes receptive, but always constructive”, I submitted the draft on 23 November 1983 (appeared in R.O.C.F. no. 44 of the 1st quarter of 1984). I then pointed out that, using this method of distinctive traits, "this nomenclature is not inflexible. Any dog not featured in it can find a place. Any breed that appears to need removing can be removed. The only condition is that the arguments should be based on more than passion alone.”

I went to Brussels to present my draft. It was rejected by the FCI General Assembly in Amsterdam, and then discussed further. Its development was to continue through 1985, 1986 and 1987. I went to Vienna in May 1986 to explain its principles and organisation. Through the good offices of the President and the SCC Committee, some of the leading figures of the FCI offered their support. The FCI Standards Commission discussed it further in Paris on 8 November 1986. After a number of email exchanges, the draft submitted in Jerusalem on 24 June 1987 by Doctor Paschoud, President of the Standards Commission, and by me was adopted by the General Assembly of the FCI. The Société Centrale Canine then published it, but this was done without taking account of the final modifications of the FCI. Some details had to be explored again at Winterthur initially, then at Vienna on 5 and 6 October 1987. It was finally given the seal of approval. The SCC published the nomenclature in January 1988 in the "Règlements généraux de la Cynophilie Française" and decided that it would come into effect at the latest on 1 June 1988 at all French dog shows. It will be implemented in all FCI member countries on 31 December 1989 at the latest. I hope that, through the sub-groups, it will provide dog shows with a fresh element of competition. After designating the best dogs of each breed, we should be able to have them compete with the best of other breeds within the sub-group.

Of course, I can already hear the objections: “we need more time and more judges”. Yes, but what a spectacle to see truly excellent dogs competing with their “near cousins” or “virtual lookalikes” in sub-groups or homogeneous sections rather than seeing dogs slumped in cages for the entire afternoon. And the “Best in Show” would be the perfect example of this. This “new idea” will perhaps catch on. I have sent it to the SCC Committee, who have done me the honour of receiving me.

Raymond Triquet
Club du Bouledogue Anglais (English Bulldog Club), no. 3, 1988