Want to breed from your dog? Owning a pedigree dog in France you hope to breed from does not automatically entitle you to offer its subsequent litter as ‘Chien de race’ (pedigree puppy). If you want to do so, you must comply with specific regulations. This article helps explain the background and stages you’ll need to follow.
Buying a pedigree puppy in France
If you have bought your dog in France, its parents must have an official pedigree. This document contains the genealogy of the dogs. It certifies that the dog conforms to the characteristics set out in their ‘breed standard. (In this case, ‘breed standard’ describes the ideal qualities required for the breed.)
The parent must also be registered with LOF (Livre des Origines Français) (see below) or the equivalent accreditation if the dog has been imported. The breeder must declare the mating of the LOF bitch (mother) by the LOF male (father) to the SCC (Société Centrale Canine) (see below) and register the resulting litter.
A puppy from LOF parents will have a birth certificate and be provisionally registered with LOF. It will only be definitively registered with LOF after being judged at a conformation examination. It is the judge who confirms that it corresponds to the breed standard.
What is LOF in France?
The Livre des Origines Français (Book of French Origins) is commonly known as LOF. The LOF register was created in 1885. It lists the origins of purebred French dogs. It is managed by the Société Centrale Canine (Central Canine Society). Often referred to as SCC, the society is similar to the Kennel Club in the UK and the American Kennel Club.
LOF is the only official genealogical book dedicated exclusively to canines in France. Dogs registered with LOF are entitled to the title ‘pedigree LOF dog’, which justifies a higher price than a non-registered dog and crossbred dogs.
Registering your dog with LOF can be done under several circumstances.
Getting Your Dog Registered with LOF ‘in Respect of Descendants’ (LOF parents)
Registration is with the SCC. You will need to supply breed documents and have your dog examined by a breed conformation specialist judge. Dogs can be entered at 10, 12 or 15 months, depending on the breed. There is no maximum age.
Breed conformation shows take place all over France. They comply with the following SCC guidelines:
- National or international dog shows and presentations organised by Regional Canine Societies affiliated with the SCC.
- National or regional breeding shows and delegation meetings organised by affiliated Breed Associations, with the agreement of the Regional Societies.
- Field trials organised by Regional Societies and Breed Associations.
- Conformation sessions organised by Regional Societies and Breed Associations.
- Sighthound working trials organised by Breed Associations and Working Sighthound Clubs.
NB Competitions, tests and demonstrations of guard and defence dogs are excluded.
In all but exceptional cases, you will need to pay an entry fee. You should bring with you the following documents to the show:
- Your dog’s birth certificate issued by the SCC if it was born in France or the pedigree of the dog’s country of origin if it is imported (see below).
- Your dog’s identification card
- The conformation examination form, which can be downloaded from the SCC LOF site.
Other Ways to Register Your Dog With LOF in France
In addition to registering LOF ‘in respect of descendants’, you can successfully register your dog in the following ways:
- Registration ‘initially’ for a dog (non-LOF parents), which is recognised as conforming to the breed standard by a judge during its LOF conformation examination.
- Registration in ‘the Waiting Book’ if the original book of the dog’s breed is closed (which happens at the request of the Breed Club and after authorisation from the Ministry of Agriculture when the dog population is large).
NB After three generations are registered in the Waiting Book, the puppies can be registered in the LOF.
- Registration ‘under import’ if the dog is imported and registered in a foreign breed book recognised by the SCC.
Find out more information (in French) here.
Preparing Your Dog for the LOF Judging
The venue is likely to be busy, noisy, and have lots of dogs milling around. Ensuring that your dog is well socialised will aid lower its stress levels – and yours!
If you live in a quiet environment, in the run-up to the event, taking walks around your local market or town, and socialising with other dog walkers, all help get your dog used to the hustle and bustle. Oh, and making sure your dog is squeaky clean on conformation day is never a bad idea.
During the examination, the judge will want to see your dog moving and standing still, which can be tricky if you have an excitable animal. They are likely to check the head, mouth, and eyes, and measure the dog’s height, checking for eliminating faults, e.g. bone structure, colour, or character traits that do not conform to the breed standard.
While judges will tolerate friendly licks, they are less likely to cope well with nippy behaviour.
If your dog has a tattoo, make sure it is perfectly legible.
Usually, the decision is made immediately. However, the decision may be postponed if the judge considers that the dog can evolve in a favourable direction, e.g. a possible defect is noted, and the judge could not decide whether or not it is likely to develop.
If the confirmation is postponed, you will be given a deadline to return your dog for another examination.
What Happens After the LOF Examination?
If your dog is successful, it will be adjudged APTE, which means it conforms to the breed standard and will bedefinitively registered with LOF. You will be asked to photocopy the following documents, which you should retain:
- Birth certificate
- The confirmation form signed by the judge (without detaching the sheets)
You must then send the originals by registered mail to the SCC with a cheque for €27 (fee correct at the date of article publication) as payment of registration and establishment fees or modification of the pedigree.
The SCC will send a copy of the LOF confirmation file to the breed club, which has a period of one month to validate or refuse the confirmation. All being well, the SCC then returns the definitive pedigree to you. The definitive pedigree gives you the right to become a LOF breeder.
NB An enriched pedigree has recently been in circulation for all LOF confirmed dogs, including five generations of ancestors.
In addition to the genealogy, it highlights certain information which is colour coded to make it easier to read. It includes results in the form of abbreviations that relate to:
- DNA fingerprint and genetic filiation (colour: violet)
- Beauty performance (colour: red)
- Work performance (colour: blue)
- Health (colour: green)
Find out more (in French) here.
What Happens if Your Dog is Not Adjudged APTE?
If your dog is judged unfit during the confirmation examination and you do not accept the reason given by the judge, you can contest the decision.
You must notify the SCC, who will allow you to appeal within two months. The SCC will appoint an appeal jury of three experts. You will be asked to send a deposit of €110 (fee correct at the date of article publication). This will only be returned to you if the original decision is overturned and your dog is confirmed as APTE.
Breeding Pedigree Puppies in France: the Law
Here are a few legal reminders if you are looking to breed pedigree puppies in France.
- A definitive LOF registration is necessary for a dog to legally qualify as Purebred for breeding purposes.
- ONLY dogs with definitive LOF papers have a right to be called a pedigree dog or a “Chien de race”.
- If it is not registered in the LOF, when advertising, you can only refer to your dog as of breed type/breed appearance/crossbreed.
- The minimum age for selling a puppy is eight weeks. The puppies must be identified by a tattoo or microchip.
- The breeder must apply to the SCC to have the litter registered. This can only be done once the puppies are microchipped or tattooed.
- When selling a LOF puppy, you must present his birth certificate, its identification certificate (chip or tattoo) and an authorised veterinary health certificate
NB: There is no legal requirement for you to carry health checks on your dog before breeding. However, the conscientious breeder will take their dog to the vet for specific health tests.
Each breed club recommends examinations the breeder should have done. For example, the hips and elbows are X-rayed with Australian Shepherds, the eyes examined, and several DNA tests are undertaken.
You might also want to check out this article on breeding and buying LOF puppies in France (in English) here.
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