If you have a purebred dog, you may hear many times the mysterious three letters FCI. In this short writing I try to introduce one of the most important organizations of the canine world.
FCI is the French abbreviation of Fédération Cynologique Internationale. FCI can be translated into English as The World Canine Organisation. And thus FCI is an international federation of kennel clubs that is based in Belgium, Europe.
Kennel club is an organization dealing with breeding, showning and promotion of more than one breed of dog. These clubs gained popularity first in the 19th century in Europe and North America and they focused on the principles of eugenics. The main tasks of kennel clubs include recording pedigrees, maintaining breed standards, specifying the rules of breed shows and trials, accreditation of judges, recording of adult purebred dogs and litters of puppies that were born to purebred parents.
The federation was established in 1911 by five founding countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, France and Netherlands. During the bloody World War I (1914-1918) the Federation could not work and it was re-created in 1921.
What is the purpose of FCI?
It is written very clearly in its General Provisions as follows:
The aims are :
(1) to encourage and promote the breeding and use of purebred dogs whose functional health and physical features meet the standard set for each respective breed and which are able to work and to carry out different functions in accordance with the specific characteristics of their breed;
(2) to protect the use, the keeping and the breeding of purebred dogs in the countries where it has a member or a contract partner; to support the non-profit exchange of dogs and of cynological information between the members and to initiate the organization of shows, tests, trials and other activities like sport events, the use of dogs in rescue operations, etc.
(3) to promote and support dogdom and dog welfare worldwide.
Currently there are 91 members and contract partners, namely one member per country. Every member has the right to issue its own pedigrees and to train and license its own judges. All federation members automatically recognize every pedigree and judge issued or licensed by another FCI member. This principle of mutuality is a key value of FCI membership.
The federation recognises in total of 343 breeds. As a result every breed belongs to one specific country that defines the strict standards of the breed that include e.g. the detailed description of the ideal type of the breed. These standards are important because they are the one and only references for the judges at shows that are held in any FCI member countries and for breeders who intend to produce purebred, top-quality dogs.
The FCI member countries regularly hold international conformation shows (breed shows), working/hunting trials and tests, agility and obedience competitions, races, coursing and herding trials. All the results of these shows, trials and tests are sent to FCI headquarter for processing and homologation. If a dog receives a certain number of awards, he or she is eligible for the title of e.g. International Beauty or Herding Champion. FCI is responsible for the homologation of these titles too.
Finally breeders can register and book their kennel names internationally through their national kennel clubs.