Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Une lettre, une année

Une lettre, une année
by Nicolas Yviquel

As you know, we love dogs on Canoe Island. Three dogs lived on Canoe Island this past summer: Eloise, Addie, and Gator. As a French person, what surprised me when I arrived in this country was how much people love their dogs here ! Don't worry, we love our "chiens" too in France. But in France, we express our love for dogs a bit differently than Americans.
Since 1885, the "Livres des Origines Français" (Book of French Origins) has been used by the "Société Centrale Canine" (Central Canine Society) to register purebred dogs in France. The US has a similar system: owners register every newborn purebred with their breed, their characteristics, their date of birth.... and their name. Naming a dog is where the process becomes interesting in France.
For many years after the creation of the "Livres des Origines Français," the system of registration wasn't well organized. Because owners sometimes waited until years after a dog's birth to register him or her, it became impossible for the Société Centrale Canine to chronologically order the register.
The Société found a radical solution to this problem in 1926. From this year on, the first letter of every purebred dog's name had to follow the same rule. One letter, one year. Every purebred dog born in 1926 had to have a name that began with the letter "A." Any dog whose owner failed to abide by these rules would not be recognized as a purebred. This rule proved complicated in 1952, the year of "Z." That year, a quarter of all purebred dogs were named "Zorro."
This system is still in use today after several small changes. The Société removed the letters "K", "Q", "W", "X", "Y" and "Z" from the naming system, leaving behind 20 letters in rotation. This system worked so well than even purebred cats have to follow it! In addition to France, Belgium and Québec also use this sytem.

Addie, born in 2009, would have had to been named with a letter beginning in "E." She could have been named Eloise! In 2018, we are currently in the year of the "O." What would your dog's name have been if you lived in France?

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