The FCI, Fédération Cynologique Internationale, is an international organisation that defines dogs and their standards according to their country of origin. There are 84 member countries by contract and each country has one member representative. It is a unique organisation as the dogs are recognised by their country and that country writes and defines the standard of that particular breed.
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In 1911, the FCI was created in order to standardise and protect particular aspects associated with purebred dogs. The original countries were Germany, Austria, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Due to world war I and the troubles that were associated with it, the organisation did not function for a number of years, was re-created in 1921, and legally in 1968.
The United States is not a member of FCI but they do have a mutual agreement with the organisation regarding recognition. The FCI is not like the AKC in which it confers registry or defines pedigree; that is performed from within the member countries. Further, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale is not to be confused with the Federación Canina Internacional, which is not recognised by the former. This can be rather confusing as some of the member country's individual organisations, especially in South America, begin with Federación Canina.
The main activity of the FCI is the planning and executing international dog competitions at various times of the year. The highest award given is the Certificat d'Aptitude au Championnat International de Beauté, CACIB, which translated is the Certificate of Aptitude and International Champion of Beauty. There are four categories in which the dogs are judged: beauty, working, obedience, agility and racing. The group is also responsible for translating the dog requirements and breed standards as well as licensing judges for the shows.
There are 10 categories of dogs based on their characteristics. Each country sponsors a dog that is unique to that country's environment and writes the standards for the dogs. For instance, group 10 contains sight hounds, which include the longhair, rough haired and short haired. The shorthaired variety includes the greyhound from Great Britain, but also the Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Polish and Arabian greyhounds. The Spanish Greyhound is similar in breed to Great Britain's with the main difference being that the hindquarters are taller than the forequarters. According to the FCI, all of the greyhound breeds in Europe are descendants of the Asian greyhound, brought to the continent in ancient times. Each breed would be subject only to the standards set forth by its member country when in competition for beauty. The FCI today recognises around 339 breeds of dogs, throughout the world, in this way.
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