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The Naming Tradition of the Epagneul Breton and How It Lives on in the US

For nearly a hundred years, France has embraced a unique tradition in naming dogs that ties directly to their age and heritage—a system that has captivated not only dog aficionados within the country but has also sparked interest among breeders and owners globally, particularly in the United States.

The French System of Naming Dogs

In France, the official dog registry employs a fascinating method of naming dogs that allows anyone to easily determine a dog's age based on its registered name. Here's how it works: each dog's first name begins with a designated letter for the year of its birth, followed by its kennel name (for example: Vela de la Kennel). This method not only streamlines the registration process but also adds a layer of tradition and pride to owning and breeding Epagneul Bretons. Note, many owners choose to follow the naming tradition with the official registered name, but opt for another name for the day-to-day call name (for example: Registered name = Vela de la Kennel // Call name = Frankie).

Initially, the system used the entire alphabet. However, over time, the letters K, Q, W, X, Y, and Z were dropped as finding French names beginning with these letters proved challenging. Now, the alphabet used in this naming system rotates every 20 years, resetting to "A" after reaching the last designated letter.

The Adoption of French Naming Traditions in the U.S.

While the United States doesn't have an official naming system akin to France's for dogs, many American breeders and owners of the Epagneul Breton—a breed deeply rooted in French tradition—have opted to adopt this naming convention. This adoption underscores a deep respect for the breed's origins and a desire to maintain a connection to its rich French heritage.

The Current Cycle and Looking Ahead

Currently, the naming chart for the Epagneul Breton spans from 2005 to 2024. This year, 2024, is designated to the letter 'V'. Thank you to our community who provided a plethora of creative and fitting names including Violet, Vicki, Val, Vinnie, Vidalia, Vera, Visa, Victor, Vader, Vroom, Vendetta, and many more.

In 2025, this cycle will reset with the letter "A" once more. This cyclical approach not only helps breeders and owners keep track of lineage and age but also adds a cultural richness to the practice of dog breeding and ownership.

Why Does This Matter?

This naming tradition is more than just a systematic approach to registering new puppies. It is a celebration of heritage, a nod to the systematic French approach to canine registration, and a way to connect more deeply with the history of the breed. For breeders, this method provides an organized framework for tracking generations of dogs. For owners, the tradition enriches the experience of having a pet by connecting them with the broader, international community of Epagneul Breton enthusiasts.

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