French Ring Sport is a dog sport that originated out of France in the early 1900′s. It shares a common history with Belgian Ring Sport which also originated around the same time, and the two sports are very similar. The purpose of French Ring Sport, like many dog sports that have come out of Europe, was to test dogs for their character and suitability for work and breeding. Since then, the rules have been changed and refined into a proper sport.
Dogs competing in the sport perform exercises in front of judges who award them a point total based on their performance. Regardless of which title the dog is competing for, it will be awarded a rank of Non Classe, Bon, Tres Bon or Excellent, corresponding with less than 60%, 60-70%, 70-80% and over 80% point totals. However, only dogs that achieve a score of over 80%, and a rank of Excellent, will qualify for the title and be able to compete for more challenging titles in following years.
Before a dog can compete for proper titles, it must pass an introductory test of obedience, intelligence and character known as Brevet. Just as with full titles, a dog must obtain a score of 80% of higher in order to pass and move on to full competition. After the initial introductory tests, there are three levels of French Ring titles simply known as French Ring 1 (FR1), French Ring 2 (FR2), and French Ring 3 (FR3). Each title tests obedience, agility and protection with FR1 offering the least difficult exercises and FR3 being the most challenging. Unlike most dog sports, dogs must compete twice for each level, in front of two different judges. A dog that has passed the first judging in FR1 is considered to be Level 1, while a dog that has passed both is considered to have the full French Ring 1 title. The same is true for both FR2 and FR3.
Unfortunately, while French Ring Sport is commendable as a sport, it is a far cry from real-world protection work. Whether you have a German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd or Belgian Malinois, it is imperative that you train it for the work it will be doing. Training a dog for sport just isn’t good enough for real protection dog or guard dog work.