This time I want to tell you how our actions in the past year will affect the future of the FCI. I am not saying it is not important to summarise our achievements and to explain why we proceeded in a certain way, but I want to talk about our future as an international organisation, but most important about the future of our dogs worldwide.

Three aspects have been transcendental during the past year; cooperation and collaboration, innovation and preparation for the future. These three aspects will lead our organisation for the next year.

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Rafael de Santiago
FCI President
The "His Master’s Voice” dog was not a fox terrier

I spent many afternoons having tea with my grandfather, a man who, as I have told you many times before, was a genuine dog lover. I can almost see it still - it was a ritual, especially in the wintertime; tea was served in a little smoking room and he wore a short red dressing gown quilted with black velvet lapels, black and red slippers and a paisley neck scarf. He would take a pair of round gold glasses with spring-hinged arms out of his pocket - I still have them! - and then he would search among the slate records for old tunes which played on the gramophone with a sandy, yet ageless appeal... We would listen to Louis Armstrong singing "When You’re Smiling...."or others such as Xavier Cugat’s orchestral arrangements, while we had our tea which would end with Larios brandy and a fine Canary cigar.

We would chat about all kinds of things, such as what I was studying at university, life in general, old battles he had fought, music and especially dogs.

Among those slate records, a few of which I still have, although I do not still have the gramophone as the luck of the draw meant that it fell into other hands, there were a few with the little dog listening to his master’s voice on them. My grandfather always told me that it was a Jack Russell terrier, although some people said it was a fox terrier who was listening to his dead master’s voice. So what is the truth of the matter? To me, the dog’s face did not quite look like a fox terrier’s`...

We are all familiar with the image on the His Master’s Voice records, due to its direct or indirect prominence, even in certain films of the period. The little black and white dog’s name was Nipper.

Nipper was born in the English city of Bristol in 1884. He was a cross between a bull terrier and a fox terrier, and his owner's name was Mark Henry Barraud. Nipper got his name because he was always nipping at visitors’ heels and running after the squirrels, pigeons, rabbits and pheasants in Richmond Park, trying to bite them. When Mark died in 1887, Nipper was inherited by his two brothers, Phillip and Francis, and the little dog went to live with Francis in Liverpool. Phillip has no further part to play in this story as he was not a dog-lover, but Francis, on the other hand, was.

Francis had a photographer’s studio, plus he was a painter and also a member of the Royal Academy of Arts. Amongst the other things he inherited from his late brother was a wax cylinder phonograph and a few recordings of Mark’s voice.

Whenever he was feeling nostalgic, Francis would play Mark’s voice and he was amazed by the interest Nipper showed as he listened to the phonograph (phonographs could make recordings, whereas gramophones could not). Nipper would stand in front of the horn spellbound. He would lick it, sniff it and listen to it delightedly, tilting his head and looking through the phonograph in a vain attempt to find his late master.

Moved by both his own artistic genius and the animal’s devotion to his late brother, Francis took a photo of Nipper in 1895. We all know the pose - listening to his master's voice coming out of the phonograph. Nipper died in September that year at the grand old age of eleven.

Amazed by the animal’s loyalty, Francis had the idea of putting the photograph onto a canvas painted over with oil. Barraud completed the painting in 1898 and it was registered as "dog looking at and listening to a phonograph" on 11th February 1899. Barraud then decided to change the name of the painting to "His Master’s Voice" and attempted to exhibit it at the Royal Academy, but it was not accepted. It was also turned down by various magazines. "Nobody would know what the dog is doing" they told him. Although to start with he did not want to sell the painting, when he found himself in rather low water financially, he ended up showing and offering it to the Edison Bell Company (the inventors of the phonograph), but James E. Hough, the company’s owner, said “dogs don’t listen to phonographs.”

Francis left the painting standing in pride of place in his workshop. Barraud did not give up on trying to sell the painting, as he could see something almost magical in it. He attempted to improve it in order to sell it and, in the summer of 1899, he took a photo of his painting with him when he went to 31 Maiden Lane to see the brand-new “Gramophone and Typewriter Company (G & T)" to ask to borrow a gramophone in order to improve his painting. In an article for The Strand magazine, the painter wrote: "The manager, Mr Barry Owen asked me if the picture was for sale and if I could introduce a machine of their own make, a Gramophone, instead of the one in the picture. I replied that the picture was for sale and that I could make the alteration if they would let me have an instrument to paint from". The sum of 100 pounds closed the deal on 4th October 1899.

The painting made its advertising debut in January 1900. Then on 16th July 1900, Berliner registered his company’s famous logo, showing a friendly little dog - that many people thought was a fox terrier or a Jack Russell - listening, spellbound, to a gramophone with the slogan “His Master’s Voice”. This logo was to be used by various brands, such as RCA RECORDS and RCA VICTOR.

Emile Berliner, the inventor of the gramophone, asked for the North American rights to the painting to become the property of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Victor used the image more intensively than their British subsidiary and all Victor records had Barraud’s drawing of the dog and the gramophone on them from 1902 onwards. Advertisements of the period told record buyers to "look for the dog".

"His Master’s Voice" was not used as an image on their records by the British subsidiary until 1907. Subsequently the painting, the title and other rights were registered as trademarks in 1910, after it had become clear what a huge success it had become.

Nipper made Francis Barraud’s fortune; he produced 24 replicas of his original, and became a famous and highly-reputable painter and photographer. He died a famous man in 1924.

The "His Master’s Voice" oil painting is on display at EMI Music’s head office in Gloucester Place and when it is seen in the right light, the original phonograph can still be seen underneath the second coat of paint.

Nipper was buried in Kingston, London, in a park which at the time still had various magnolia trees. The park eventually disappeared and today a branch of Lloyds Bank stands on the site. There is a bronze plaque at the main entrance reminding us that this is where the most musical mongrel in the world was buried.

EMI attempted to put up a commemorative plaque on the house in Bristol where Nipper was born, but the owner refused to give consent and, sniffing the possibility of a good bit of business, asked them to buy the house if they wanted to do this.

The trademark which had been created claimed its rightful place as one of the ten most widely recognised brands of the twentieth century.

There is one curious anecdote that we simply have to mention - in 1980, the HMV shops, which were still operating in the United Kingdom, found a little dog which looked rather like Nipper and called him Toby. They used him for openings and record launches for the chain of shops... However, sequels never live up to originals... Toby had rather a bad temper and his irascibility made it very hard for him to do his job properly. He was a true terrier, and the HMV chain handed him over to someone who did not know how to train him - he was even banned from Crufts in 1984 because of his bad behaviour.

That is the story of a magical mongrel which helped the painter who gave him a home achieve his dream of becoming famous.

Rafael Fernández de Zafra