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Dogs in the Languedoc, ( The Name in Occitan. Clich here to find out more about occitan.  Lengadòc) France - Article on dogs in French Restaurants:

Which country has most pet dogs in relation to its population? You probably guessed Britain if you're British and the US if you're American, but the answer is France. France must be the best country in the world to be a dog. With possible exception of hunt dogs who often lead pretty grim lives, dogs here are petted and spoiled without shame. Pet dogs enjoy a freedom and acceptance that withered away a generation ago in what the French refer to as the Anglo-Saxon world.

It is still regarded as normal and safe for dogs to run around in villages here. Many have their own medicine cabinets, kept well-stocked by their owners. They go on holiday with the family. No quarantine here. Within France you can take dogs anywhere. It is normal to see them in shops, cafés, parks, even cinemas. No one will turn a hair at the sight of a man, even a hulking scarred thug, carrying his coiffeured toy poodle into a rough city bar. I have never come across a restaurant that refused to allow dogs in. In fact dogs are generally welcomed enthusiastically, especially in the smarter restaurants. I'm convinced that there is a strong positive correlation between price and dog-friendliness - exactly the opposite of what you might expect in Britain. Before taking your order the waiter will generally ask whether your dog would like a bowl of water.

A couple of years ago it was acceptable to take dogs into supermarkets, but signs have been appearing recently indicating that dogs are no longer allowed. The Anglo-Saxon obsession with hygiene has started to encroach. The standard sign in western countries to indicate that dogs are not welcome is a silhouette of a dog with a red diagonal bar through it. In most countries the dog is of indeterminate breed, but in France the silhouette is easily recognisable - it is a poodle, or as it is known here a caniche. Although poodles are favourites in France, the standard poodle or caniche royale is almost unknown. People often stop us in the street to ask about our oversized brown poodle. Perhaps they are thrown by the fact that she is not clipped in a fancy style and her tail is not docked. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred the conversation goes like this:

"That dog looks like a caniche, but it's much too big to be a caniche."
"It's a caniche royale."
"What is it crossed with?"
"Nothing it's a pure-bred caniche."
"Have you been giving it steroids?"

One in a hundred is quite different, and consists of a short dissertation:

"That's a real caniche. You don't see many of those nowadays. They were used as hunting dogs in the Middle Ages you know. They were bred for hunting water fowl, especially ducks. Those fluffy bobbles that you see on many poodles are a remnant the times when the hair was cut to stop it matting in the mud. The bobbles were left in strategic places to keep the joints warm."

As far as I know all this is perfectly true. The odd thing is that the population divides so cleanly between those who know nothing about standard poodles and those who seem to know everything.

As a treat on New Year's Day we went to the smartest restaurant in the area for lunch. Naturally we took our poodle, still a puppy. We had wondered if such a smart restaurant might be above the usual doggy conventions, especially as she was carrying her favourite toy in her mouth. But no. The restaurant conformed to the pattern. As we walked in with our puppy, there were squeaks, whines, yaps and growls from every table as we passed. Every single table in the restaurant had a pet dog under it. A bowl of water was produced as a matter of course. The waiters all took a shine to our puppy, and stopped to wrestle with her saliva-drenched toy every time they passed. She of course was delighted at the constant attention. No one in the restaurant seemed to find it at all odd that waiters should be handling such an unsanitary object.

So take care. If you are worried by the idea of waiters handling slobber-soaked dog toys, you should avoid the very best city restaurants when you come to France. In cosmopolitan cities like Toulouse it is not at all uncommon to see lap dogs sitting on cushioned chairs at dining tables next to their owners, plates in front of them. I haven't seen any with wine glasses yet, but then I don't get to Paris very often.


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Article on Languedoc France