Breed risk status assessment methods are key components of country-based early warning and response systems. In this study, a multi-indicator method was developed to assess the risk status of livestock populations. Six indicators were used: (i) the current number of breeding females; (ii) the change in the number of breeding females over the last 5 years or generations (depending on the species); (iii) percentage of cross-breeding; (iv) effective population size; (v) breeders organization and technical support; and (vi) socio-economic context. To make these indicators comparable, observed values were converted into scores on a six-point scale (from 0 = no threat to 5 = maximum threat); a specific conversion method was used for each indicator. For each breed, the different scores were analysed graphically and an overall score was calculated by averaging the six separate indicator scores. This approach was applied to 178 French local breeds, belonging to ten different species: horse, donkey, goat, pig, chicken, turkey, goose and Pekin duck. A large percentage of local breeds were found to be at risk to be lost for farming, although the results were species dependent. All local equine and pig breeds, as well as almost all local poultry breeds appeared to be endangered. About 80 percent of local goat and cattle breeds, and half local sheep breeds were also found to be at risk. The usefulness of this method with regards to conservation strategies and public policy is discussed.