European larch (Larix decidua) is a native species from the Alps and from several mountainous ranges in Central Europe. Its early introduction outside its native range, especially in lowlands western and northern Europe has been problematic for ecological (phenology) and sanitary (canker) reasons due to the lack of knowledge of its genetic variability. As a substitute, Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi) and then hybrids between European and Japanese larches have been preferred in these regions together with Siberian larches in northern Scandinavia. Results from intensive provenances testing (as early as in the 1940s) have been the corner stone on which breeding programmes have developed both at the intra- (mostly in Central and Eastern Europe) and inter-specific (mostly in North-Western Europe) levels. Inter-specific hybridization is probably the most emblematic and promising breeding strategy for larch, taking benefit of both species trait complementarity, hybrid vigour (heterosis) and hybrid homeostasis. While seed orchards are now the main source for dissemination of genetic progress for European larch, mass-production of hybrid larch remains problematic either through sexual (hybridization seed orchard) or asexual (vegetative propagation by cutting) ways and still impedes large deployment of hybrids in Europe. While progress is expected from current research on this topic (coupling of somatic embryogenesis with bulk vegetative propagation by cutting, 2nd generation hybridization orchard), other hot issues include decoding of heterosis, evaluation of genetic variability for the most original larch wood properties (heartwood formation and durability), adaptation to climate, etc. Joined efforts at European level are expected for genetic resource conservation, breeding and deployment, and tackling of several scientific and technical bottlenecks.