The Westminster Dog Show is debuting two new dog breeds this year, both from faraway lands and with exotic-sounding names.
The Coton de Tulears and the Wirehaired Vizsla will prance, leap and pose among the more familiar golden retrievers, beagles and wire fox terriers (like the one named Sky who won the dog show last year), Reuters reported.
The dog show, which began Monday and concludes Tuesday with the “Best in Show” award, has been around for 139 years and already features nearly 200 breeds. To get into Westminster, a breed has to meet a set of qualifications with the American Kennel Club – it needs a parent club, a specific geographical distribution and high enough presence in the U.S., Reuters added.
Luckily for us, the Coton de Tulears and the Wirehaired Vizsla met those qualifications. And now, for some introductions, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.
“The Coton de Tulear, with its cotton-like white coat and rectangular shape, comes from Madagascar and is described by breeders as intelligent, quirky and clown-like. Cotons became a favorite of the Madagascar’s aristocracy, who called them the ‘Royal Dog of Madagascar.'”
And the royal dog’s fellow newcomer?
“The Wirehaired Vizsla, developed by hunters and falconers in Hungary, is a lean and athletic hunting dog with a weather-resistant and dense wire coat. It is known by breeders for being affectionate and intuitive.”
Westminster Dog Show Unveils Two New Breeds, And You Won’t Be Able To Pronounce Their Names
Coton de Tulears
A pair of Coton de Tulears strut their stuff at the Crufts dog show in England last year.
Wirehaired Vizsla and his owner Anton Sagh
Wirehaired Vizsla Falco and his owner pose for press at the Westminster Dog Show
Wirehaired Vizsla poses for photos at the Westminster Dog Show
The new dogs on the block must shoulder between Westminster’s most popular pooches– the golden and Labrador retrievers, the Associated Press added. The white Bull Terrier and Norwegian Lundehund will also be a bit scarce, with just one rep each at the dog show.
There are few more things you should know about Westminster 2015, according to the AP. Portuguese water dog Matisse the Portie is the favorite (he’s a cousin to President Obama’s dog, too). Westminster has a new judge more accustomed to the inside of the court room – California trial court judge David Merriam; no one knows if her prefers hounds, toy dogs, or Wirehaired Vizslas.
And keep an eye on the handlers, who are purposefully dowdy. Westminster’s dogs are the stars and so their owners blend in with tailored clothes in muted colors – no glitter or garish jewelry. Finally, though Labrador retrievers, dachshunds, Dalmatians and Chihuahuas are pretty popular pets, they’ve never won a Best in Show prize.
[Photos courtesy Getty Images.]