The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show celebrates its 140th year by allowing seven new breeds into the judging lineup. According to CNN, 2016 will mark the largest number of new breeds since the year 2000. The new breeds hail from Europe, South Africa, and the USA. In order to be eligible to compete at Westminster, a breed has to have a few hundred AKC-registered members present in the USA.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will take place on February 15-16, and be broadcast live at 8 p.m. EST on CNBC Monday, and Tuesday at same time on USA Network. Three of the new breeds were featured on Good Morning America.
The new breeds are as follows:
- Lagotto Romagnolo
— WikiPedia Dogs (@WikipediaD) February 4, 2016
This is a brand new breed, just recognized by the AKC this year. According to the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America, the Lagotto Romagnolo is, “a small to medium sized dog with thick curly hair and a bright, happy demeanor. The breed originates from Italy and was first used to hunt waterfowl.
“Since the 19th century it has been specifically bred to hunt the underground tuber known as the truffle.
As a working breed, the Lagotto needs frequent mental stimulation and physical exercise to be happy and content. If properly socialized they get along well with dogs, children and other small pets. The breed comes in various shades of brown, with or without white, orange, with or without white, off-white, white with brown or orange patches, and brown roan. Tan markings are allowed.”
The Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America offers plenty of information on this dog, which originated in Italy: “The Bergamasco is an ancient shepherding breed, which traces its origins back thousands of years. Believed to have originated in Persia (in the area that is now Iran), hardy, vigorous shepherding dogs worked with their nomadic masters, tending and herding flocks of sheep in the harsh mountain climates from Persia west to Europe.
“Certain of these nomads ultimately settled in the Italian Alps and remained there; their dogs became what is now known as the Bergamasco.”
Like most herding breeds, the dog has a deep desire to please and develops a deep bond with its owner. The matted coat is a breed trademark and easy to maintain.
3. Cirneco dell’Etna
— Westminster Dog Show (@WKCDOGS) January 21, 2016
Originally from Cicily, this dog has maintained its look and behavior over centuries, with very little change. It is quite common in Sicily, and is known for rabbit hunting. Like most hounds, it has a gentle and affectionate disposition. The dog is small and color ranges in different shades of tan. Cirneco dell’Etna Club of America is a good source of information.
The largest of the new breeds, the Boerboel originated in South Africa. A Mastiff known as “the farmer’s bull dog,” it was used for protection from predators and could track down wounded game. The temperament is calm and stable, but it requires much socialization when young.
5. Berger Picard
— MorningScrambleAZTV (@morningscramble) February 9, 2016
A sheepdog originating in France, the Berger Picard was almost rendered extinct after the world wars. It took a concentrated effort of breeders and fanciers to save it. Thanks to the film, Because of Winn-Dixie, the breed began to gain notice in the USA about ten years ago. There is much more information about the Picard in this story about a brindle dog named Garcen who will compete at Westminster.
6. Spanish Water Dog
This high-energy, close relative of the Portugese Water Dog bears resemblance to it in many ways. It is also an excellent swimmer, and very devoted to its people. The Spanish Water Dog Club explains that they are “medium sized with a distinctive curly coat that may form cords when long. They are slightly longer than tall. The Spanish Water Dog is a multi-functional, all around farm dog.
“He is primarily a versatile herding dog who was used to gather, drive and pen sheep, goat, and cattle in its native country (Spain) for centuries.
“Their natural ability is a derivative of the Spanish Water Dog’s instinct to read stock and situations and react appropriately. The SWD has also been used as an assistant to the fisherman. Some have used the Spanish Water Dog as a hunting dog, although there is no historical documentation about what or how they hunted. Many Spanish Water Dogs enjoy swimming and diving. They have webbed feet, like almost every other breed.”
7. Miniature American Shepherd
A breed familiar to many Americans, this bright and sensitive herding dog is gaining popularity in the agility arena. He is good-natured, devoted and loyal, and hard working. The breed was developed in California in the 1960’s, thought to be originated from Australian shepherds. The Mini American shepherd will be enshrined in the Westminster Kennel Club along with the other herding breeds in 2016.
[Photo via Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock]