The 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will open February 13 at Madison Square Garden, hosting six new dog breeds.
American Kennel Club (AKC) authorities have specific rules for allowing new breed entries to competition. Two among them are a substantial number of members of the breed in the United States, and a breed club that oversees devotees of the breed and geographic diversity.
The following information is provided by Sue Manning of the Associated Press:
The names of some of these rookie breeds competing in this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Feb. 13 and 14 at Madison Square Garden are a mouthful: the Entlebucher (ent-lee-BOO’-kehr) mountain dog, the Norwegian Lundehund (LUHN’-dee-hund), the American English coonhound, the Finnish Lapphund (LAP’-hundh), the Cesky (CHESS’-key) terrier and the Xoloitzcuintli (show-low-itz-QUINT’-lee), previously known as the Mexican hairless.
The AKC provided these thumbnail sketches of this year’s rookie breeds:
The American English coonhound is a descendant of the English foxhound and evolved from Virginia hounds. Originally used to hunt fox by day and raccoon by night, the breed once was called the English fox and coonhound. The breed is pleasant, alert, confident and sociable with both humans and dogs. The modern version of the dog is a speedy, durable and wide-ranging hunter.
The Entlebucher mountain dog is a native of Switzerland and the smallest of the four AKC Swiss breeds. Prized for its work ethic and ease of training, this dog can switch easily from high-spirited playmate to serious, self-assured dog with a commanding presence. This is not a good dog for the casual owner because it needs so much socialization and will remain active and energetic all its life.
The Finnish Lapphund is a reindeer-herding dog from the northern parts of Scandinavia. It is thought that this breed existed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years as a helper dog to native tribes. Today, the dogs are popular as family pets in their native Finland. Devoted to their family, they are friendly with all people, highly intelligent and eager to learn.
The Norwegian Lundehund is also called the puffin dog. It spent centuries on the rocky cliffs and high fields of arctic Norway hunting and retrieving puffins, which provided an important meat and feather crop to local farmers. This dog has at least six toes on each foot so it can handle the almost vertical areas where puffins nest. Today’s version of the dog is an alert, cheerful and somewhat mischievous companion.
The Xoloitzcuintli is the national dog of Mexico. It comes in three sizes, and there is a coated version seen only in the United States and Canada. These dogs are descendants of the hairless dogs prized by the Aztecs and revered as guardians of the dead. Living in the Mexican jungles, they were shaped by their environment. Their intelligence, trainability and natural cleanliness have turned them into unique and valued pets.
The Cesky terrier is a well-muscled, short-legged hunting terrier that can be worked in packs. With natural drop ears and a natural tail, it is longer than it is tall and has a long, soft, silky coat that can be any shade of gray from charcoal to platinum. Lean and graceful, the dogs are reserved toward strangers but loyal to their owners and always keen and alert during a hunt.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.