7 New Breeds You'll See at The 2016 Westminster Dog Show

When you tune into the Westminster Dog Show on Feb. 15 and 16, you might be surprised by some new sights — like the corded coat of the Bergamasco and the Mastiff muzzle of the Boerboel.

The American Kennel Club granted full recognition to seven breeds, making them eligible to compete at Westminster for the first time this year. Check out our gallery to learn about the Bergamasco, Boerboel, Berger Picard, Cirneco dell'Etna, Lagotto Romagnolo, Miniature American Shepherd and Spanish Water Dog. And let us know in the comments below which breed you want to win Best in Show at Madison Square Garden come Westminster week!

Breeds Making Their Westminster Debut

Bergamasco dog breed with puppies in a field

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Bergamasco (Herding)

The Bergamasco, an ancient sheep-herding breed, hails from the town of Bergamo, Italy. He may remind you of another corded sheepdog called the Puli — which also sports a signature matted coat — but while the Bergamasco comes from Italy, the Puli gained popularity in Hungary. Because of his herding heritage, you may find that the Bergamasco tends to think for himself, closely observe strangers and be inclined to protect his family.

Berger Picard

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Berger Picard (Herding)

The Westminster debut of this sheepdog calls for a fun pronunciation lesson: Berger Picard is pronounced “bare-ZHAY pee-CARR.” Where in the world did that name come from, you ask? Well, berger is the French word for "shepherd," and Picardy, France, is where the breed originated. Voilà, Berger Picard! These shaggy-looking dogs are typically very active and (health permitting) can make fantastic companions for jogging, hiking, swimming or running.

Boerboel Side View

Eva-Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Boerboel (Working)

The Boerboel is another breed with some interesting etymology: Her name translates to "farmer's dog" in Afrikaans. She was developed in South Africa to guard farms, diamond mines and other property — and, even four centuries later, is still likely to retain the protective, territorial nature for which she was originally valued. Though the Boerboel is generally devoted to her family, this Mastiff breed is probably not a wise choice for first-time dog owners.

Cirneco dell'Etna dog breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Cirneco dell’Etna (Hound)

If you're considering bringing a Cirneco dell’Etna into your family, make sure you build a tall fence around your yard first; this stunning sighthound is known for being a stellar jumper. Cirnechi (which is the plural word for the breed) are rarely found outside their home country of Italy — there are only about 200 of them in the United States. They're famous for hunting silently, allowing them to catch their prey off guard.

Lagotto Romagnolo in Autumn Leaves

Eva-Maria Krämer, Animal Photography

Lagotto Romagnolo (Sporting)

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a curly canine who possesses a keen sense of smell, thanks to his heritage as a truffle hunter, and many excel at the dog sport of nose work. You may expect that his dense, curly coat would leave fur all over your furniture, but he sheds surprisingly little, compared to other breeds. Just remember that the Lagotto usually requires regular trimming by a groomer.

Miniature American Shepherd Sitting Down

Courtesy of the American Kennel Club

Miniature American Shepherd (Herding)

Your eyes might be deceiving you... this isn't a shrunken Australian Shepherd! In fact, it's a completely different breed you'll see in the ring at Madison Square Garden this year: the Miniature American Shepherd. These small herding dogs tend to be energetic, loyal and agile, with coats that come in black, blue merle, red (liver) and red merle coloring.

Three Spanish Water Dogs Outdoors

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

Spanish Water Dog (Herding)

Whether you call him a Perro de Agua Español, Perro Rizado, Turco Andaluz, Barbeta or Spanish Water Dog, we bet you're looking forward to seeing this adorable breed vie for the Best in Show title. The breed, which goes by many names, gained popularity in Spain as herding dogs on farms and as part of the crew on fishing boats. Spanish Water Dogs have webbed feet, and many of them enjoy water activities like dock diving and swimming.

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