February is a dog lover’s dream. Last Sunday, it was the adorable Puppy Bowl, which featured 78 playful shelter puppies, and on Feb. 13 and 14, it’s the Super Bowl of dog shows: The 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. When you tune in to the live coverage of the group competitions at Madison Square Garden, be on the lookout for a few new (adorable) faces: the American Hairless Terrier (Terrier Group), Sloughi (Hound Group) and Pumi (Herding Group).
These three dog breeds were fully recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2016, making them eligible to compete in dogs shows and competitions. FS1’s live coverage of the group competitions and Best in Show from Madison Square Garden can’t come soon enough — so while you eagerly await, check out the gallery below to learn more about the new canine competitors and meet the dog breeds making their Westminster debut in 2017.
American Hairless Terrier (Terrier)
Known for his purported intelligence and high energy level, the
American Hairless Terrier was created in 1972 when a puppy in a litter of Rat
Terriers was born hairless. Like many members of the
Terrier Group, the AHT usually has a high prey drive and can excel at dog
Not to be confused with the Greyhound or Saluki, the Sloughi is typically an intelligent, affectionate sighthound prized for his speed and strong prey drive. The breed originated in
North Africa as a companion to the nomadic Berber people.
A wavy-to-curly-coated Herding breed who hails from
Hungary, the Pumi generally loves to run and hike (health permitting) or veg on
the couch with his favorite humans. People who live with the Pumi say the breed
is so observant that he seems to have mind-reading abilities. Although we can’t be sure
he has those skills, we bet he’s very good at predicting when he deserves a
Meet the Bergamasco, a sheep-herding breed named for his hometown of Bergamo, Italy. This dog tends to be alert and protective — no doubt thanks to the herding work he's been developed to do — and can make an excellent watchdog. So what's the deal with the matted coat? It offers him limited protection from bad weather, as well as predators he might drive off while defending his flock.
Berger Picard (Herding)
Another sheepdog in the competition, the Berger Picard is thought to be the oldest of the French sheepdog breeds, making her first appearance at a French dog show in 1863. Many Picards are comical, observant and confident — so it's not surprising that the producers of the 2005 film Because of Winn-Dixie chose one of these dogs to be its canine star.
"Boerboel" is the Afrikaans word for "farmer's dog," and that's exactly what this breed was born to be. Dutch settlers in South Africa developed this Mastiff breed in the 17th century to protect their families, farms and livestock from predators, such as baboons and leopards. These typically protective and territorial dogs are known for their blocky heads, muscular bodies and signature Mastiff feature: the wrinkled forehead.
Cirneco dell’Etna (Hound)
The Cirneco dell’Etna, sometimes called the Sicilian Greyhound, tends to be an alert companion boasting the heart of a true hunter. Owners of multiple pets should be aware that the breed will often happily chase furry animals in the yard — or even clear an inadequate fence to do so. Overall health permitting, the breed can also excel at dog sports like agility and lure coursing.
Lagotto Romagnolo (Sporting)
Any self-professed foodie who happens to live in a region blessed with truffles might want to keep a Lagotto Romagnolo around! She's an Italian breed created for hunting the tasty (and very expensive) treats. These dogs are beloved for their usually energetic and affectionate personalities — not to mention their thick, curly coats that, surprisingly, don't shed much. If you aren't able to take your Lagotto truffle hunting, she may enjoy a comparable activity like nose work or tracking.
Miniature American Shepherd (Herding)
The Miniature American Shepherd may stand only 13 to 18 inches tall, but don't let that fool you. This generally intelligent and good-natured dog can be very versatile, whether she's working as a herding dog or simply as an active family companion. Her medium-length double coat may be solid or merled in color, with or without white and/or tan markings, according to the American Kennel Club's breed standard.
Spanish Water Dog (Herding)
In their home country of Spain, these curly-coated herding dogs are called the Perro de Agua Español, which, as it happens, translates literally to "Spanish Water Dog." Little is known of the breed's origins, but they've long worked as herding dogs for livestock like goats, sheep and cattle. Those who lived on boats or in fishing villages also did retrieving work as part of the crew.
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