New Breeds in the Neighborhood

Meet the dogs joining Westminster 2011.

As hopeful show dogs prepare to take center stage at the 135th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, representatives from six breeds are getting ready to make their prime-time dog show debut.

This year's competition, scheduled to take place on Monday, February 14 and Tuesday, February 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, will feature new breeds in the Sporting, Hound, Working, and Herding groups.

For these dogs, the road to glory has been a long one. Before a dog or its handler can even dream of taking part in the WKC show, they first must be recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The journey begins with getting a breed on record with a registry accepted by the AKC.

After that, these breeds work to meet a long list of requirements involving everything from sanctioned shows and events to setting up breed specialty clubs and waging campaigns to garner national interest in the breed. When a breed meets all of the criteria, the information is presented to the AKC and, if all goes according to plan, full AKC registration is granted.

So who are these pooches who will premiere on the Westminster stage this year? Here are the six new canines gracing center stage.

The Boykin Spaniel, new to the Sporting Group this year, is also the State Dog of South Carolina, where the breed was originally developed. This friendly breed is known for its hunting prowess and stamina.

Tracing its history to the "Grand Bleu de Gascogne" of France, the Bluetick Coonhound joins the Hound Group this year. A Bluetick Coonhound also serves as the University of Tennessee's athletics mascot, but whether the school's teams will come out and cheer the breed on to return the favor remains to be seen.

Also in the Hound Group, the Redbone Coonhound (pictured) has the ability to tree just about anything. But when off the job, these beauties have a sweet, calm temperament.

With roots stemming back to the 16th century, the Cane Corso joins the Working Group. The affectionate hunting dog also makes an ideal guardian and protector.

The adorable Leonberger, also new to the Working Group, shares roots with Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, and Great Pyrenees. The protective and courageous breed is named for the town of Leonberg, Germany, to which it traces its roots.

New to the Herding Group, the Icelandic Sheepdog is compact in size but large in spirit. Relatively rare outside of its native home, this breed has a thick coat made for tough weather.

Want to test your breed knowledge? Play our Meet the Breeds game.

And to find out more about individual breeds, check out our dog breed information.

Photo submitted by user Patricia M.

Will you be watching the Westminster Dog Show this year? Tell us your thoughts below!

Comments (3)

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samantha w.
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samantha w.
3 years ago

When will Treeing Walkers be recognized?

Good Point | Reply ›

daryl b.
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daryl b.
3 years ago

ches i have always thought it would be great to have a show for the mixed breeds. this is exciting. i love when they recognize new breeds for the show.

Good Point | Reply ›

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