Westminster: Meet the New Breeds
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the most prestigious canine competition in the United States, has added three new breeds to its annual event, which for the first time will also include a program featuring cats.
The introduction of the new breeds into this year’s show was announced in a news conference at the show’s venue, Madison Square Garden in New York City, on Monday. The show runs on Feb. 11, 13 and 14, and it is expected to feature more than 2,800 dogs. Agility, obedience and individual breed competitions will be part of the show’s judging.
A feisty little dog with a smooth coat “good for allergy sufferers,” Gail Miller Bisher, the event’s spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “It is curious and active; definitely a terrier mentality.”
This is a medium-large athletic hound with short, smooth hair; the breed was developed in North Africa for its hunting skills. The animals can be attached to their owners but aloof with strangers, Ms. Bisher said. (Pronounced SLOO-ghee.)
An ancient Hungarian herding breed. “They are a cute and strong herding dog,” said Ms. Bisher. “Again, very interested in pleasing their owner and a quick learner.” (Pronounced POOH-me.)
The Westminster Kennel Club introduces new breeds into the show after the American Kennel Club has officially recognized a breed, a process that can include record-keeping showing the animals are purebreds.
“So these breed clubs have worked for many years to become recognized,” said Ms. Bisher. “They are oftentimes very popular in other countries,” such as the pumi and sloughi, which are just gaining popularity in the United States, she said.
Dogs and cats showing together
The new dogs aren’t the only change at the 140-year-old show. This year’s official program will also feature — gasp! — cats, Ms. Bisher said. (An American Kennel Club “meet the breeds” event has featured felines in the past, but it’s traditionally been held separately.)