Every year, the competition to be Best in Show gets more competitive at the Westminster Dog Show held in Madison Square Garden as new breeds are recognized for the famed green carpet including the Lagotto Romagnolo, known for its Truffle-hunting skills . This year seven new breeds will compete in the various groups.
The seven new breeds that will be onsite competing this year are: the Bergamasco, the Lagotto Romagnolo, the Berger Picard, the Miniature American Shepherd, the Boerboel, the Spanish Water Dog
and the Cirneco dell’Etna.
This year, the Westminster Kennel Club will celebrate its 140th consecutive show.
Here are pen pictures of the seven new members of this exclusive dog show club.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is an ancient breed from the Alps. The Bergamasco is a medium size dog, well-proportioned with a rustic, ungroomed appearance. He is a solidly compact dog with a strong, powerful build, boasting speed and agility. His imposing aspect is increased by the thick coat which is one of his typical characteristics and makes him different from any other dog and is formed of long flocks (felted strands made of a triple coat). The coat is considered hypoallergenic and non-shedding. Bergamascos are intelligent, loyal, eager to please, helping to make them wonderful family companions.
The Berger Picard (bare ZHAY pee CARR) or Picardy Shepherd is one of the oldest French herding breeds. With World War I and World War II being fought in the Picard’s home territory of northern France, the Berger Picard nearly became extinct and is still rare today. The movie, Because of Winn Dixie, introduced America to the Berger Picard but the public primarily thought it was a mixed breed. This delightful medium-sized dog is people-oriented, loyal, and can make a good family pet if properly socialized. Their rustic coat does not require hours of maintenance.
The Boerboel is a big, strong athletic dog originating in South Africa. They should be well balanced with good muscle development and move swiftly and powerfully with an imposing countenance. Reliable, intelligent and obedient with a strong watchdog instinct, the Boerboel is self-assured and fearless, incredibly devoted and perceptive of the needs of their family. They are protective when necessary without being aggressive in normal interactions. Early, frequent and ongoing socialization is a must for these dogs as they are definitely a strong-willed animal. They are not a dog for everyone!
The Cirneco dell’Etna is considered to be the result of evolution of the Egyptian “Anubis” on the island of Sicily where it was introduced by the Phoenicians over 2,500 years ago. The breed’s ability to survive as a hunter of small mammals and fowl produced an intelligent and extremely hardy breed free of inherited health problems. The Cirneco today is an independent thinker yet easier to train than expected of a sighthound; a good family dog, affectionate and friendly; and requiring minimal grooming. Cirnechi enjoy mental stimulation and excel at performance events such as hunting, agility, coursing, tracking, rally, and more.
The Lagotto Romagnolo is enjoying a second career as the world’s foremost truffle hunting dog. The rustic curly coat which once protected the dog from freezing water, now keeps him safe from thorns and brambles as he searches the forest for truffles, buried deep in the ground. In the mid 19th century, concerned breeders began an effort to breed dogs that would ignore game and to develop the large nose and nasal passages that make him an expert in following scent. Agile in both mind and body, he has the endurance to work all day in challenging terrain and weather.
Miniature American Shepherd
Developed in the American West in the late 1960”s, the highly active Miniature American Shepherd is a small herding dog of extensive versatility. Formerly known as the Miniature Australian Shepherd, they are are up to 18 inches tall and up to 35 pounds as adults. They come in a variety of colors and are to be presented in a natural fashion, not to be sculpted by scissoring. Whether working stock, navigating an agility course, visiting a nursing home or riding the family couch, this intensely curious and intelligent dog does it with all due diligence and a wicked sense of humor.
Spanish Water Dog
A medium sized, rustic, athletic breed, the Spanish Water Dog originated in Spain. There they were versatile farm dogs, primarily herding sheep and goats, but also serving as hunting companions and assistants to the fishermen. Their distinctive wooly/curly non-shedding coat may form cords when long. Their coat should always be in its natural state and should never be brushed, combed, sculpted or aesthetically groomed. Their tails can be docked or a natural bobtail. They are loyal, vigilant and naturally protective, and must be well socialized. Because of their intelligence, trainability, athleticism and eagerness to please, they excel at all dog sports and performance events.