Westminster Dog Show Welcomes New Breeds

At this year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show there will be six new breeds that will be making their debut.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will take place on Feb. 13-14 at Madison Square Garden. The new breeds of dogs include; the Entlebucher, the Norwegian Lundehund, the American English coonhound, the Finnish Lapphund, the Cesky terrier and the Xoloitzcuintli, which was previously referred to as the Mexican Hairless.

With the six new breeds at this year's competition it will bring the total number of dog breeds to a staggering 185. That is the total number that will vie for this year's most coveted award, the grand prize for best in show. In 1990, there were 142 eligible breeds.

The dog show is the oldest recurring annual sporting event in the United States apart from the Kentucky Derby, according to David Frei, the kennel club's director of communications and the USA Network's show host.

Currently there is no limit on the number of new breeds that can be considered for completion in a given year. However, there is a strict rubric that must be followed to make certain that the criterion that had been established is met.

For the last 12 years, no more than six rookie breeds have been approved in any year, Frei said.

Before the American Kennel Club will approve a new breed, there has to be a large number of the dogs in America and there has to be a breed club established.

The rookies will compete with all the other dogs but it is unlikely that the any of the rookie's will win best in show.

Frei said the rookie who became the best in show the fastest was the Bichon Frise. The Bichon Frise won best in show in 2001 after entering the competition is 1974, a span of 27 years.