Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Three new breeds will battle for Best of Show at the revered Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden Feb. 10-12.
TODAY.com reported that the Rat terrier, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno and the Chinook, which are already owned and loved by many Americans, have been added to the lineup, which now totals 190 breeds.
“Many of the breeds have been around for years … they just haven’t been recognized by the American Kennel Club until now for competition,” said David Frei, communications director for the AKC.
Rat terrier, now a member of the AKC’s terrier group, is an all-American dog, bred by early immigrants by crossing a variety of terriers. By the early 1900s, they were among the most common farm dogs, dutifully chasing the Kansas Jack Rabbits that were destroying crops. Rat terriers came to the rescue, and they became appreciated for their speed, highly evolved sense of smell and pleasant dispositions.
Part of the hound group, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is the National Dog of Portugal, a small, primitive dog with a wedge-shaped head and erect ears. Like the Ibizan Hound and Basenji, he hunts using sight, sound and scent and is known for his sturdy build and affinity for rabbits.
According to the AKC, he evolved from ancient hounds that came to the Iberian Peninsula around 1,000 BC with Phoenician traders, and the breed was established to hunt in Portugal’s severe, thicket-encrusted terrain. As old as the breed was, it was not brought to the United States until the 1990s.
Finally, the Chinook, a member of the working group, is a strong, muscular sled dog who also makes a loving pet. He’s also another American beauty, developed on the New Hampshire farm of Polar Explorer Arthur Treadwell Walden. His sled dog team was the first dog team to climb Mt. Washington, and 16 dogs from the team joined Admiral Richard’s Byrd’s first expedition to Antarctica.
The Chinook Owners Association proudly described what Admiral Byrd, who also appointed Waldenlead driver for his 1929 Antarctic Expedition, had to say about the dogs.
“Had it not been for the dogs, our attempts to conquer the Antarctic by air must have ended in failure … Walden’s single team of 13 dogs moved 3,500 pounds of supplies from ship to base, a distance of 16 miles each trip, in two journeys. Walden’s team was the backbone of our transport,” he wrote.
It will certainly be interesting to see just how well the rabbit terrier, celebrity hound and Antarctic explorer do at Westminster this year.
This post is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.