Three new breeds bring the number of recognized American Kennel Club dog breeds to 187. On July 1, 2015, the Lagotto Romagnolo, Berger Picard and Miniature American Shepherd became fully recognized and eligible to compete in AKC events.
In order to become fully recognized, breeds begin by recording with an accepted registry, either the national breed club or the AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS). Acceptance into the FSS does not guarantee full AKC recognition, though accepted breeds are able to compete in AKC Companion Events. When there is enough interest in the breed, a sufficient population in the United States, an acceptable level of geographic distribution and an approved breed standard, the national breed club can submit a written request to have the AKC approve the breed to compete in the Miscellaneous Class. Finally, after the club has grown sufficiently (usually after one to three years), the breed can move to full AKC recognition. Two breeds were added in 2014, the Coton de Tulear (Non-Sporting Group) and the Wirehaired Vizsla (Sporting Group).
Joining the Sporting Group in 2015 is the Lagotto Romagnolo, the only purebred dog recognized as a specialized truffle searcher. This is a rustic Italian dog with a distinguishing woolly, curly coat and an affectionate personality. Lagottoi tend to be shy, but bond strongly with their families and require much interaction. Like other Sporting breeds, this breed loves to swim and retrieve and is easy to train.
The AKC breed standard calls for a dog that looks like “he has the strength and endurance to work all day in difficult and challenging terrain.” The Lagotto is a small to medium-sized breed that is square-shaped, being as high as it is long. The defining characteristic of the breed is the woolly coat, comprised of semi-rough ring-shaped curls and a visible undercoat. The dog is shown with a clipped coat, though the cut should be long enough to retain the characteristic curls and texture. A rustic look is preferred, as a correct coat is not “luxurious and shiny,” and over-groomed dogs are to be eliminated. Since Lagottoi have hair rather than fur, the coat must be trimmed occasionally, and the breed does not shed regularly.
For more information about the Lagotto Romagnolo, visit www.lagottous.com.
The Berger Picard, also known as the Picardy Shepherd, joins the Herding Group in 2015. Originally a farm dog in the Picardie region of France, this medium-sized breed is good-natured, loyal, and intelligent. Picards are good with children, but can be opinionated and are happiest when they have a job to do. The President of the Berger Picard Club of America, Betsy Richards, said Picards “have a sense of humor and are underestimated because they are really, really smart.”
According to the AKC breed standard, the Berger Picard is “a rustic, working shepherd’s dog, without exaggeration or refinement.” The breed has a distinctive shaggy, rough coat, either fawn or brindle-colored, that should display the outline of the dog and include a moderate beard and moustache. The lively Picard should be shown naturally, his coat never “sculpted, shaped or scissored,” and Richards stressed that the breed is to “stay rustic looking” and “not overgroomed.” Ears should be moderately large and set high on the skull, always carried erect. The tail tapers from a strong base and ends in a J-hook, carried as an extension of the topline or slightly higher, but “never curled over the back,” according to the standard. The Picard moves effortlessly and tirelessly, and has a well-muscled framework “without ever being bulky or ponderous.”
For more information about the Berger Picard, visit picards.us.
Miniature American Shepherd
The Miniature American Shepherd also joins the Herding Group. This small, intelligent breed originated in the United States and is very athletic. While a strong and biddable dog with high stamina, the Miniature American Shepherd is also a devoted companion who is protective of and loyal to his family.
A Miniature American Shepherd is “slightly longer than tall” and “solidly built with moderate bone in proportion to body height and size,” according to the AKC breed standard. The breed has an alert expression, though “may express a reserved look and/or be watchful of strangers.” The eyes and color of the Miniature American Shepherd allow for “variety and individuality,” as eyes can be any combination of brown, blue, hazel or amber (including flecks and marbling), and asymmetrical markings “are not to be faulted” in any of the four recognized coat colors: black, blue merle, red and red merle. The coat is to convey moderation, having moderate feathering on the backs of forelegs and breeches, a moderate mane and frill, and being of medium length and texture. While a docked or natural bobtail is preferred, an undocked tail may have a slight curve that is accentuated when excited or in motion.
For more information about the Miniature American Shepherd, visit www.mascusa.org.