Three distinctive new dog breeds will be strutting their stuff at Westminster this year, their eager exhibitors hoping to impress the cameras and the judges.
The Buhund is a member of the Spitz family. Ancient versions of the breed travelled with the Vikings on their many journeys as far back as the year 900. While it herded reindeer and hunted bear and wolf in the early years, the Buhund developed into an all-purpose farm dog performing a host of duties, including guarding property and herding livestock.
Typical of the Nordic breeds, the Buhund carries its ears erect, its tail curled over the back and possesses a short, harsh, thick double coat that may be creamy gold (called “wheaten”) or, occasionally, black.
The breed stands 16-18 ½ inches at the shoulder and weights from 26-40 pounds. The Buhund is an alert, energetic companion for lively owners who will provide it with ample exercise.
Four Buhunds are entered at the Garden.
An astounding entry of 17 Pyrenean Shepherds reflects great dedication on the part of its owners and supporters. The breed, known affectionately as the Pyr Shep, has herded sheep in the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France for centuries. The breed was admired for its service to the French troops during World War I. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Pyr Sheps gave their lives for the cause as couriers, search-and-rescue dogs finding injured soldiers, and keeping guards company on their rounds.
Some Pyrenean Shepherds arrived in North America in the 19th century, accompanying flocks of imported sheep. Fanciers imported breeding stock in the 1970s and ‘80s to lay a foundation for the Pyr Shep.
Height at the shoulder is from 15-21 inches and the AKC breed standard describes the Pyr Shep as a “superb athlete… uncoiffed and light-boned… a small, sinewy, lean, lively dog” with a “sparkling personality and quicksilver intelligence.” The breed comes in two coat types, rough-faced and smooth-faced, with colors ranging from shades of fawn to shades of gray. The Pyr Shep is a consummate athlete that requires lots of exercise and a job to do.
On the second day of Westminster, the Sporting Group welcomes an entry of eight Irish Red and White Setters. This is a distinct breed, not just an Irish Setter of a different color combination, and has been known in Ireland since the 17th century. The Irish Red and White is thought to be the older of the two Irish Setters, but due to the tremendous popularity of its solid-red relative, it faced near extinction by the end of the 19th century. The 1920s saw efforts made to re-establish the Irish Red and White.
The breed is admired for its courage, spirit and determination, in the field and at home. These are superb family dogs but their energy demands regular exercise. The breed carries less coat than the Irish Setter and a natural appearance is desired. This striking gundog stands 22 ½-26 inches at the shoulder.
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