The number of fully recognized American Kennel Club dog breeds has grown to 180. Two new breeds, the Coton de Tulear and Wirehaired Vizsla, will be eligible to compete in AKC events beginning July 2, 2014.
To become an AKC-recognized breed, the potential breed needs to have a certain number of dogs distributed across the United States and an established breed club. While waiting to become recognized, these dogs are a part of the Foundation Stock Service (FSS) and are able to compete at AKC Companion Events. The AKC periodically adds new breeds; in 2013 three new breeds were added to the AKC “family,” the Chinook (Working Group), Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (Hound Group) and the Rat Terrier (Terrier Group).
The Coton de Tulear, known as the “Royal dog of Magagascar,” joins the Non-Sporting Group this year. The breed originated on the island of Madagascar and was originally owned only by noblemen. Known simply as “Cotons,” these small, sweet dogs thrive on human companionship and make loyal family pets. They get along well with children and other dogs.
According to the AKC breed standard, the Coton de Tulear is a “sturdy, small dog [that] should never appear fragile.” It has a short, triangular head when viewed from above, rounded, dark brown or black, lively eyes and black lips. One of the main characteristics of this breed is its soft, supple white coat, with the texture of cotton (hence the “Coton” in their name). The happy, sociable Coton de Tulear should be shown naturally with a clean coat free of mats (the coat requires regular brushing). The coat may fall to either side down the back, but it should never be artificially parted. The standard states that “any grooming which alters the natural appearance is to be severely penalized.”
For more information about the Coton de Tulear, visit www.usactc.org.
The Wirehaired Vizsla, which joins the Sporting Group this year, is a medium-sized athletic breed with an excellent nose for hunting and tracking. The breed originated in Hungary as a hunting dog that could withstand harsh winters in the field, forest and water, which is why the breed has a long, dense, wiry coat. Wirehaired Vizslas are gentle, outgoing, friendly dogs that make wonderful companions. Because of its athletic nature, this breed does best with active families.
According to the AKC breed standard, balance is important in the Wirehaired Vizsla, from its dynamic, graceful gait to its size and proportion. The most distinguishing feature of the breed is its weather-resistant, dense coat, especially its beard and eyebrows. “Natural appearance is essential to breed type,” the standard states. In the ring, the Wirehaired Vizsla is to be shown “with limited stripping and should not be penalized for being shown in working condition: sinewy, well muscled, with honorable scars.”
For more information about the Wirehaired Vizsla, visit www.whvca.us.
“The AKC is excited to recognize these friendly, outgoing breeds, giving dog lovers everywhere even more choices to fit their lifestyle,” said AKC Spokesperson Gina DiNardo. “While they differ in exercise and grooming needs, both are sweet, loyal, loving family companions.”