The awards season is going to the dogs.
No, not the Golden Globes or the Oscars; the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (WKC) is coming to New York’s Madison Square Garden February 13-14, 2012. This year the WKC is welcoming six breeds newly recognized by the American Kennel Club for first-time showings in the U.S.’s most prestigious canine competition.
It’s an interesting array of newcomers entering the WKC; everything from a terrier bred in the Czech Republic to a six-toed breed, to a hairless dog from Mexico whose descendants were revered by the Aztecs.
The American English Coonhound (Hound Group)
American English Coonhounds evolved from Virginia Hounds and are descendants of English foxhounds. Originally used to hunt fox by day and raccoons by night, today’s American English Coonhound is a wide-ranging hunter known for its tremendous speed. The breed is pleasant and sociable with people and other dogs.
The Cesky Terrier (Terrier Group)
Described on the American Kennel Club web site as a “well-muscled, short-legged, and well-pigmented hunting terrier,” the Cesky (pronounced “chess-key”)Terrier was bred in the Czech Republic and has been used for hunting fox, rabbits, ducks, pheasants and even wild boar. The Cesky has natural drop ears and sports a long, silky coat in shades of gray from charcoal to platinum. Cesky Terriers tend to be wary of strangers, but loyal to their owners.
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog (Herding Group)
A native of Switzerland, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a medium-sized dog historically used by Swiss farmers to move cows from pasture to pasture in the Alps. Primarily herding dogs, the Entlebuchers’ speed and agility also made them useful for managing other large animals, including horses and hogs. A high-energy and active breed, Entlebuchers require a lot of exercise.
The Finnish Lapphund (Herding Group)
This reindeer-herding dog was developed to live and work outside. It has a thick double coat that allows it to withstand extremely cold temperatures and a soft face to melt your heart. Coat colors can include black, blond, brown and tan. Popular family pets in Scandinavia, Finnish Lapphunds are devoted to their families, friendly with people and eager to learn.
The Norwegian Lunehund (Non-Sporting Group)
Also known as a puffin dog because it was used to hunt puffin birds, the Norwegian Lunehund is a small, agile Spitz breed with characteristics in combination not found in any other dog. This little dog has six toes on each foot to help it remain stable on the steep cliffs where the puffins nest; prick ears that fold close, forward or backward, at will; and a flexible skeletal structure that allows it to squirm in and out of crevices. When puffins were declared a protected species in the 1800s the breed’s number dwindled. Despite their friendly demeanor and family loyalty, their numbers remain limited today.
The Xoloitzcuintli (Non-Sporting Group)
Pronounced “show- low-its-queen-tli” and called “show-low” for short, the Xoloitzcuintli is the national dog of Mexico. Once known as the Mexican Hairless, this breed comes in three sizes as well as a coated version. These dogs descend from the hairless dogs prized by the Aztecs and revered as protectors of the dead. They are intelligent, alert and extremely loving to their families. Xolos are easily trained and their natural cleanliness makes them desirable pets.
Tickets and Televised Programming
Whether you are rooting for one of these new-to-the-show breeds to win Best in Show, or like us, our family favorite, the Boxer, you can watch the competition live Monday, February 13, on USA Network from 8:00-9:00 pm ET and continuing on CNBC from 9:00-11:00 pm ET. Coverage, including Best in Show, will continue on Tuesday, February 14, on USA Network from 8:00-11:00 pm.
If you are planning to attend the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster and Madison Square Garden.