The American English Coonhound; Cesky Terrier; Entlebucher Mountain Dog; Finnish Lapphund; and the Xoloitzcuintli (previously called the Mexican Hairless; it’s pronounced SHOW-low-eats-QUEENT-lee) will all be making their Westminster debuts Feb. 13-14 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
While these breeds have not participated at Westminster before, they are not actually “new.”
“New breed is a little bit of a misnomer because a lot of these breeds have been around for hundreds, or even thousands of years in some of the cases,” David Frei, director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club, told Reuters.
A total of 185 breeds will be competing this year. More than 40 breeds have been added in the past 23 years, according to Frei. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which began in 1877, is the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the U.S., after the Kentucky Derby.
To be included in the show, a breed must meet American Kennel Club (AKC) rules, such as having sufficient numbers in the U.S. along with a certain geographic distribution. The breed must also have a club that makes sure responsible breeding practices are being followed.
Don’t bet on any of these newbies winning Best in Show, however. “The shortest time between a breed competing at Westminster and winning Best in Show is 27 years,” Frei told Reuters. “That was the Bichon Frise. It had its first year in 1974 and won Best in Show in 2001.”
Last year, a Scottish Deerhound named GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind, a.k.a. Hickory, was awarded the Best in Show title. It was the first win for that breed.
The 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will air live on the USA Network Feb. 13 and 14 beginning at 8 p.m. EST.