Westminster

6 New Dog Breeds Will Debut at Westminster Dog Show

From the Xoloitzuintli to the Cesky Terrier, six breeds will debut at the Westminster Dog Show.

Clockwise from bottom left: Getty Images (2), AP Photo (2)

Clockwise from bottom left: Getty Images (2), AP Photo (2)

The Westminster Kennel Club’s prestigious Westminster Dog Show introduces six new breeds this year, bringing to 185 the number of different varieties. But don't place bets on any of the newbies winning Best in Show on Feb. 14. "No, it's pretty unlikely," says David Frei, Westminster's announcer and spokesman, noting that the fastest a new breed went from its Westminster debut to winning it all was the bichon frisé, in 27 years. From the Xoloitzuintli to the Finnish Lapphund, meet the new dogs on the block.

Timothy A. Clary, AFP / Getty Images

Xoloitzuintli (SHOW-LO-ITZ-QUINT-LEE), or simply Show-Lo

Fun facts: Also known as the Mexican hairless, the breed is about 4,000 years old—their remains have been found in the graves of Aztec rulers in the jungles of Mexico, says Kay Lawson, president of the Xoloitzuintli Club of America. "The Indians believe them to have medicinal powers, that they're healing dogs," she says. "It's not a man-made breed; these dogs evolved on their own. Man didn't have his hand in it at all." Three sizes—either with or without hair—will be competing in the ring together, ranging in height from the toy at 11 inches to the standard at 23.5 inches.

Strengths: Very intelligent, easy to train, very loyal to their families.

Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Cesky Terrier

Fun Facts: Created by a Czech geneticist who combined two different terriers in 1948; just 250 Ceskys live in the United States. Unlike most terriers, who have hard coats, the adorable Cesky has a soft, silky coat that, when groomed, gives it the look of a miniature schnauzer.

Strengths: "They are wonderful trackers and have wonderful noses," says Charlene Ewan, president of the Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association. "I love my breed."

Gary Gershoff, American Kennel Club / Getty Images

Norwegian Lundehund

Fun Facts: This dog with the flexibility of Gumby has a minimum of six toes on each foot. Its yogi-like body has enabled the Norwegian Lundehund to hunt for centuries through Norway's caves and crevices for puffins (before they became a protected species). When climbing, the Norwegian Lundehund's fifth toe, similar to a human's thumb, enables it to grab the sides of a rock crevice, says Peter Rousseau, president of the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America. Another rare breed; only about 250 Norwegian Lundehunds live in the U.S.

Strengths: A flexible neck allows the Lundehund to turn its head 180 degrees to either side.

Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Fun Facts: "They are a thinking dog," says Jan Vincent, president of the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association. Originally from Switzerland, the dogs are so smart that Swiss farmers are known to fill a cart with containers of milk, and the Entlebucher then takes the cart by himself to a cheese maker. The loyal breed is also versatile, earning it the nickname "Swiss Army Knife" of dogs. "They can do just about anything," says Vincent. "They excel at obedience, rally, confirmation, and as therapy dogs."

Strengths: They don't wander, and know how to keep an eye on family members. "They call them 'watch-over dogs,'" says Vincent, noting that all five of her Entlebuchers lay by her side as she spoke to a reporter. "They are so sweet."

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show / AP Photo

Finnish Lapphund

Fun Facts: Originating at the Arctic Circle, this dog herds reindeer for the native people there, says Westminster's Frei. The Finnish Lapphund's thick coat and Arctic origins put it in a category known as "Spitz" dogs, which includes the better-known fluffy-white Samoyed.

Strengths: Devoted to its family and a lover of all other humans.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show / AP Photo

American English Coonhound

Fun Facts: This breed originated in Virginia and evolved from Virginia Hounds, descendants of English Foxhounds. "They're an athletic dog," says Frei. "They hunt all night in pursuit of raccoons, and foxes during the day."

Strengths: The American English Coonhound has tremendous speed and endurance, and is easily trained. The hound is also a looker. Says Frei: "They're a pretty breed."