Meet the AKC's Six Newest Breeds

Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA, CVJ
Updated: October 04, 2017
Published: February 14, 2012
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What Makes These New Breeds So Interesting

There are 185 different breeds competing for the top prize of "Best in Show" at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show. While some of these breeds may seem new to dog lovers, generations have existed in their particular regions of origin.

But before a new breed is accepted into the ring at Westminster, certain criteria must be met, including an established breed club that is capable of supporting the public’s interest.

Are you familiar with the six new breeds being introduced to the competition this year? A living example may soon be making its way to a neighborhood near you.

American English Coonhound (Hound Group)

 American English Coonhound, akc new breed; photo source:

Similar in appearance to its genealogical relative the English Foxhound, the American English Coonhound is a performance dog with a natural instinct to hunt. Vigorous daily exercise is needed to satisfy the breed’s requirements for physical stimulation, a routine that will also lend itself to a reduction in behavior problems that could potentially arise from lack of opportunity to instinctually perform.

Time spent in the field has led to the American English Coonhound having a sturdy, multicolored coat to allow for acclimation to varying environments.

Cesky Terrier (Terrier Group)

 cesky terrier, akc new breed; photo source:

The Cesky Terrier packs a solid punch into a stoutly muscled body that features short legs and a long body. Its soft coat is clipped short on the saddle with a long undercoat, which requires frequent brushing and grooming for maintenance. As terriers are intelligent and obstinate, a well behaved Cesky Terrier needs an owner who is cable of taking a decidedly steady leadership role in the training process.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog (Herding Group)

 Entlebucher Mountain Dog, akc new breed; photo source: Patrick Mahaney

In appearance, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a more petite version of the Swiss Mountain Dog. The brown, black, and white coated canine is bred both for work and devoted companionship. Consistent and directed training provides a positive framework for good behavior. The Entlebucher is a dog meant for a working life, which makes it a breed that requires an owner who is capable of providing an ideal activity and socialization regimen.

Finnish Lapphund (Herding Group)

finnish lapphund, akc new breed; photo source: 

Attaining popularity in its native Finland as a canine companion, the friendly faced Finnish Lapphund is a great addition to the family fabric. Having existed for many generations, the agility and vigor displayed by the Lapphund aids its instinctual herding of reindeer and other wildlife native to Scandinavia. Acclimation to frigid environments is aided by a substantial coat requiring frequent grooming to maintain cleanliness and softness.

Norwegian Lundehund (Non-Sporting Group)

 norwegian lundehund, akc new breed; photo source:

This unique breed is polydactyl, meaning more than the typical five toes are prominently displayed on all four limbs. Six toes are commonly found on each of the Lundehund's feet. Theory has it that the extra digits were the result of an evolutionary development that benefited the breed’s ability to climb the steep cliffs to where Puffin birds nested. Additionally, the Lundehund has a unique musculoskeletal structure that allows for the front limbs to spread out to the sides flat, away from the midline like a bat's wings, a characteristic that aids in its rock scaling ability.

Xoloitzcuintli (Non-Sporting Group)

 xolo dog, Xoloitzcuintli, mexican hairless dog, akc new breed; photo source:

This unusual appearing, follicularly challenged dog hails from Mexico and has long been regarded as the country’s national canine. Also known as the "show-low" (i.e., the pronunciation of Xolo), the characteristic hairlessness of the Xoloitzcuintli predisposes the breed to skin problems secondary to environmental exposure. Although they appear to be completely hairless, they are coated with a fine hair coat. Even with the potential for dermatologic issues, the Xoloitzcuintli is actually a very clean dog with especially minimal shedding. Its aptitude for training also lends to its adaptability. It may serve as a working guard dog, or enjoy the tranquil domestic life of a canine companion.

Summary Photo Credit: Andreas Gradin / Shutterstock