Three New Breeds to Debut at Westminster Dog Show

February 3, 2014

By Linda Cole

The American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous group is where a breed goes to wait to be officially recognized. Once a breed is AKC recognized, it is eligible to be shown at the Westminster Dog Show. Three recently recognized breeds are ready to strut their stuff at the 2014 Westminster show February 10-11.


When gold was discovered in Alaska in the 1880s, Arthur Treadwell Walden left his home in New Hampshire and headed to Alaska. He found work hauling freight by dog sled, and his favorite lead dog was a Husky mix named Chinook. Walden was hooked on sled dogs, but after returning home, he was disappointed with the sled dogs he found in the New England area. So he decided to create a new breed. Walden bought a female Greenland Husky from Admiral Peary and bred her with a Mastiff mix. Three tawny yellow pups were born, and named Rikki, Tikki and Tavi. One pup’s name was later changed to Chinook, in honor of the lead dog he had in Alaska. Chinook is the foundation dog for the breed.

American made, this dog has endurance, power, good working ability, speed and a gentle, friendly temperament. In 1927, Walden joined Admiral Byrd’s Antarctica Expedition as the lead driver and trainer for all of the expedition dogs. Byrd was impressed with Walden’s team of 16 dogs; Chinook, who was now 12 years old, was his lead dog. They moved more freight and supplies faster than the other dog teams. Sadly, Chinook wandered away one night and was never found. Word of his death quickly spread around the world, and he is considered one of the greatest lead dogs in history. The Chinook Trail from Tamworth to Wonalancet, New Hampshire is named in his honor.

This is an intelligent and fast learning breed that needs to be with his family, not left outside on his own. Chinooks are calm, even tempered, eager to please and affectionate. They adore children and get along well with other pets. A Chinook is not a good watchdog or guard dog, but can be wary of strangers. The Chinook was officially accepted into the Working Group on January 1, 2013.

Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

One of the oldest breeds, this ancient dog dates back to around 1,000 B.C. Roman and Phoenician traders were responsible for taking this little hound to the Iberian Peninsula. The National Dog of Portugal, this is a dog with well developed and keen senses; he hunts by sight, scent and hearing. The dog was bred to hunt and flush out rabbits from thick briars and rocky crevices, and rodents.

Podengo, in Portuguese, describes dogs that hunt in packs; Pequeno means small. This dog has a well earned reputation as one of the most skilled and finest rabbit hunters of all canines. The breed has changed little over the years and comes in a smooth coat or rough (wire) coat. He’s a happy dog, eager to please, an independent thinker, wary of strangers, lovable, active, rambunctious, intelligent, silly, loyal and tenacious, and has an endless supply of energy when it comes to hunting.

The dog is a good family-friendly pet that is patient with kids. However, the dog has a high prey drive. Cats and other small pets may be seen as prey, so it’s important to never leave the Portuguese Podengo unsupervised around them. The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno was officially accepted into the Hound Group on June 1, 2013.

Rat Terrier

The country of origin is England, but the breed we know here was developed by English immigrants who migrated to America in the 1890s. The Rat Terrier was the most common farm dog in the United States during the early 1900s. An all-around farm dog, this is a tenacious and feisty terrier capable of hunting vermin and rodents below ground, as well as above ground. They can also hunt game by sight.

In the Midwest, these fast and determined dogs were used to control jackrabbit populations. Theodore Roosevelt is given credit for naming the breed. Roosevelt was very impressed with their hunting and ratting abilities. He had several that were used to control the rodent population in the White House. This is a dog that works well in a pack. He has a feisty and fearless attitude and is extremely fast on his feet. The breed is intelligent, playful, affectionate, a good watchdog, loves to dig, can be an escape artist, and is generally wary of strangers.

This family-friendly dog will follow you everywhere, is eager to please, loves praise, has a high prey drive, needs a lot of exercise, gets along well with other pets, and has plenty of stamina to work all day. The Rat Terrier was officially accepted into the Terrier Group on June 1, 2013.

Top photo by CuteKittenHorseLover
Middle photo by Marilyn Piurek
Bottom photo by greeblie

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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