Category Archives: AKC

AKC Adds Three New Dog Breeds to Their “Pack”

By Linda Cole

The American Kennel Club is adding three new dog breeds to their pack this year, which makes them eligible to compete in the Westminster Dog Show. The new inductees – the Lagotto Romagnolo, the Miniature American Shepherd and the Berger Picard – bring the total number of breeds recognized by the AKC up to 187.

Lagotto Romagnolo – Sporting Group

lagottoPronounced La-go-toh Roman-yolo, this webbed footed, curly double-coated dog is one of Italy’s most ancient breeds. Lagotto means “duck dog.” Also known as the Romagna Water Dog, the breed dates back to Roman times. Developed in the marshlands of Romagna in northeastern Italy, this small to medium sized dog was developed and used for centuries as a premier water dog, and has remained unchanged over the years. The Lagotto Romagnolo is believed to be the foundation stock for all modern day water dog breeds.

Sometime during the 1800s, Italy began to drain their marshlands and convert the land to farming. It caused a sharp decline in the population of the breed, as their reason for existing dried up with the marshlands when the flocks of waterfowl began to disappear. But these intelligent, clever and energetic dogs found a new purpose thanks to their super sense of smell, their digging ability, and an abundance of energy. The Lagotto evolved into one of the best truffle hunting dog breeds in Italy and elsewhere. This gentle and sensitive breed is recognized as the only purebred dog in the world specialized as a truffle hunting dog. However, these dogs have retained their water dog hunting skills and continue to be hardworking dogs on land and water.

The Lagotto Romagnolo excels in dog sports like agility and gun dog trials, and loves to swim. These dogs are quick to learn new things, but can be manipulative which makes them not such a good choice for first time dog owners. Reserved with strangers, they are extremely loyal, devoted and affectionate with their family, including children, and are good guard dogs. Always alert with a desire to dig and strong instincts to hunt, especially waterfowl, the Lagotto should not be allowed to run off leash. Fully grown adults stand 17-18 inches high and weigh around 24-35 pounds. Their coat color can be off white, brown, brown roan, orange, or brown and white. Because they are working dogs at heart, daily exercise is recommended. The Lagotto Romagnolo makes a good hiking buddy or jogging partner.

Miniature American Shepherd – Herding Group

MASLike Australian Shepherds, Miniature American Shepherds can have blue, brown or one of each colored eyes. A favorite breed of equestrians because of their size, it’s not uncommon to see Miniature American Shepherds at horse shows. The breed was developed in the late 1960s in California by a woman named Doris Cordova who wanted to create a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd while keeping the intelligence, energy, loyalty, dependability and easygoing temperament of the Aussie. The Miniature American Shepherd is identical in appearance to the larger breed in every way except size. Cordova began to breed the smallest Australian Shepherds from each litter. Eventually she was able to consistently produce litters of the smaller version.

Even though the Miniature American Shepherd is a small dog, 14-18 inches and weighing in at 17-30 pounds, he should not be fed dog food formulated for small breeds. The best choice for active breeds is a premium quality food like CANIDAE. This is an energetic dog who needs a proper diet that will provide him with his daily nutritional needs, along with plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

Miniature American Shepherds are intelligent, athletic, playful, protective and calm. He’s an extremely versatile herding dog for corralling smaller stock like goats and sheep, but are tenacious enough to work larger stock as well. Their small size makes them perfect traveling companions, and they are at home in a city or country setting. Their guarding instincts are strong, they are after all herding dogs, and will bark out an alert when needed. If you’re into jogging, this breed would be a good running companion. He is naturally gentle and good with children. Like any working dog, this canine is happiest when he has a job to do.

Berger Picard – Herding Group

The 2005 heartwarming movie “Because of Winn Dixie” is based on a book by Kate DiCamillo. It’s about a 10 year girl named Opal who finds comfort and a friend when she adopts a stray dog wandering around the parking lot at the local Winn Dixie store. The dog is portrayed as a mixed breed and named Winn Dixie because of where Opal found him. However, Winn Dixie is actually a purebred Berger Picard. Langley wrote a very interesting breed profile on this adorable dog breed earlier this year. You can read more about the Berger Picard here.

Top photo by Teemu Mäntynen/Flickr
Bottom photo by Mullinspw/Wikimedia Commons

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Choosing a Dog Breeder: What You Need to Know

By Linda Cole

Most of my dogs from the past and present have been rescued, but I did have two Siberian Huskies and three American Eskimos that came from breeders. We all have personal reasons for choosing a pet from a breeder or a shelter. If you do decide to go with a dog breeder, there are some things you need to know – beginning with picking a breeder that’s reputable. Asking the right questions and knowing how a credible breeder should interact with you, helps you make a wise choice.

Good breeders are associated with local and national breed clubs, and kennel clubs like the AKC or UKC. They know their dogs well, and their objective is to constantly improve on the breed(s) they raise. Only healthy dogs are mated, and kennels, exercise areas, yards and homes are clean. All of the dogs are clean and well cared for, and their kennels are not overcrowded. Their dogs are family pets first, and many breeders enter them in dog shows, hunting, herding or Earthdog trials and other activities.

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Three New Breeds to Debut at Westminster Dog Show

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.

Chinook

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.

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What Do the 8 AKC Dog Breed Groups Mean?

akc groups aussiegallBy Linda Cole

The American Kennel Club, established in 1884, is a registry of purebred dogs in the United States. To help categorize breeds, dogs are put into one of eight groups based on why the breed was created – i.e., what his job is.

Herding Group

The main function of dogs in this group is to control the movement of other animals. AKC created this newest classification in 1983. Prior to that, they were members of the Working Group. These breeds have the stamina and superb athletic ability to work long hours in difficult weather conditions and over rough terrain. Their job is to drive livestock or herd sheep, controlling them by manipulating their movements. They are extremely intelligent, able to problem solve and have the ability to work on their own when necessary.

Sporting Group

Members of this group were developed to flush out and retrieve quarry on land or in water. In Europe it’s called the Gundog Group, and many of the breeds have their origins in European countries. At one time, hunting was essential to provide food for the family and dogs were indispensable in helping the hunter locate fowl hiding in thick underbrush. When hunting with guns became more popular, retrievers were developed to bring back quarry that had been shot down. These dogs have a generally laid back temperament, are very intelligent, easy to train and want to please.

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Difference between Parson, Jack Russell and Russell Terrier

By Linda Cole

The Parson, Jack Russell, and Russell terriers are actually three different breeds, even though they’re related and look much alike. The Russell Terrier was introduced at the National Dog Show in 2012 as a new breed recognized by the AKC. The Jack Russell is not a recognized breed, despite the dog’s popularity in this country. There is a good explanation as to why, but it can be a bit confusing.

The Parson, Jack Russell and Russell terrier breeds were all named after the Reverend John “Jack” Russell (1795 – 1883), a parson who lived in Devonshire, England during the 1800s. He was an avid fox hunter, when he wasn’t attending to his duties at his church. The Reverend was also quite fond of fox hunting dogs, and bred them. His first terrier, a female named Trump, was likely the foundation for Russell’s working dogs.

Reverend Russell, also known as “The Sporting Parson,” wanted a working dog that was feisty, strong and confident ,to hunt fox and go to ground to flush out fox or other prey from a hole. The Reverend lived in the southern part of England where the terrain wasn’t as hilly, and a short legged dog met his needs. The small dog ran with hunters on horseback, and hounds following a fox. When the hounds chased the fox underground, it was the terrier’s job to follow and flush the fox out of the hole so the hunt could resume.

It was after Reverend Russell’s death when the JRT breed began to evolve into the Parson Terrier. Hunters living in areas where the land was more uneven and hillier wanted dogs with longer legs that allowed them to better navigate rougher terrain so they could keep up with the hounds and horses. They were also more interested in hunting other prey, primarily badger. If a pup was born with shorter legs, they were kept at home as companion pets, to roam around the barn and home catching vermin, and as watchdogs.

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Understanding Dog Show Terms

By Suzanne Alicie

Many dog lovers enjoy watching dog shows. We get to see the “top dogs” of each breed, but a lot of us may find ourselves wondering exactly how the judges choose the winners. There are many terms and standards that “show dog” owners are aware of and work to achieve. Let’s take a look at a few of these and what they mean, so the next time you watch a dog show you’ll understand more about the process and have more insight into the final results.

Breed Standard

The breed standard includes several areas of the dog’s appearance which are dictated by the AKC for show dogs. This means that dogs of a specific breed which are the wrong color, have any irregularities or are too large or small for the breed standard won’t be competing. The dogs which have shown that they fit the breed standard will be further evaluated to find the best example of the breed in the show.

Stacking

Stacking is how the dog stands naturally and when placed in position. This is something that the handler or trainer will teach the dog. Stacking helps the judges see all areas of the dog’s structure to evaluate against the breed standard and to allow the judges to feel the dogs bone structure and muscles. The breed standard stacking position differs from breed to breed. While evaluating the stack, you may hear judges and announcers talk about angulations, soundness and pedigree.

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