The nation's premier dog show will feature a bumper crop of seven new breeds this year, ranging from a rugged South African watchdog to an Italian truffle-sniffing specialist.
Next month's Westminster Kennel Club show also newly includes an obedience competition. An agility contest was added in 2014. Both are open to mixed-breed dogs.
In the traditional breed judging, the seven newcomers represent the most additions since at least 2000. They were spotlighted at a news conference Thursday at Madison Square Garden, where the best in show will be chosen on Feb. 16.
They are: the Bergamasco, the berger Picard (behr-ZHAY' PEEK'-ahr), the Boerboel (BUHR'-buhl), the Cirneco dell'Etna (cheer-NAY'-koh dehl EHT'-nah), the lagotto Romagnolo (lah-GAHT'-toh roh-mahn-YOH'-loh ), the miniature American shepherd and the Spanish water dog.
Breeds are added as they earn recognition from the American Kennel Club. Criteria include having several hundred dogs of the breed nationwide. (AP)