The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a long-standing bastion that declares what it means to be a purebred pooch. They look at the best that the canine world has to offer and each year declare a winner (it’s like a beauty pageant for pups). And if you’re not part of the in-crowd, then you may as well be a mutt. However, that will no longer be the case for three lucky breeds that have now been added to the guest list for the AKC (bringing their total of recognized breeds up to 173), meaning they will be able to compete in the annual championship and breeders can start charging more for purebred puppies. These breeds are the American English Coonhound (which will be added to the hound group), the Finnish Lapphund (which falls into the herding category), and the Cesky Terrier (obviously, part of the terrier group). Here’s what you need to know about these new breeds.
For starters, you may be wondering just how a breed of dog comes to be recognized by the AKC, and there are a few steps to the process. First, a particular breed has to exist, and someone has to think that it is special enough to warrant recognition. But the ball really gets rolling when an application for recognition is submitted to the AKC, at which point the breed is recorded in the Foundation Stock Service (where they stay until recognized or denied). From there, several criteria have to be met, including a set number of animals existing in the group, a proven geographic distribution of said dogs across the U.S., and also an established breed club (to monitor this data). Once all of the criteria have been met, these dogs can then be added to the list of recognized breeds.
So let’s meet the new dogs! The American English Coonhound will no doubt look familiar to those who love the book (and movie) Where the Red Fern Grows (although the dogs featured were Redbone Coonhounds). They don’t look exactly the same (the latest addition to the Coonhound family has a spotted coat in brown, black, and white and a slightly smaller, more athletic build), but the breed is similar in capability. They are traditionally used for hunting both fox and raccoon as they are known for their speed (and their loud call). They’re also extremely smart and easy to train, as well as being great companions. But be ready to exercise them regularly.
The Finnish Lapphund, as you might expect from the name, is a cute little lap dog (although the “Lapp” portion of the name is probably indicative of Lapland, not your lap). You might be surprised to learn that this small breed was originally used to herd reindeer, but you won’t be shocked that they’re from colder climes, as they come with a thick, warm, double coat. These furry little pups are said to make a good addition to families as they do well with kids and other dogs and tend to be fairly calm in disposition.
Finally, the Cesky Terrier will be recognizable to anyone who loves the adorable Scotty breed (the Scotch Terrier). They are very similar in size and appearance, although their short ears flop down rather than standing up and their fur is a beautiful silvery gray (rather than black). Bred to hunt vermin, these dogs are stout and low to the ground, which means their fur will require some maintenance if you don’t want to shear it short. But they are generally extremely laid back and lovable creatures, good for families with children of all ages.