New at Westminster dog show: 7 breeds, obedience contest

A Bergamasco is one of seven breeds which will compete for the first time at next month's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. AP Photo

NEW YORK – 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.

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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.

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Breeds are added as they earn recognition from the American Kennel Club. Criteria include having several hundred dogs of the breed nationwide.

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