The Guild of Shepherds & Collies

American Kennel Club Recognizes Two New Herding Dog Breeds

This week, the American Kennel Club (AKC) announced four new dog breeds that have been given full recognition by the organization. Two of these new breeds – the Spanish Water Dog and the Bergamasco – have joined the Herding group of dogs.

The goal of the AKC is to “advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership.” Before any breed can become recognized by the AKC, they must meet a minimum threshold of the number of dogs distributed within the United States. Additionally, there must already be an established breed club for owners and breeders.

The first of the new Herding dogs inducted into the AKC is the Spanish Water Dog, who stands out with their curly coat. The breed has a “lively, hardworking and very intelligent” personality, according to the AKC. This high energy dog is best suited for an equally high energy, active owner. The Spanish Water Dog Club of America describes the breed as a “multi-functional, all around farm dog.”

Spanish Water Dogs are sometimes considered to be “velcro” dogs, thanks to their tendency to become attached to one member of their family. Although they are considered good family dogs, they aren’t always suited for the youngest of children.

Also joining the Herding group is the Bergamasco. Another breed with a stand-out coat, the Bergamasco’s coat is made of long mats. Originally from Italy, the breed surprisingly does not require much grooming. The AKC describes the personalities of these dogs as “athletic, sociable and intelligent.” The Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America says that the breed “sees itself more an equal working partner than as an inferior subordinate” to its owner.

The Bergamasco’s instinct is to protect, and can be stubborn about guarding. Always eager to please their owner, this breed is patient and courageous.

In addition to the newly recognized Herding dogs, the Cirneco dell’Etna joined the Hound group and the Boerboel joined the Working group. With the addition of these four new breeds, the American Kennel Club now officially recognizes 184 different dog breeds.

Although these new breeds are officially recognized in the AKC as of January 1, 2015 and can participate in AKC events, these new breeds will have to wait until 2016 to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club show.

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