Six new breeds debut at Westminster 2011
Six breeds will be making their Westminster debuts in 2011 now that they have been recognized by the American Kennel Club and made eligible for competition in conformation shows.

BOYKIN SPANIEL (Sporting Group)
The Boykin Spaniel is a versatile and compact gundog. The breed was developed in the early 1900's in the Midlands of South Carolina to fill the need of local hunters for a smaller retriever for hunting waterfowl. Their nickname is apropos: "the little dog that doesn't rock the boat". In the field, they steal the show as tenacious, assertive and enthusiastic flushing and retrieving Spaniels. In the home, they steal hearts as gentle, affectionate and fiercely loyal members of the family. They are truly companions for all seasons. In 1985, Governor Richard Riley signed an act making the Boykin Spaniel South Carolina's official state dog. www.boykinspanielclub.org

The Bluetick Coonhound is an athletic, compact, speedy and well-muscled hound, all of which helps it in trailing and treeing raccoons and other small game. A determined and steady tracker, the standard says that the Bluetick "should be a free tonguer on trail with a medium bawl or bugle voice." Its name comes from its dark blue coat pattern, covered in ticking and featuring black spots on its ears, back and sides. That color may come from the Grand Bleu de Gascogne (French Staghound) as well as the English Foxhound. In America, Blueticks were referred to as English Coonhounds for many years. www.akc.org/breeds/bluetick_coonhound/

With a pleading expression accompanied by a confident air, the Redbone Coonhound is a courageous breed. Known for being a versatile hunter of tremendous skill, they are used on differing game from raccoon, bear to mountain lion. Dating back before the Civil War, breeders and hunters strove to have a hound that could not only perform in the woods but have a strikingly beautiful look. A solid red coat, a personality to please and a natural tracking and treeing ability sets the Redbone Coonhound apart from other breeds. www.akc.org/breeds/redbone_coonhound/

CANE CORSO (Working Group)
The Cane Corso is an ancient Italian Breed, robust and muscular, medium-to-large in size, yet still elegant and athletic. Historically found on the family farms, its primary function was minder of livestock and property, as well as hunting companion for large game. The overall demeanor of the Cane Corso is confidence and impressive presence. The Cane Corso is highly intelligent, and easily trained, being docile and affectionate with family and friends. The breed faced extinction in Italy in the early 1970s, but working dogs from rural farms helped to it recover. The Cane Corso was initially imported to the USA in 1988. www.canecorso.org

LEONBERGER (Working Group)
The Leonberger is a large, muscular, and elegant dog distinguished by a black mask and medium-length weather resistant coat of lion-yellow to reddish-brown color. Males and females are easily distinguished by size, with males carrying a lion-like mane. The Leonberger combines confident calmness with intelligence and a lively temperament. For its size the Leonberger is graceful and light on its feet. Originating in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany, in the mid-nineteenth century the Leonberger was kept as a farm dog and valued for its watch and draft abilities. Today the Leonberger is an excellent family companion, comfortable performing a wide variety of jobs. www.leonbergerclubofamerica.com

The Icelandic Sheepdog arrived in Iceland on the longboats of the first Viking settlers. Its working method adapted to the struggle for survival, making it indispensable. A hardy and agile Nordic herding Spitz that barks, it is slightly under medium sized with prick ears and a curled tail. It is rectangular when seen from the side. The coat is thick and extremely weatherproof. A confident and lively bearing is typical for this dog. The expression is gentle, intelligent and happy. Being very alert, it will give visitors an enthusiastic welcome without aggression. They are cheerful, friendly, inquisitive, playful and unafraid. www.icelanddogs.com

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