The Hidden Gems of Westminster
As the only dog show telecast live in America, the Westminster Kennel Club continues its mission to educate the public about the 200+ breeds and varieties. Some breeds only register a few hundred each year with the American Kennel Club. Long in history, yet short in numbers, these rare breeds are the result of the work by preservation breeders who over decades have ensured the health and well-being of these historic breeds of dogs.
American Foxhounds were one of the first dog breeds developed in the United States. They are generally quite intelligent, light-hearted and jovial, making wonderful companion dogs.
George Washington was keen to the traditional foxhunt importing English Foxhounds from native British soil. As with most British traditions brought to the U.S., the American Foxhound was derived from the English Foxhounds and trained to hunt over the roughest conditions and across the vast landscapes of North America. Contrary to the English style of hunt, the American hound will hunt either individually or in a pack. The American Foxhound is an athletic scenthound that is bred to hunt.
For more information about the American Foxhounds visit https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/american-foxhound/
The Skye Terrier originated centuries ago on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Skyes were bred by farmers as working terriers to exterminate vermin. The Skye’s short, sturdy legs were well suited for digging, and the double coat served as protection from injury and weather. The loyalty and devotion of a Skye is unsurpassed, being a delightful companion, canny and alert protector of the home and master. The breed can be seen with either drop ears or have ones that stand up like feathered bat wings. For more information about Skye Terriers visit the national breed club website, stca.us.
Among the first nine breeds recognized by the AKC, the Sussex Spaniel is one of the most rare today, with only about 600 in the U.S. Named for its place of origin in England, the Sussex is the longest and lowest of the spaniel breeds uniquely golden-liver in color. The breed’s striking characteristics include its massive head and bone, long body, short legs, a rolling gait and a happy tail. Its stature was ideal for hunting in dense undergrowth. Contrary to its trademark somber and exaggerated frown, the breed has a cheerful disposition. For more information about Sussex Spaniels visit the national breed club website, sussexspaniels.org.
Bergamascos are intelligent and independent, yet loyal and eager to please serving as ideal companions from the beginning.
With origins dating back thousands of years, the Bergamasco helped herd sheep with their nomadic masters throughout Europe and the alps. The breed’s low-maintenance, ungroomed appearance is a coat formed of long flocks (felted strands made of a triple coat), unique to any other breed. This signature coat is a result of the harsh, isolated mountain conditions, offering the ability for optimal thermo regulation from heat and cold. For more information about Bergamasco Sheepdogs visit the national breed club website, bergamascousa.com.