Every year, the American Kennel Club, the country’s purebred dog registry, considers new breeds to add to its index. It’s a rigorous vetting process as the AKC has stringent eligibility requirements for full recognition.
Among these, the prospective breed must have a demonstrated U.S. following — that is, here must be a national club with at least 100 members. There also must be a substantial population in this country of at least 300 dogs of the same breed and all with a three-generation pedigree. There are geographic requirements, too. The breed must be found in at least 20 states. Other considerations include observations by AKC field staff, competitions, and specialty shows. The process often takes years.
These requirements largely explain why only 34 new breeds have been recognized by the AKC in the last 10 years. Many of these breeds originated outside of the United States and are already recognized by organizations in other countries. Some of the breeds, such as the Xoloitzcuintli, are ancient and little changed over millennia, but perhaps only recently introduced to this country. Other breeds, such as the miniature American shepherd, really are “new” and have been around for just a few decades.
Most of the newly recognized breeds are working dogs, hunters, and herders, bred for challenging climates and conditions in Scandinavia, Central Europe, and elsewhere. There are dogs especially developed to herd reindeer, and others intended to retrieve puffin birds from remote island cliffs.
A few of the breeds originated in the U.S. and are bred for a specific local purpose, such as the Boykin spaniel, which was bred to hunt ducks in South Carolina’s Wateree River Swamp. Some of the breeds, like the giant Leonberger, almost went extinct as a result of the hardships caused by the two world wars but were revived by the efforts of dedicated breeders.
Before they were recognized by the AKC, two of the breeds on our list had already achieved doggie stardom: a dogue de Bordeaux co-starred with Tom Hanks in the movie “Turner and Hooch,” while a berger Picard appeared in “Because of Winn-Dixie.”
To identify the 34 newest dog breeds, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the dog breeds recognized as registrable in the last 10 years by the American Kennel Club. Information about breed weight is from the AKC.