3 New Dog Breeds Debut at Westiminster

By Laura Cross and Shayna Meliker

Our favorite sporting event of the year is less than a month away, and there are three new dog breeds you'll want to watch at the 138th annual Westminster Dog Show: the Rat Terrier, Portuguese Podengo Poqueno and Chinook.

To become eligible to compete at Westminster, the three new breeds had to be registered in the Miscellaneous category and have consistent enrollment of the breed in the AKC's Foundation Stock Service. Once the breed is fully recognized by the AKC, it moves to a group: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting or Herding. And that makes it eligible to compete in competitions like Westminster.

The Rat Terrier competes in the Terrier group, the Portuguese Podengo Poqueno joins the Hound group, and the Chinook is a member of the Working group. Learn more about them here.

SEE ALSO: 10 Breeds You Love, But Westminster Judges Don't

Chinook1. Chinook -- (photo credit:
Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)

Originally bred as a sled dog by a musher in New Hampshire, the Chinook is known for his thick, tawny-colored double coat, athletic ability and affectionate disposition. The rare and intelligent breed needs lots of daily exercise, making him a good match for an active family. However, a bored Chinook can be quite destructive and won't be entertained by lounging on the couch.

SEE ALSO: 6 Past 'Best in Show' Winners: Where Are They Now?

Portuguese Podengo Pequeno2. Portugese Podengo Pegueno -- (photo credit:
Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)

We can't wait to see this little rabbit-hunting dog from Portugal compete in the ring. The lively Portuguese Podengo Pequeno comes in two varieties: the smooth (a short, dense coat) and the wirecoat (a medium-length, rough coat). Don't let her tiny size fool you; she's an alert sighthound whose nature can make her an excellent watchdog. Just make sure she doesn't develop a hobby of chasing the family cat!

SEE ALSO: 5 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds

Rat Terrier3. Rat Terrier -- (photo credit:
Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)

The Rat Terrier is one of the few breeds that can proudly claim to be made in the USA. His admirers blended breeds like the Smooth Fox Terrier, Italian Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher and Beagle to create an all-purpose farm dog who could kill rats and hunt small game. Like many of his terrier cousins, the Rat Terrier is smart and active, which means you'll need to entertain him with lots of exercise and mentally-stimulating activities - if you want him to leave your house in one piece. Consider dog sports like agility and flyball for this fun canine.

More on Vetstreet.com:

* 5 Least-Intelligent Dog Breeds
* This Breed Is the Perfect Family Dog
* 15 Quietest Dog Breeds

* How Much Is a Dog's Life Worth?