Meet the four breeds making their debut at the US version of Crufts | TeamDogs
DOG SHOW

Meet the four breeds making their debut at the US version of Crufts

The biggest dog show in the States is being held this weekend

The Barbet, Biewer Terrier, Belgian Laekenois and Dogo Argentino (credit: Timothy A Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s a big weekend for dog lovers in the US as their pandemic-delayed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is finally held in New York. 

The show has run for 145 years - that’s longer than our own beloved Crufts! - but had to be postponed from its usual February date at Madison Square Garden because of lockdown restrictions. 

Instead, this year’s contest is being held at the Lyndhurst estate about 25 miles north of Manhattan, but without any spectators in the arena - and handlers and judges have been given strict Covid-19 protocols to follow. 

Despite the disruptions of the past year, the organisers said there has been no drop-off in entries so there will be thousands of dogs aiming for the title. 

The first event of the weekend is the agility competition, before the traditional judging of individual breeds that leads into the Best of Show award on Sunday night.

Four breeds are competing for the first time and will have their paws crossed to do well against the other 209 on the American Kennel Club roster - once a breed is recognised by the AKC, it becomes eligible to enter the Westminster contest. 

The Barbet 

(credit: Westminster Kennel Club)

This French water dog is a rustic breed with roots going back to the 16th century and was used to flush and retrieve waterfowl from marshes and lakes. The UK Kennel Club says it is thought the breed was used in the development of the Poodle and Curly Coated Retriever. It will join the Sporting Group in the Westminster show.  

The Dogo Argentino 

(credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Joining the Working Group is the Dogo Argentino - one of four species banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991. It was bred to find, chase, and catch dangerous game such as wild boar, pumas, and other destructive predators, which is one of the reasons you won’t see it at Crufts or in your neighbour’s garden any time soon.  

The Belgian Laekenois

(credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

This is one of four native Belgian breeds, and the rarest. They’re similar to the more familiar Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog and Tervuren breeds, and like them were used for herding, but have also been used in the police and armed forces because they have an appetite for work. It will join the Herding Group at Westminster. The UK Kennel club says the Laekenois gained its name from the Château of Laeken – a royal residence of Queen Marie Henriette in Belgium who favoured the variety. 

The Biewer Terrier 

(credit: Westminster Kennel Club)

The Biewer Terrier (pronounced “beaver”) is from Germany and has long silky hair and usually a pony-tail top-knot. It will join the Toy Group. It isn’t as well known in the UK but is closely related to the Yorkshire Terrier. It was said to have developed in a Yorkie breeding programme in Germany when a gene mutation introduced an unusual piebald colouration. This means it is not recognised by The Kennel Club so also won’t be at Crufts when it is held in Birmingham in July.