The Westminster Kennel Club dog show is the basically the Oscars for canines. This year, seven more breeds will be allowed to compete.
That means Miss P, the 15-inch beagle who took top prize in 2015, will have more competition this year.
Breeds are added as they earn recognition from the American Kennel Club, which among other criteria, requires that several hundred dogs of the breed exist in the U.S. The seven breeds, which represent the biggest batch of newcomers to the Westminster show since 2000, were announced Thursday at a news conference.
So, without further ado, here they are.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog hails from the Alps. Besides its unruly appearance, it is known for its strength, speed, and agility.
One of the oldest French herding breeds, the Berger Picard nearly became extinct. It is still considered rare, and is also known for its shaggy coat and high energy.
Miniature American Shepherd
The Miniature American Shepherd is a relatively new breed, have been developing in the 1960's. At up to just 18 inches tall, the small herding dog is known for its high energy and versatility.
Originating out of South Africa, the muscled Boerboel has a reputation for being a confident, intelligent watchdog that is extremely protective.
Spanish Water Dog
As its name implies, the Spanish Water Dog originated in Spain, where they were used on farms primarily to herd sheep and goats. According to Westminster, their coat should always be in its natural state and never be brushed, combed, or aesthetically groomed. They are known for their trainability and athleticism.
The large nose and nasal passages of the Lagotto Romagnolo has made it a top pick for sniffing out highly valuable truffles deep underground. Its thick curly coat serves as a protective layer from thorny brush.
The lineage of the Cirneco dell'Etna dates back more than 2,500 years. According to Westminster, it evolved from the Egyptian "Anubis" on the island of Sicily. The dogs are agile hunters and known for being healthy and hardy.