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If you’re anything like me, you probably assumed that we figured out all the possible combinations of dog genes like 100 years ago and called it a day. I had NO IDEA that the AKC was still officially recognizing new breeds almost every year. In fact, they’ve welcomed 22 new breeds into the club in just the last ten years alone.
Here are some new good boys and girls to fall in love with for the first time:
The Hungarian mudi first blessed our breed catalogs earlier this year.
The Hungarian mudi has been waiting for its moment to shine. They’ve been waiting in the rafters since the 1930s, but it wasn’t until 2022 that the American Kennel Club officially recognized them. They’re known for their high energy levels and need for regular exercise, so maybe the officials from AKC just weren’t able to catch up with one until now?
The Russian toy is the other newest addition to the AKC’s official list of breeds.
The Russian toy had a long journey to being entirely accepted by the AKC, but with such little legs, every journey probably seems pretty long. Though only officially and fully recognized in 2022, the breed has been around for centuries and was once prized by the Russian aristocracy. They LOVED the English toy terrier but decided it just wasn’t tiny enough, so they made their own.
The Biewer terrier isn’t a Yorkie and was first recognized in 2021.
The Biewer terrier may look like a Yorkie because it is a Yorkie. They were introduced in Germany in the 1980s as tri-color Yorkshire terriers, but in 2007 a ground-breaking genetic study confirmed that Biewer terriers were, in fact, their own breed. So welcome, Biewer terriers! We’re already all in love with you.
The Dogo Argentino found international acclaim in 2021.
Admittedly, my Spanish skills are pretty rusty, but I’m pretty sure I can figure out what the dogo Argentino is and where it originated from. These brutes were initially bred to hunt wild boar, and even though my boar hunting skills are admittedly a little rusty, I’m pretty confident that it’s not a very easy thing to do.
In 2020, the only new dog recognized by the AKC was the barbet.
Like all things hip and fashionable, barbets were a French exclusive for centuries before making their way across the channel (and eventually the Atlantic) to be officially recognized by the UK Kennel Club and AKC. Barbet translates to “beard” in French, and these dignified ladies and gents don’t disappoint when it comes to their facial hair.
In 2019, the Azawakh breed finally found fame outside its native Africa.
The Azawakh breed has been kicking around West Africa since ancient times. They’ve got those long sticks to help them get around all that hot Saharan sand without burning their tootsies. (Their legs also make them excellent runners, which is useful when nomadic peoples use you for hunting.) The breed has made its way into Europe and North America, and frankly, we’re thrilled about it.
The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje was first recognized in America in 2018.
If you’re familiar with Dutch art history (and who isn’t?!), you may recognize the Kooikerhondje breed from the works of Rembrandt and others. The breed has mostly stuck to the borders of the Netherlands, which means it comes with its fair share of hereditary diseases, but it also means their extremely cute bloodline has been relatively pure for centuries.
The grand basset griffon Vendéen was also made official in 2018.
The American hairless terrier hasn’t been around for long, but it made it into the AKC’s books in 2016.
Due to some genetic fluke, a rat terrier named Josephine was born completely hairless in 1972. After years of trying, Josephine finally gave birth to two more hairless rat terriers in 1981. From there, the mutation snowballed into a totally new breed, which is now recognized by most major kennel clubs worldwide. An acquired taste, for sure, but there’s nothing cuter than a hairless rat terrier for some.
In 2016, we finally gave the pumi breed the credit it deserves. Take that, pulis.
For years, the pumi breed lived in the shadows of its cousin, the puli, from which it was bred. You’d probably recognize the puli breed for its corded hair that almost looks like locs, but the pumi’s coat isn’t matted like the puli’s. The history of this breed is honestly pretty bananas. It was not an easy journey for the pumi, but we’re awfully glad they made it into the official records.
The sloughi left the Sahara in 2016 to enter the international spotlight.
The sloughi, also known as the Arabian greyhound, has been keeping to itself in North Africa for centuries. Rock and tomb paintings in Algeria and Egypt depict dogs that look suspiciously similar to the sloughi breed, with its long, slender body and floppy ears. The breed is still used for hunting and as guard dogs throughout Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia even to this day.
In 2015, the Bergamasco shepherd came out of nowhere to enchant us.
Nobody really knows where the bergamasco shepherd originated, which you have to admit adds a little intrigue to the breed. They’re like mysterious strangers who suddenly arrived in town and became the focus of attention and gossip of all those scandalized breeders in the European and American kennel clubs.
The berger picard may be new since 2015, but you’re already probably familiar with the breed.
The berger picard may be a relatively new breed, but that hasn’t stopped it from stealing the limelight over the past several years. Maybe you recognize the breed from 2005’s Because of Winn-Dixie, where a berger picard played the title role. Or perhaps you’re more familiar with the breed from a series of German comedies about an inept police officer in Bavaria named Franz Eberhofer, who owns a berger picard named Ludwig.
The boerboel was first recognized in 2015 but had been hunting baboons in Africa for centuries. (No joke.)
The boerboel originates from South Africa, where its name translates to “farm bulldog” in Afrikaans. However, the name may not be terribly accurate since the dogs were traditionally used for hunting leopards and baboons. The problems that these African dogs were bred to solve are a whole other ballgame than their European counterparts. You’ll never see a cavalier King Charles spaniel chasing down a spotted leopard.
Introduced in 2015, the cirneco dell’Etna mostly stuck to Sicily and is still rare.
Are you picking up some island vibes from the cirneco dell'Etna? No? Fine. The breed originates from the Italian island of Sicily and is named for the Etna volcano on the island. Even in its native country of Italy, the breed is still exceedingly rare, with only about 100 new purebred cirneco dell’Etna dogs being registered per year. You’ve gotta get those numbers up, cirneco dell’Etna! Those are rookie numbers in this racket!
The lagotto romagnolo was also first bred in Italy hundreds of years ago and also wasn’t officially recognized until 2015.
Are you picking up delta wetland vibes from the Lagotto romagnolo? Forget it. The lagotto romagnolo breed may be partly responsible for most of the water retriever breeds we have today, though the days of hunting down fowl in swamps are mostly behind the breed. These days they’re used to sniff out truffles, so you have to imagine that lagotto romagnolo sees the shift as a promotion. At least they get to keep their feet dry when they’re rooting around for fancy mushrooms.
The miniature American shepherd, introduced in 2015, is as sporty as adorable.
The miniature American shepherd is the most athletic new breed on this list, if not one of the more athletic dog breeds in general. They were bred in part to compete in dog sport competitions and are known for their skills in herding, agility courses, and flyball. As pets, they’re little bundles of loving energy that need tons of exercise and are not known for being aggressive. In fact, the breed standards disqualify aggressive behavior. They’ve got to be sweeties to count.
The Spanish Water Dog may not be as well-known as the Portuguese water dog, but maybe that’s because it wasn’t officially recognized until 2015.
Wow. The AKC went all out in 2015, but we’ve finally reached our last officially recognized breed of the year, and we’ve saved the best for last. The Spanish water dog used to be three separate breeds but finally came together to be officially recognized by the AKC as one breed. The breed has the same shaggy coat you’ll recognize from other water dog breeds, like its cousins, the Portuguese water dog and poodle.
I have no idea why we waited until 2014 to introduce the coton de Tulear. Why did we keep this dog’s beauty from the world for so long?!
If the goal were to breed the cutest dog imaginable, the breeders in Madagascar responsible for the coton de Tulear nailed it. The breed is unique in that its thought to have originated from an unknown breed of small white dogs that were rescued from shipwrecked pirate ships in the Malagasy channel. So not only are they sickeningly cute, but they’re also cooler than you or I will ever be.
The wirehaired Vizsla finally made it out of Hungary in 2014.
The wirehaired vizsla hails from Hungary, where they were bred to be pointers and hunting dogs. The Hungarians also bred chill vibes into the breed, though, and nowadays, they’re just as likely to be friendly family pets as ferocious hunters. It’s a rare breed even in native Hungary, so it wasn’t officially recognized until recently.
You’ve heard of the Jack Russell terrier, but since 2012, we’ve been blessed with a whole other terrier — the Russell terrier.
Believe it or not, the Russell terrier is different from the Jack Russell terrier, which is different from the Parson Russell terrier. Still, unless you’re a trained breed judge, you’d be hard-pressed to find the differences between the three breeds. Though there’s some dispute over the exact breed, famous dog actor Uggie from Water for Elephants and The Artist was often referred to as a Russell Terrier.
2012 also brought us one of the stranger breed names on this list, the treeing walker coonhound
The “treeing walker” part of this breed’s name probably made you think it was some kind of ent dog, but that’s not the case. (Why would you even think that?) It originates from the good ol’ US of A, where it’s sometimes called a Tennessee lead dog. It’s known for its alarmingly loud bark (called a bay), which was bred into the dog so that its hunting companions could hear them across the hills of the Smoky Mountains.