Photo of a Kooikerhondjes.
The American Kennel Club recognizes about 200 dog breeds, from Akitas to Yorkies. The AKC list of breeds is always expanding, though, as newly developed breeds apply for recognition.
Dog breeders may focus on new genetic combinations or save olde but unrecognized breeds from extinction. The following eight breeds recently obtained AKC approval:
- The mudi is a Hungarian breed skilled at sheep herding and descended from a noble lineage of Hungarian herders. A medium dog, the mudi has a shaggy coat and comes in shades of black, white, brown and fawn. Mudis are balls of energy and are known for their intelligence and courage. If you’re ever in the mood to go boar hunting, the mudi has you covered.
- The Azawakh, which hails from West Africa, is a tall, slim dog with flat muscle and short hair. Azawakhs have coats of red, white, dark fawn and brindle. They’ve been bred for centuries as hunting dogs in desert climes and have a regal presence with a graceful gait. They’re loyal and protective dogs that need lots of exercise. They’re also sensitive to cold, given their short coat, so you might need to provide them with sweaters or other protective clothing if you venture outside Florida.
- The dogo Argentino hails from South America. Dogos Argentino are noted for their bravery and instinct to protect their humans. They are large, muscular dogs with short white coats. Some think their faces resemble the American bulldog. The dogo Argentino is intelligent, and pups are often trained to be search-and-rescue, police or service dogs.
- If you’re interested in a pocketbook pup, the Russian toy might be right for you. The breed was recognized by the AKC in early 2022, although it has been a favorite of Russian nobility for centuries. Russian toys rarely weigh more than 6 pounds. They have small heads, big eyes, and triangular ears with fringes. Although these are small dogs, they are big in personality and energy.
- Fans of Portuguese water dogs should like the barbet, a medium French water dog with a curly coat in black, brown and/or white. The breed name means beard, a nod to the beardlike hair surrounding its head. Those curly locks need frequent grooming to keep from getting matted. The barbet is a friendly and happy dog that tends to bond closely with its people.
- The Biewer (pronounced “beaver”) terrier may remind you of the Afghan hound with its long, straight coat, although it’s much smaller. The Biewer is a lovebug devoted to its family but still is friendly to strangers. Like all terriers, the Biewer likes to scramble and dig, and it’s not unusual to see a Biewer walking around with a toy in its mouth. Biewers sport tan, black and white coats and usually require a ponytail so that their silky hair doesn’t block their vision.
- The grand basset griffon Vendeén is a French breed with an elegant if hard-to-pronounce name (it’s often called simply “the grand”). The grand was traditionally a scent hound and still tends to require lots of exercise. It’s a medium dog with a scruffy, shaggy coat that comes in many colors. Grands bark loudly and can be stubborn but are affectionate, friendly and playful. Grands are not suited for life in a small apartment but thrive with a yard and open space in which to romp.
- The Kooikerhondjes, a duck-hunting spaniel from the Netherlands, is a small dog with an orange-and-white coat, a plumed tail, lots of smarts, a cheerful demeanor and a desire to please its owner. The Kooiker, as it’s dubbed, has been bred for centuries, and art lovers can spot them in paintings by Rembrandt and Jan Steen. Their sweet faces are framed by silky ears. They are kind and lively dogs that get very attached to their owners.