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American Kennel Club inducts three new breeds

December 31, 2008 |  2:50 pm
The Irish red-and-white setter will become the 159th breed to be recognized by the AKC.

It's official, says the American Kennel Club: Three new dog breeds will join the dog-show party beginning Jan 1.

The Irish red-and-white setter, the Pyrenean shepherd, and the Norwegian buhund will bring the grand total of breeds recognized by the AKC to 161.

The Irish red-and-white setter will become a member of the sporting group, joining the closely-related Irish setter. (It's believed that the red-coated breed we know as the Irish setter is actually descended from the older red-and -white breed.)

The Pyrenean shepherd originated in France, where it was used to herd sheep alongside the similarly named Great Pyrenees (which were used as guards for the flocks). The breed first gained recognition outside France during World War I when "Pyr Sheps" were used for searc- and-rescue operations and as couriers. They come in two varieties: "rough-faced" and "smooth-faced."

The Norwegian buhund is a medium-sized Spitz-type dog. Used traditionally to herd sheep, the breed can still be found as a general around-the-farm dog in Norway. Both it and the Pyrenean shepherd will join the herding group.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: American Kennel Club

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