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Three Breeds to Debut at Westminster

This year the Westminster Kennel Club welcomes three new breeds to the green carpet: the Rat Terrier (entry 20), The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (entry 8) and the Chinook (entry 4). We want to thank Westminster Kennel Club & the breed clubs for working with us to introduce our audience to these unqiue breeds.

RAT TERRIER (Terrier Group)

Beyond being a farm dog, Rat Terriers have proven themselves to be a versatile, multipurpose breed with a playful, happy-go-lucky attitude. They are an all-in-one dog-able to do virtually anything they are trained to do-and they are easily trainable and exceptionally intelligent. They excel in conformation, agility, obedience, rally obedience, terrier racing, earthdog, barn hunt and lure coursing. They are capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground. They make fine therapy and service dogs. And they are loyal friends and companions-especially for families. They consider themselves the guardian of the home, family and yard, their big Bbark belies the small frame but, they will warm to visitors once they know the family approves. Rat Terriers are family members with the secondary capacity for being hunters and eradicators of vermin. They primarily hunt by sight and scent. Squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, rats, and mice are their usual target, but will readily go to ground after a burrowing animal. The Rat Terrier is cheerful and sensitive. Although he definitely has a terrier personality, he’s calmer than some terrier breeds such as the Jack Russell and enjoys lap time with his people. He likes to “talk,” and is always willing to share his opinion with you.

PORTUGUESE PODENGO PEQUENO (Hound Group)

The smallest of the Podengo family, this active rabbit hunter has a history that goes back to antiquity. He is still used today by avid huntsmen in his native Portugal. To manage the terrain in different parts of Portugal, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno come in two coat varieties, smooth and wire. The word Pequeno means small or miniature. He is the smallest of three sizes… Grand, Medio and Pequeno. The Pequeno is the only of the three that should be longer than tall. With proper socialization this intelligent breed is a delightful companion and willing participant in agility, obedience, hunting and lure coursing, as well as conformation. Considered one of the oldest dog breeds, Podengos originated in the Mediterranean basin where they were transported to the Iberian Peninsula by Phoenician traders around 1,000 B.C. But it was in Portugal where the Podengo breed was developed, partly though natural selection with help from the Portugal people. They let nature take the lead, and selected only the hardest and best dogs with natural hunting abilities from each generation to breed. The end result was a small hound with superior hunting skills well suited to hunt in the Portuguese climate and rough terrain. The breed has changed little from those very early years.

CHINOOK (Working Group)

The Chinook was the inspiration of Arthur Treadwell Walden, a sled-dog driver, author, explorer, and innkeeper from the village of Wonalancet, which is nestled at the foot of the White Mountains in north central New Hampshire. Walden created a distinctly tawny, American sled dog that had power, endurance and speed, along with a friendly, gentle nature.The Chinook is a true American breed. Walden’s foundation dogs for the Chinook Breed were descendants of Admiral Peary’s Greenland husky lead dog, Polaris, and a mastiff-type farm dog who produced a litter of three pups on January 17, 1917, in New Hampshire. The pups were named Rikki, Tikki and Tavi after the mongoose in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. One of these pups was eventually called “Chinook” after a sled dog Walden had used while freighting supplies for gold miners in the Yukon. This dog was the foundation dog of the Chinook breed and is the dog to which all Chinooks are related. In 2009, the Chinook was named New Hampshire’s State Dog. Chinooks are highly trainable, intelligent, athletic, working dogs that excel in obedience, agility, therapy work, tracking, and lure coursing, as well as dog powered sports such as sledding, bikejoring, scootering, and carting. Above all, the Chinook is cherished as a loving companion, happily going wherever the family ventures. Chinooks require only an occasional bath, brushing, and toenail trimming. Chinooks are a healthy, robust breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

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