A dog with thumbs and the ability to tip its head backward until it touches its back, a hairless natural healer from Mexico, and a night-hunting coonhound will make Westminster Kennel Club dog show history on February 13 and 14, 2012.

Six Breeds to Debut at Westminster - norlundehundSix Breeds to Debut at Westminster - xoloitzcuintli

The Norwegian Lundehund, left, and the Xoloitzcuintli.

At the club’s 136th annual event, the Norwegian Lundehund, the Xoloitzcuintli and the American English Coonhound, plus another trio of unique breeds, will vie for the judge’s nod for the first time on the emerald carpet at Madison Square Garden.

Six Breeds to Debut at Westminster - AmengcoonhoundSix Breeds to Debut at Westminster - Entlebucher

The American English Coonhound, left, and the Entlebucher Mountain Dog.

Gaining AKC recognition in 2011, the special six with 33 entries bring the new total of AKC breeds and varieties eligible to compete at this show to 173. The debutants also include the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, a speedy, multitasking Swiss farm dog, the Cesky Terrier, an all-around, soft-coated Terrier from the forests of the Czech Republic, and the Finnish Lapphund, a reindeer herder for a semi-nomadic tribe who wandered over northern Finland, Sweden and part of Russia.

Six Breeds to Debut at Westminster - CeskySix Breeds to Debut at Westminster - Finlapphund

The Cesky Terrier, left, and the Finnish Lapphund.

As diverse as these newly-approved AKC breeds may seem, they all share two things – a desire to show off their best attributes and an eagerness to prove why their breeders and owners adore them. Far from the concept of new breeds, their pedigrees date back hundreds, if not thousands of years.

“We are happy to welcome new breeds to Westminster every year, giving our television and Internet audiences their first live look at them,” said David Frei, the Westminster Kennel Club’s director of communications and USA Network show host. “There’s a great international flavor to this year’s additions, which only adds to the excitement and the impact they have on the world’s greatest dog show.”

Photos courtesy Westminster Kennel Club