The American Kennel Club (AKC) welcomed new breeds into its doghouse on Jan. 1. The organization extended membership to the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (which is joining the hound group) and the Chinook (becoming part of the working group).
“The AKC is thrilled to add these lively and energetic breeds to the registry giving dog lovers even more breeds to choose from,” AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson said in a statement. “Both breeds are very athletic and will make great companions for those who love to stay active.”
The Chinook is a rare breed of sled dog most commonly owned in New England. It’s the official state dog of New Hampshire, and is known to have an even, pleasant disposition around loved ones, especially children. Chinooks have a tawny coat and generally weigh around 70 pounds. According to its official website, the breed owes its existence to Arthur Treadwell Walden of New Hampshire and his half-husky and half-Mastiff named Chinook. That dog, born in 1917, is the breed’s principal ancestor. Walden was an experienced dog driver who was the lead driver and trainer on a 1929 Antarctic expedition and decided to continue breeding Chinook’s pedigree.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is the smallest of three sizes of the Portuguese Podengo breed. The dogs have either smooth or wire-haired coats, upright ears and an independent streak. Though new to the AKC, the Podengo breed has a history that goes back to their arrival on the Iberian Peninsula with the Phoenicians from Asia Minor, more than 2,000 years ago. Podengo Pequenos traveled with Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Magellan and others, eating shipboard rodents to protect food and sailors from vermin-borne disease.
The Lagotto Romagnolo and Berger Picard also joined the AKC this year, both as part of the Miscellaneous Class. The AKC requires a certain number of dogs geographically distributed throughout the U.S. and an established breed club of responsible owners and breeders for a breed to become AKC-recognized. After these new additions, the AKC boasts 177 breeds.