The Berger Picard (pronounced bare ZHAY pee CARR) is best known to Americans as the dog who starred in the movie Because of Winn-Dixie, but the breed has been known in France for much longer. In fact, it’s one of France’s oldest herding breeds. Like most herding dogs, they are quick to learn and make excellent companions, but they are fairly large and need plenty of room to run. The harsh, tousled coat is easy to care for. The breed will become part of the AKC Herding group.
The Miniature American Shepherd is also joining the AKC Herding group. At one time, these dogs were called Miniature Australian Shepherds, since they are derived from smaller Australian Shepherds starting in the 1960s. They became popular with the horse set, as they retain the full-size Aussie’s intelligence and obedience but in a smaller body. They still have a herding instinct and can be used on smaller stick such as ducks, sheep, and goats. The medium-length coat is fairly thick and can shed a lot.
The Lagotto Romagnolo is the AKC Sporting group’s newest member. This Italian breed is the only one specifically bred to seek out and find truffles. Besides having a keen nose, these dogs are high energy and love to swim and play. A tight curly coat covers the entire dog and needs regular grooming to prevent mats.
The AKC has recognized new breeds at an accelerated pace in recent years, with about 30 new breeds recognized in the past decade. Recognition depends on a number of factors, including a history of pure breeding over a long time period, a minimal number of dogs throughout the United States, and a viable breed parent club composed of dedicated breeders.
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About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.