Two new breeds welcomed by largest U.S. canine registry

Image courtesy the American Kennel Club

Two new dog breeds with names as majestic as the dogs themselves were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) early this year: the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen and the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (if you speak Dutch, pronouncing that should be no problem).

According to the AKC, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is a hound originally bred in France for rabbit hunting. The breed needs regular physical activity, and has a friendly disposition. The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, historically a favorite of Dutch nobility, is a spaniel with origins in European duck hunting. This breed is intelligent, and needs vigorous exercise every day to stay happy.

How they joined the club

With these new additions, the AKC now recognizes 192 breeds. Official recognition makes these breeds eligible to compete in AKC dog shows, trials and all sorts of field events.

To be recognized, a breed needs to be associated with at least 100 dog owners who are involved in a National Breed Club for that particular kind of dog. According to its website, The AKC also requires that at least 300 to 400 dogs with a three-generation pedigree live in at least 20 U.S. states.

Verifying that pedigree

Parentage testing is a big deal in the canine community, because it identifies the relationship between a mother, father and their offspring.  These tests work by comparing the number of shared alleles — which are versions of a specific gene that can result in distinct physical traits — between three dogs.  By doing so, the tests can either qualify or exclude a set of dogs as another dog’s parents. All owners have to do is swab the inside of their dog’s cheek with a brush, and send off the sample for testing. Results are ready after a few weeks.

This is valuable for dogs whose owners want them registered with organizations like the AKC, because the test results can provide proof of pedigree relationships. Oftentimes, these tests are required for the dog’s registration.

However, even though the tests can in a way confirm breed by confirming the parents, they’re different from breed identification tests, which are used to analyze the breed history of mixed-breed dogs. Other types of genetic tests can even reveal indicators of genetic disease and other health traits.

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