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3 new dog breeds recognized by leading US group

June 15, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — Three new dog breeds - an Italian truffle-sniffer, a French sheep herder nurtured back from near-extinction and a small Californian shepherd - have joined the roster of the main U.S. group registering dog pedigrees.

The lagotto Romagnolo, the berger Picard and the miniature American shepherd will be eligible as of July 1 to compete in the American Kennel Club’s shows and canine sports competitions, the organization announced Monday.

With the newcomers, the AKC’s pedigreed pack now consists of 187 breeds, and the three new ones represent some of its diversity of attributes and histories.

“What they have in common is that they all make great family pets, and the key is to find the traits and characteristics within a breed that work best with your lifestyle,” club spokeswoman Gina DiNardo said.

The shaggy, energetic berger Picard dates back centuries in northern France, but it was almost killed off during the world wars and remains rare.

The lagotto Romagnolo is a medium-sized dog with a curly coat, an affectionate demeanor and a nose for truffles.

Small and athletic, the miniature American shepherd resembles the Australian shepherd. Intelligent and good-natured, the mini shepherds can function readily as ranch herders or city pets.

Criteria for recognition include having several hundred dogs of the breed nationwide.

Some animal-rights advocates urge people to adopt mixed-breed dogs instead of pursuing purebreds. The AKC says breed characteristics offer predictability, helping owners make lasting matches with dogs.

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Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.

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