Newest dog breeds: From tiny toys to massive mastiffs

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In January 2021, the American Kennel Club, the premiere association for purebred dogs, welcomed a new breed to its ranks: the Biewer terrier.

Pronounced like “beaver,” this beguiling little toy pup went through quite a journey to achieve AKC recognition. Every would-be AKC breed must start out with its own national club, with at least 100 active members. There also must be least 300 to 400 dogs of pedigree standard in at least 20 states. From there, aspiring AKC breeds enter a “miscellaneous class” until a standard is officially decided by the Kennel Club. This complicated process leads to about one to three new official breeds every year. 

The AKC’s additions in recent years are an interesting mix, ranging from massive mastiffs to tiny toy dogs. So here’s a little treat for you: Enjoy our gallery of the 54 newest dog breeds you need to meet, and a little about how they’ve been winning over the AKC since the late 1990s.

Canaan

Canaan

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The Canaan is an ancient breed and the national dog of Israel, but it has only recently gained popularity in America. John F. Kennedy Jr. owned a Canaan named Friday, possibly raising its national profile. The breed was officially recognized by AKC in 1997. 

Parson Russell terrier

Parson Russell terrier

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The Parson Russell terrier is closely related to the Jack Russell terrier, but has more of a square build and longer legs. The Parson Russell terrier was officially recognized by the AKC in 1997.

Spinone Italiano

Spinone Italiano

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The spinone Italiano is an ancient European dog that was officially recognized by AKC in 2000. It has a superior nose and is comfortable in most weather, making it an ideal hunting partner in mountain regions, such as the Alps.  

Polish lowland sheepdog

Polish lowland sheepdog

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The Polish lowland sheepdog is a short but stocky breed that loves work and exercise. It was recognized by the Polish Kennel Club in 1959; the AKC began recognizing it in 2001.

German pinscher

German pinscher

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The German pinscher is intelligent and strong, making it an ideal working dog. Size-wise, it fits somewhere between a miniature pinscher and a Doberman pinscher, what some breeders call a “middle pinscher.” The breed was officially recognized in 2003.

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever

Novia Scotia Toller

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The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is the smallest of all of AKC’s retriever breeds. It is distinguished by its beautiful crimson coat and boundless energy. The breed was officially recognized by AKC in 2003, becoming its 150th breed. 

Toy fox terrier

Toy fox terrier

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If you’re looking for a terrier and toy dog, this may be your breed. Here is one dressed as Thing 2 from “The Cat in the Hat.” The toy fox terrier was developed around the 1930s and became an official breed in 2003.

Black Russian terrier

Black Russian terrier

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The black Russian terrier is a courageous and powerful dog, making it a good choice as a guardian. It was recognized as a breed in 1981 by the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture, and officially entered the AKC stud book in 2004.  

Glen of Imaal terrier

Glen of Imaal terrier

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The Glen of Imaal is a gentle terrier originally developed to hunt farm vermin and badgers in Ireland. It was officially recognized by the Irish and English Kennel Clubs in 1934 and 1975, respectively. The AKC followed suit by recognizing it in 2004.

Neapolitan mastiff

Neapolitan mastiff

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Neapolitan mastiffs are massive and powerful dogs distinguished by their loose skin. They can grow to weigh more than 150 pounds! These guardians were recognized by the AKC in 2004.

Plott hound

Plott hound

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The Plott hound is named after Johannes Plott, a German immigrant who arrived in North Carolina in 1750 with five Hanovers. The descendants of these five dogs were used to hunt bear and wild boar. The standard of a new breed was created and became officially recognized by the AKC in 2006.

Tibetan mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

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The Tibetan mastiff may be a guard dog, but it is calm and sweet to the family it protects. Although, be careful! Their strong jaw and fondness for wood may be destructive to your home. It was declared an official breed of the AKC in 2006. 

Beauceron

Beauceron

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The Beauceron is a sheepdog from France. It is a muscular but sensitive dog which makes it an equally good protector and companion. It was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 2007.

Swedish vallhund

Swedish vallhund

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The Swedish vallhund (Swedish for “shepherd dog”) is a great companion dog. It is believed to be a cross of a Scandinavian spitz dog and a Welsh corgi, bred as a result of Viking raids around 1,200 years ago. It was first bred in the United States in 1986, and became officially recognized in 2007.  

Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux

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The Dogue de Bordeaux is an ancient French mastiff known for its courage and loyalty. It became a recognized breed in 2008.  

Bluetick coonhound

Bluetick coonhound

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The bluetick coonhound is a relentless hunter with a pervasive bark. It is a charming and affectionate dog, as long as you can accommodate its hunting instincts. The breed has been the University of Tennessee’s sports mascot since 1953, and was officially recognized by the AKC in 2009.  

Boykin spaniel

Boykin spaniel

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The Boykin spaniel is an energetic and adept hunting dog. It originated in South Carolina, where it is now the state’s official dog. It was added to the AKC in 2009.  

Irish red & white setter

Irish red & white setter

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The Irish red and white setter is a shorter and stockier version of the Irish setter. It became an official AKC breed in 2009, 125 years after the Irish setter was recognized in 1884.

Norwegian buhund

Norwegian buhund

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The Norwegian buhund is another Nordic dog that has made its way to the states. It makes a good farm dog and is confident and affectionate around children. AKC recognized it as a breed in 2009.

Pyrenean shepherd

Pyrenean shepherd

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The Pyrenean shepherd is a mischievous herder that gets its name from the Pyrenees mountains, which span the border of France and Spain. Just two of these energetic dogs can control a flock of 1,000 sheep while each trotting an estimated 25 miles a day. It was recognized as an official breed by the AKC in 2009.

Redbone coonhound

Redbone coonhound

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The redbone coonhound is a versatile hunter that was one of the six hounds developed by American settlers to help hunt for raccoon meat and fur. It prefers to alternate between long naps and high-energy nocturnal hunts. Despite its lengthy American history, it wasn’t added to the AKC until 2009.  

Cane corso

Cane corso

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The cane corso’s ancestry dates back to the ancient Roman empire, where it served as a fearless guard dog. Up until 1988, it was mostly known in southern Italy. However, it has now soared to be AKC’s No. 32 most popular breed after being added in 2010.

Icelandic sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog

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The Icelandic sheepdog is a super cute and playful herding dog. It was added to the AKC in 2010 and is currently its only breed of Icelandic origin.

Leonberger

Leonberger

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Though powerful in stature, the Leonberger is a peaceful dog. They make excellent companions and therapy dogs. 

American English coonhound

American English coonhound

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The American English coonhound is a hunting dog that was developed in America with ancestry from England. The breed is exceptionally “talkative,” as breeders put it, making it a good watchdog. It was officially recognized by the AKC in 2011.

Cesky terrier

Cesky Terrier

Maiken Hagen Vagmo

The Cesky terrier is the national dog of the Czech Republic and is the only Czech breed recognized by the AKC. It is a curious and playful dog that loves going for walks. The Cesky terrier first entered the United States in the 1980s and was officially selected to the AKC in 2011. 

Entlebucher mountain dog

Entlebucher mountain dog

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The Entlebucher mountain dog is a rugged and loyal Swiss dog related to the Bernese mountain dog. It is often referred to as an “Entle” and entered into the AKC stud book in 2011. 

Finnish lapphund

Finnish lapphund

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The Finnish lapphund has incredible origins hunting and herding reindeer north of the Arctic Circle. Today, it is a friendly and weather-resistant dog that makes an excellent family addition. It was officially recognized by the AKC in 2011.

Norwegian lundehund

Dog Show

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The Norwegian lundehund was originally bred to hunt puffins, now a protected species. Today, it serves as a loyal and energetic companion when properly trained. The breed was accepted into the AKC in 2011.  

Xoloitzcuintli

Xoloitzcuintli

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The xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee) has Aztec history that dates back at least 3,000 years. It is a hairless creature that makes for a good companion. AKC officially recognized it as a breed in 2011.

Russell terrier

Russell terrier

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Russell terriers are Parson Russell terriers that were bred to be more agile, all the better to keep pace with hunting hounds. Russell terriers are considered by AKC to be the optimal body size for a working terrier. They were selected to be an official breed in 2011.  

Treeing Walker coonhound

Treeing Walker coonhound

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The treeing Walker coonhound is a hunting dog named for its instinct to drive its quarry up a tree. In 2012, it became the 175th AKC breed. 

Chinook

Chinook

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Chinooks were bred to be sled dogs in New Hampshire, where they are now the official state dog. They are athletic and patient dogs that get along well with children. They were inducted into the AKC in 2013.

Portuguese podengo pequeno

Portuguese podengo pequeno

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The Portuguese podengo pequeno is an athletic and playful hound. It is one of the world’s smallest hunting dogs. Although an ancient breed, it wasn’t officially recognized by the AKC until 2013.

Rat terrier

Rat terrier

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As the name implies, the rat terrier was originally bred for hunting vermin. Today it makes a loveable and playful companion. It was officially recognized by the AKC in 2013.  

Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear

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The Coton de Tulear is a happy-go-lucky and charming dog that loves to follow its owner around. It is the official dog of Madagascar and entered into the AKC stud book in 2014.

Wirehaired vizsla

Wirehaired vizsla

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The wirehaired vizsla is distinguished from the vizsla by its sturdier frame and thick, wiry coat. The breed was developed by Hungarian hunters to better survive the weather and terrain of northern Hungary. It was officially recognized by the AKC in 2014.

Bergamasco

Bergamasco

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The Bergamasco is a low-maintenance dog that is great with kids and other animals. Its shaggy curtain of hair is meant to protect it from snowblindness while herding sheep in the Alps. It was admitted to the AKC stud book in 2015. 

Berger Picard

Berger Picard

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The Berger Picard is an observant and smart sheepdog, although it needs proper training to overcome its stubbornness. Communication between European breeders and American buyers has become easier thanks to the internet, paving the way for the breed to gain popularity in the States and be officially recognized by the AKC in 2015.  

Boerboel

Boerboel

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The Boerboel is a loyal and powerful guardian. It rarely backs down from a fight, so one must be properly trained to not get into them. Besides that, it makes a calm and loving companion. It was officially recognized by the AKC in 2015.

Cirneco dell’Etna

Cirneco dell'Etna

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The Cirneco dell’Etna is a small, trainable sighthound known for its sleek coat and blazing speed. It makes for a gentle, low-maintenance companion. Though the breed has history dating back 3,000 years, it was not until 2015 that the AKC officially recognized them.

Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo

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The lagotto Romagnolo is a keen and devoted dog breed known for its curly coat. It comes from Italy, where it is known for its ability to sniff out truffles. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 2015.

Miniature American shepherd

Miniature American shepherd

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The miniature American shepherd has only been recognized by the AKC since 2015, but it’s already its 34th most popular breed. This compact, good-natured shepherd is distinguished by its beautiful tricolor coat.

Spanish water dog

Spanish water dog

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The Spanish water dog is a herding dog with an upbeat personality and endless energy. It is distinguished by its curly coat. The breed was added to the AKC stud book in 2015.

American hairless terrier

American hairless terrier

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The American hairless terrier is the only fur-free breed developed in the United States. The first one was born of a rat terrier in Louisiana in 1972. That dog, Josephine, successfully bred more hairless dogs. Fast-forward to 2016, and the breed had become widespread enough to be officially recognized by the AKC.

Pumi

Pumi

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The pumi is an energetic, compact working dog with standing ears and a curly coat. It was first imported by Finland in 1972 and became officially recognized by the AKC in 2016.  

Sloughi

Sloughi

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The sloughi, also known as the Arabian greyhound, is a swift sighthound. It has a reserved personality, but will act gentle and affectionate toward its loved ones. It was inducted into the AKC in 2016.

Grand basset griffon Vendéen

GBGV

Linda Holopainen

The grand basset griffon Vendéen is an independent and outgoing French dog with an exceptional nose. The GBGV was considered a basset griffon Vendéen until 1950, when two variations (The GBGV and the petit basset griffon Vendéen) were standardized. The GBGV was then added to the AKC stud book in 2018. 

Nederlandse kooikerhondje

Nederlandse kooikerhondje

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The Nederlandse koikerhondje (“small cager dog”) is a friendly and alert sporting dog. It has appeared in paintings by Dutch artists dating back to the late Middle Ages. The first recorded litter was born in the United States in 1999. Since then, the breed has been gaining popularity and was officially recognized by the AKC in 2018.

Azawakh

Azawakh

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The Azawakh is an elegant and affectionate sighthound from West Africa. It makes a loyal companion and guardian. It first made its way to the United States in the 1980s and was officially recognized by the AKC in 2019.

Barbet

Barbet

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The barbet is a friendly waterdog named after the French word for “beard” (barbé). It’s a joyful, intelligent breed that was added to the AKC stud book in 2020. 

Dogo Argentino

Dogo Argentino

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The dogo Argentino is a big-game hunter but also a cheerful and humble companion. It was developed in the Republic of Argentina in 1928 and recognized by the AKC in 2020.

Belgian Laekenois

Belgian Laekenois

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The Belgian Laekenois is an alert and intelligent breed in the herding group. It hails from Belgium, where it was used to guard sheep and drying linen alike. It reached enough popularity in America to be added to the AKC stud book in 2020, becoming its 196th breed.  

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