Dogs are ancient, descended from wolves, but are there any new dog breeds?
First, we need to consider the meaning of breed vs. species. Breeds are specific types of dogs that humans have bred for particular purposes. All are part of the same species. Some scientists even argue that wolves and dogs are the same species because they can successfully interbreed. Unlike lions and tigers, which can produce infertile ligers or tigons, wolves and dogs produce fertile offspring.
Because various dog breeds are so genetically similar, they can all interbreed unless their size prevents it. For example, a female Italian greyhound is too small to carry the puppies of a Great Dane.
More About Breeds
Humans decide breeds. No breed is entirely “new.” They don’t pop up overnight. Before humans officially recognize them, they must be well-established already. Official organizations only recognized many breeds starting in the 1800s — even though the breeds existed long before. For example, Siberian huskies predated their breed recognition by hundreds of years.
American Kennel Club Recognition
For the American Kennel Club to recognize a breed, it must meet several requirements. Not all breeds meet these requirements.
- An official registry, whether foreign or in the United States, should already recognize the breed.
- OR the breed must have a multi-generation history with pedigrees. A pedigree means that a dog’s ancestors are all of the same breed. That’s why puggles or labradoodles wouldn’t qualify. Both require the mating of two breeds, rather than puggles coming from puggles and labradoodles coming from labradoodles.
- There must be at least 150 dogs in the breed.
- All of those dogs must have three-generation pedigrees.
However, many unrecognized breeds exist.
Newest AKC-Recognized Breeds
Some of these breeds are genuinely on the new side. Others have been around for a long time before achieving recognition in the U.S.
Belgian Laekenois, 2020
The AKC has recognized these canines as part of the herding dog group. Belgian laekenois are one of four types of Belgian sheepdog. Their rough coats are red, fawn, or grey.
These pups are strong, athletic, and lively. Because they love working, they need a lot of exercise. They’re affectionate with their owners but may be watchful with strangers. Belgian laekenois are good guard dogs.
According to the AKC, barbets are sporting dogs. Their name comes from the French word for beard. You’ll understand why when you look at their extra furry faces! These are water dogs from France. Though the American Kennel Club only recognized them recently, they’ve been great helpers to humans for centuries. Painters have included these pups in artwork for hundreds of years.
Barbets are friendly, happy dogs. They love attention and want to be around their humans 24/7.
Dogo Argentino, 2019
The Dogo Argentino, a working group breed, is not even a century old. A breeder, Antonio Martinez, set out to create this pup in the late 1920s. He wanted a canine to hunt large game animals, guard property, and be a loving companion.
These dogs are strong with well-defined muscles and a blocky shape. Their coats are short and white. They’re known for their fearless, protective nature.
These canines started as West African guards and hunting dogs, and the AKC categorizes them as hounds. They’re actually ancient pups. When at the proper weight, they’re notably thin, and their delicate skin allows you to see their ribs and the movement of their muscles. However, you might be surprised to learn that they’re strong and easily avoid injury.
With family, they’re highly affectionate, but they’re usually shy around strangers. Though these pups don’t usually allow new people to touch them, they’re not aggressive.
Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, 2018
These dogs are in the AKC’s hound group. They have long backs, short legs, and shaggy fur.
Humans started developing this breed in the late 19th century, though people didn’t solidify breed standards until a bit later. When in packs, they’re good at hunting mammals of a variety of sizes. These pups don’t like to be alone, so they prefer to live with other dogs. Nonetheless, these cheerful canines are independent-minded.
The definition of “breed” is complex. It can be tough to decide whether a dog type is new or just a variation within an already-existing breed. These categories are more subjective than scientific.