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Meet the two new breeds joining the American Kennel Club

The American Hairless Terrier and Sloughi are ready to run with the pack

The American Hairless Terrier and the Sloughi are ready to join the club - the American Kennel Club that is. The two dog breeds will join the 187 others already recognized by the AKC, raising the total number of breeds to 189. This recognition makes them eligible for shows and competition.

While vastly different, "both breeds make wonderful companions for the right family," AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo said in a press statement. Let's give them a round of "ap-paws."

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The American Hairless Terrier came to prominence in the 1970s when a Louisiana couple noticed a hairless puppy in a litter of rat terriers. Given their amazement, they began to deliberately breed the bare-skinned dog, making them the first hairless breed native to the United States. The energetic, inquisitive dogs excel at canine sports, like agility courses. Plus they make great pets for those allergic to dog hair.

The Sloughi (pronounced SLOO-ghee), also known as an Arabian Greyhound, is prized in North Africa for its hunting skills, speed and endurance. Sleek and reserved in demeanor, these dogs maintain an air of nobility and grace.

In order for a breed to be recognized by the AKC, there must be several hundred of them across the United States. Owners and breeders' clubs must also be established as well. In 1884 the first group of officially recognized breeds consisted of only thirteen types of dogs. My how the pack has grown!

The breeds are broken down into seven groups - the sporting group, non-sporting group working group, toy group, herding group, hounds and terriers. The best of each group competes for the title of top dog at the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, essentially the Super Bowl of dog shows.

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Of course a pup needn't be of pure breed pedigree to make a great pet. There are plenty of mutts and mixed breeds that fall outside the purview of the AKC. And while they may never win best in show, they can totally win your heart.

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