The Westminster Dog Show Will Feature Three New Dog Breeds... and Cats
It has long been a subject of first date debates, BuzzFeed quizzes and one particularly forgettable 2001 children’s movie that I definitely saw in theaters: Cats or dogs? The answer is not usually so easily reached, but one would assume the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show would choose, you know, dogs.
And this year, they are, primarily. But when the dog show’s Twitter announced that cats would feature in this year’s Meet the Breeds, everything we as a society thought we knew came crumbling down.
Some Twitter users were upset.
Some were elated.
And some were so thrilled with the news, they wanted to get their own cats in on the action.
The cats won’t be competing alongside the dogs, although they will reportedly be participating in an agility contest of their own, USA Today reports. The cats will also be featured during the show's Meet the Breeds event.
"Meet the Breeds isn’t just dogs lined up and you play with them, there are booths that depict the country and origin of the animal and people decorate the booths," Brandi Hunter, VP of public relations for the American Kennel Club told USA Today, "So cats are joining that and many will be dressed up and have their booths."
Cats being featured won’t be the only new development at this year’s show, though. Three new dog breeds — the American hairless terrier, pumi and sloughi breeds have never been featured in the dog show before. All three breeds were only recognized by the American Kennel Club last year, despite existing for years.
American hairless terriers are on the smaller side and come in a wide range of colors and patterns. They are a result of genetic mutation through a line of rat terriers in the 1970s and were recognized as distinct from their cousins in 2004. They are sociable, playful dogs that do well around children and other dogs. Due to their hairlessness, they are ideal dogs for allergy sufferers.
Hailing from Hungary, the pumi is classified as a medium-size herding dog. They originated in the early 20th century as a livestock herder as well as a guardian of family farms. Although their popularity doesn’t extend much outside of Hungary, many pumi are registered in Finland and Sweden yearly. Their hair is coarse and curly, and they don’t shed much. They are energetic and need socialization from birth.
The sloughi is often referred to as the “African greyhound.” The sleek-looking breed has ties to early North African history, with depictions of its ancestors appearing in the region’s art from the 8th to 7th centuries BCE. They are sight hounds, which means they hunt by sight and speed rather than scent and endurance. They are described as sensitive and intelligent and do best with trainers who have similar temperaments.