Pets & Animals

3 new dogs will have their day at Westminster 

Lenny Ignelzi / Today
The rat terrier is one of the new breeds who will be competing in this year's Westminster Dog show.

The competition for the upcoming 138th Westminster Dog Show just became even more intense.

After going through a thorough acceptance process, three new breeds — the rat terrier, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, and the Chinook — have been added to the list of dogs who will battle for Best in Show at the annual event, which takes place Feb. 10-11 in New York City. 

"Many of the breeds have been around for years; they just haven't been recognized by the American Kennel Club until now for competition," David Frei, director of communications for the club, told  

Described by the American Kennel Club as a "sturdy dog," the rat terrier is a smart, active pooch that can hunt small game and rodents, as its name implies. The small Podengo Pequeno is a rabbit-hunting breed from Portugal, while the Chinook is a sled dog who is both athletic and loving.

With these additions, there will now be a total 190 breeds vying for silver-plated trophies. 

Maura Lynch / Today
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno will be allowed to compete for the first time in the Westminster Dog Show this year.

Breeds have to meet specific standards in order to be accepted as competitors in the venerable dog show. "The main requirements are an adequate population in this country, a good geographic distribution, and a parent club that advocates for and oversees the breed," Frei said. 

The rat terrier will be battling it out in the Terrier group; the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno will be competing in the Hound group, and the Chinook will be participating in the Working group.