The New Kids on the Block

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The New Kids on the Block
Meet two newly recognized breeds, the Belgian Laekenois and the Biewer Terrier!

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A new kid has officially joined the Herding group! The Belgian Laekenois is the latest breed to join the herding dogs. If you’ve never heard of this breed, you’re not alone. Many are familiar with the more famous Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren, and Belgian Sheepdog; however, the fourth of the Belgian herding breeds, the Belgian Laekenois, isn’t as well known. All four Belgian breeds are all highly trainable as herding dogs, and, due to their intelligent and loyal natures, can frequently be found doing police, search and rescue, and therapy dog work.

The American Kennel Club granted the Laekenois (pronounced lak-in-wah) full AKC recognition and competition eligibility in 2020, so expect to see the breed in the ring. (Interestingly, in Belgium, all four breeds are categorized as a single breed, the Belgian Shepherd.)

The Laekenois are known for their curly, wire-haired coat that varies from fawn to mahogany in colour. Originating in the Belgian town of Laeken, they are the rarest of the four breeds; sadly their numbers dropped after serving as messenger dogs in both World Wars. The Laekenois is so rare, in fact, it is estimated there are only about 1,000 in the world!

As with most herding breeds, they were bred to protect the flocks and the fields throughout their farmer’s property and are versatile, athletic, hardworking dogs. While they are intelligent and trainable, they are not for everyone, as they need a regular routine of exercise, training, play, and overall engagement. However, the rewards are many: they are loyal and affectionate with those closest to them and intent on pleasing their families.

Say hello to the newest terrier and toy breed! The Biewer (pronounced Beaver) Terrier is the newest member of the Toy Group to be recognized by the American Kennel Club. This little terrier has traits that stem from the Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Havanese, and Bichon Frise.

The Biewer Terrier originated in Germany in the 1980s and was first known as “the black and white Yorkshire Terrier” and later the Biewer Yorkshire. In 2007, Mars Veterinary geneticists studied the genes from 10 Biewer Terriers and, as a result, the Biewer became the first breed in history to be recognized as a purebred due to a genetic study. It is now the AKC’s 197th recognized breed. Yet to this day, the Biewer Terrier has not been officially recognized by the German Kennel Club and may be the only AKC-recognized breed currently unrecognized by its country and Kennel Club of origin.

Biewers are known for their loyalty, happy-go-lucky attitude, and large personalities. Their naturally long and silky tri-colour coats range in texture from cotton to silk and require daily grooming maintenance unless kept in a shorter puppy cut, which only requires weekly brushing and regular trimming. This athletic and versatile little breed may only weigh four to eight pounds when fully grown, but they are hearty, energetic, and trainable, able to go on hikes and long walks, and compete in a wide range of dog sports outside of the Conformation ring. These elegant, charming dogs exist to love and be loved and will delight and entertain with their child-like personality.
—Yaunna Sommersby

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