I was like a kid in a candy store at Meet the Breeds Saturday. With 143 different breeds represented, it was a dog lover’s paradise. What made it extra fun were the unusual dog breeds I discovered, many I’d never heard of.
Do you know the Bergamasco, the Berger Picard, the Hovawart or the Lowchen? These are just a few of the many. There’s not enough space to mention them all, so I’ve chosen four I connected with to highlight.
The Bergamasco Shepherd
Picture an Old English Sheepdog mixed with a Rastafarian and you basically have it. Also known as the Cane da Pastore Bergamasco, the AKC officially recognized them this year as a member of the Herding Group. Their description of the breed is this:
A sheepdog with a strong work ethic, the Bergamasco’s most unique characteristic is its coat, which contains “dog hair,” “goat hair” and “wool” that combine to form black or gray felt-like mats. The mats grow over the course of the dog’s life, reaching the ground at approximately 6 years of age. The coat can actually smell like a sweater when it is wet. But despite its formidable appearance, the Bergamasco is really a trim, athletic sheepdog.
And Meshu, the Bergamasco I met was a very chill, sweet girl. When I asked her mom how she cleans or bathes Meshu, she said she uses very little shampoo and lots of water and its really the outer part of her mats that get dirty; the inner coat doesn’t get bathed. Then, the mats are pat dry. Very interesting, indeed!
This is a beautiful floral sculpture of a Bergamasco by Felicia Greenberg of Table Art & Event Designs, that was displayed at their booth, which won an award for the best one! Doesn’t it look cool?
The Lowchen is a very cute breed with an interesting haircut. Their name means”little lion” in German, because the back third of their bodies are clipped close to the skin. Here’s how the AKC, who recognized them as a member of the Non-Sporting Group in 1996, describes the breed:
The Löwchen is a small, bright, and lively dog. The breed’s trademark is their traditional “lion” trim, where the coat is left natural and untrimmed on the forequarters and clipped close to the skin on the hindquarters. Cuffs of hair around the ankles are left on all four legs and the tail is clipped except for a plume left on the base. All colors and color combinations are acceptable. Today, the Löwchen’s agility and quickness make them especially suited for the obedience and agility rings.
The Lowchen I met were funny. As I tried to take their picture, at least one kept turning around with its backside to the camera. As one of the women behind their table tried organizing them or the shot, it looked like herding cats! Rhonda Croxton, who is their mom, described the breed.”The Lowchen originated in Germany. They come from the Rennaissance age, where Lords and Ladies would have them on their beds at night. The back end would keep them warm, like a hot water bottle. They don’t shed and are great companion dogs.” In my picture, on the right is the puppy, Ellen, then Skye, then Sawyer and Paisley.
The Russian Toy
The Russian Toy was developed in 19th century Russia and was a popular companion for the aristocracy. Here’s what the AKC, who added the rare breed to its Toy Group in 2009, had to say:
The smooth coat Russian Toy was once known as the Russian Toy Terrier, and the long coat Russian Toy was once known as the Moscow Long Haired Toy Terrier. In 1988, the two varieties were added together as the Russian Toy Terrier with smooth coat and long coat varieties. The term ‘terrier’ was dropped from the breed’s name when it was added to the official list of breeds registered with the Federation Cynologique Internationale.
This little guy, Chili, is a Grand Champion in Russia, and was lounging royally right here in NYC, celebrating Valentine’s Day with his big red bow!
The Spinone Italiano is also known as the Italian Coarsehaired Pointer. Registered by them in 2000 in the Sporting Group, here’s what the AKC had to say:
The Spinone Italiano (plural: Spinoni Italiani) is a squarely and solidly built all-around hunter. Spinoni are muscular and powerful, built more for endurance than speed. The dense coat has a natural, unclippered look and comes in various colors and patterns. The face conveys the breed’s abundant Old World charm. Those soft, sweetly expressive eyes set off by shaggy eyebrows and a tufted beard have won many a heart in Italy—and they’re making new conquests here in America every day.
The Spinone Italiano I met was Buck, and he seemed a very sweet, obedient boy, who stood still for my picture without flinching.
I’ll leave you with a fun pic; a gaggle of Bull Terriers and their handlers. From left to right, here’s Sushi with Heidi; Aria with Victoria; Vettel with Krista and Farina with Shane. Such loving and sweet looking dogs!
Learn more about the breeds on the American Kennel Club site.
For more info on pet floral sculptures, go to Table Art & Event Designs
Do you have a favorite breed?