These pups are recently recognized by the AKC and ready to put their best paws forward.

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Belgian Laekenois
Credit: Karen P. Johnson

Every year, the top dogs around the country gather to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Usually, the event is held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, but due to COVID-19, the 145th show will be in Tarrytown, New York, from Thursday, June 11, to Sunday, June 13. Although the location and some of the protocols—like no vendors or spectators—are different, one thing remains the same. There will be a variety of sweet pups competing in their groups in hopes of taking home the ultimate prize: Best in Show.

All of the dogs who compete at the Westminster Dog Show, presented by Purina Pro Plan, are breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). There's a lengthy process to get certified, explains says Gail Miller Bisher, a handler, trainer, and judge, and resident expert for the dog show. The breed needs to have a national club, a studbook, and have many dogs dispersed throughout the country. Then, the club can apply to the AKC for recognition. If that's granted, the breed will be eligible for AKC dog shows. This year, there will be four new breeds strutting their stuff at the competition: Barbet, Belgian Laekenois (pronounced "lak-in-wah"), Biewer Terrier (pronounced like "beaver"), and Dogo Argentino. Although these breeds are newly certified, they've been around for many, many years. "All of the breeds are ancient breeds and popular in other countries," Miller Bisher explains. Before the contest airs on FOX, get to know a little bit about the four new pups.

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Barbet
Credit: The Barbet Club of America

Barbet

"[Barbets] are a happy-go-lucky breed," Miller Bisher says. This curly-coated pup is a medium-size breed and comes in various colors, including black, gray, brown, and fawn, and can have white markings. The athletic dog is bred to locate, flush, and retrieve birds. The barbet is a very smart breed and is a strong swimmer.

Group: Sporting 

Height: 19 to 24.5 inches

Weight: 35 to 65 pounds

Belgian Laekenois
Credit: Karen P. Johnson

Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois is the fourth breed hailing from Belgium to be AKC-certified. "They all have the same frame and structure," Miller Bisher explains. "The main difference is their coat types and where in Belgium they were [originally] herding." This strong dog is actually the rarest of the four breeds and has a rough coat that comes in shades of red, fawn, and gray. The breed can be skeptical of strangers, but super loving with their owner and people the pup knows.

Group: Herding 

Height: 22 to 24 inches for females and 24 to 26 inches for males

Weight: 55 to 65 pounds

Biewer Terrier
Credit: Biewer Terrier Club of America

Biewer Terrier

Does this pint-size pup look like another breed you know? The Biewer Terrier has a similar shape to a Yorkshire Terrier and is a companion-oriented breed, Miller Bisher notes. This dog has an interesting coloring and is mostly white with mahogany patches. "This dog is really unique, but becoming popular," Miller Bisher says. A big bonus of this dog is it has a longer life expectancy of 16 years.

Group: Toy 

Height: 7 to 11inches

Weight: 4 to 8 pounds

Dogo Argentino puppy
Credit: Bill_Anastasiou / Getty Image

Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino is pretty, elegant, and very athletic, Miller Bisher says. (Originally, the Dogo Argentino was bred to hunt big game such as pumas and wild boars.) This breed is almost always all white (some pups have a dark patch by their eye) and has a big head and neck. 

Group: Working 

Height: 24 to 25.5 inches for females and 24 to 26.5 for males

Weight: 88 to 95 for females and 88 to 100 pounds for males

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