The adorable and challengingly named Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen are the first breeds to be added to the American Kennel Club roster since 2016.
The American Kennel Club made the announcement yesterday, saying both breeds became eligible to compete in their respective groups on January 1, 2018. In 2016, the AKC added the Hungarian Pumi, so with the addition of these two new doggos, there are now a total of 192 AKC-recognized breeds.
A favorite of the Dutch nobility, the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (pronounced “netherlands-ee koo-ker-hanj”) is a spaniel-like dog that first appeared hundreds of years ago in Europe when it was bred as a duck hunter. The breed has been added to the Sporting Group of dogs.
“These are energetic, friendly and alert dogs that are ready for work,” writes the AKC. “They have a moderate activity level, needing regular mental and physical activity to be happy. Their medium-length coat requires weekly brushing to keep it free of tangles.”
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen (pronounced “grahnd bah-say grif-fon vahn-day-ahn) comes from France, and it was bred as a rabbit and hare hunter. These fluffy dogs, which were added to the Hound Group, have lots of stamina and speed.
“The GBGV is a laid back, intelligent, friendly pack hound that gets along well with other dogs,” writes the AKC. “These dogs are courageous and passionate workers with a high activity level. They need daily vigorous exercise. The GBGV’s coat is rough and straight, and looks tousled and natural. It does need weekly brushing to prevent it from matting.”
I may seem strange to finally recognize breeds quite literally hundreds of years after they first appeared, but the AKC has some fairly strict—if not arbitrary—criteria for breeds to enter into its exclusive club.
Breeding clubs must prove there’s a minimum of 300 to 400 dogs in the United States across a minimum of 100 households and 20 states, and these dogs must all have three-generation pedigrees. Clubs must also provide accurate pedigrees and ownership records. And that’s just to become eligible for the Miscellaneous class. From there, it’s still a long road to recognition, one involving shows, workshops, breed seminars—and the final vote of the AKC board of directors.
Sadly, the addition of the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen to the AKC roster is a mixed blessing. The ethics of dog breeding has come under intense scrutiny in the last few decades, as breeds are increasingly bred for appearance and little else. Many purebred breeds suffer from hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory issues, and even behavioral problems. Sadly, while the American Kennel Club registers dogs, it does not register kennels or breeders. Given the growing litany of health problems in purebred dogs, perhaps it’s time for some reform in this area.