Get to Know the AKC's Newest Breeds

Get to Know the AKC's Newest Breeds
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updated 01/27/2011 at 03:34 PM EST

originally published 01/27/2011 03:16PM

Try to say this three times fast: Xoloitzcuintli.

Dog show announcers will have to get used to saying it this year, as the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-etz-queentlee) is one of three dog breeds being newly recognized by the American Kennel Club. In addition to the Xoloitzcuintli (pictured left), the AKC also recognizes the Entlebucher Mountain Dog and the Norwegian Lundehund (pictured right), who hold their own as tongue twisters.

"The three new breeds bring the grand total of AKC registered breeds to 170," Gina DiNardo, Assistant Vice President of AKC said on Wednesday during a press conference introducing the canines. "Each of these has a unique diverse and wonderful history."

Here's a primer on the varied qualities of the three new breeds:

Xoloitzcuintli: Known as "the healer" of dogs, the Xolo has been used to help humans with arthritis, back aches and muscle aches. People would "place them on the joints, against their pain," says Joe Ptalano, who owns a Xoloitzcuintli. "They still do it in remote villages today." The dogs are also believed to have spiritual powers with the dead.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog: Originally from the Swiss Alps, the Eltle was bred to move cows around. "He was also expected to pull the milk by cart to the cheesemaker –and actually return home unaccompanied by the farmer," says Gina DiNardo. This is an intelligent, highly-trainable dog.

Norwegian Lundehund: This dog has exotic qualities ... on its paws. The Lundehund has at least six, sometimes seven toes because they were bred to hunt puffins and climb rugged, steep cliffs. "That's also why their arms are so flexible," DiNardo says. "They can spread them out [like wings] because they would actually climb up the cliff rocks." The Lundehund also has a playful, non-aggressive, fun personality.

Read more about show dogs on PEOPLEPets.com:
5 Things to Know About the National Dog Show
Former Champ Rufus Enjoying 'Second Life' As a Therapy Dog

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