1. A grand basset griffon Vendeen dog, left, and Nederlandse kooikerhondje dog, on leashes
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Gail Miller Bisher, Director of Communications, Westminster Kennel Club:
"So, we're very excited that we have two breeds that are newly eligible to show at Westminster this year. One of them is in the hound group: It's the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, and we also like to call it the 'GBGV.' It's a little easier, I think, to say but it's a wonderful breed from France, originally bred to hunt rabbits."
3. Various of hound
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Gail Miller Bisher, Director of Communications, Westminster Kennel Club:
"And then we also have the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (pronounced NAY'-dehr-lahn-seh KOY'-kehr-hahnd-jeh), which is in the sporting group. This is a duck-hunting breed. Very cute, very pretty. Really good hunter. So, we're thrilled to have both these breeds represented at our show this year."
The grand basset griffon Vendeen (pronounced: grahnd bah-SAY' grih-FAHN' vahn-DAY'-ahn) and the Nederlandse kooikerhondje (pronounced NAY'-dehr-lahn-seh KOY'-kehr-hahnd-jeh) make their debuts at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show next month, each getting a nationally televised turn among the more than 190 breeds on the purple carpet at the nation's premier canine contest.
About 3,200 dogs, ranging from wee Malteses to strapping mastiffs, are entered to compete at next month's show, which includes agility and obedience competitions along with the breed judging that leads to the signature Best in Show trophy. It will be awarded Feb. 12 at Madison Square Garden and live on FS1.
The relatively new agility and obedience contests are open to mixed-breed dogs.
New breeds appear at Westminster after getting recognized by the American Kennel Club. The process takes years and includes setting standards and having hundreds of dogs spread around the country.
The merry, clever Nederlandse kooikerhondje was initially trained to help Dutch duck hunters by attracting the birds' interest and then luring them into net-covered canals.
"It's the Pied Piper of the dog world," said owner Rod Beckstead, of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, as he showed off 2½-year-old Bandit on Tuesday.
The breed remains versatile and easy to teach to do dog sports and other things; some even serve as cadaver dogs, he said.
Westminster is regularly protested by animal-rights activists who deplore dog breeding as appearance-focused and detrimental to mixed-breed dogs that need homes. The club portrays the show as a tribute to all canines.
The Westminster Kennel Club show spans events on Feb. 9, 11 and 12, with parts broadcast on Fox Sports and Nat Geo WILD. A "Meet the Breeds" event, featuring both dogs and cats, unfolds alongside Westminster on Feb. 9.