11 unusual breeds you'll see at Westminster
For a small dog that stands only 11 ½ inches tall at most, this toy breed packs a lot of punch. Find out its feisty French nickname.
Temperament: It has a small dog with a big-dog attitude.
Appearance: He has a rough coat with a “cape” at the neck and shoulders, Groucho Marx (who is that, again?) eyebrows and a beard. The "monkeylike" breed gained lots of fans at the 2012 National Dog Show, where one named BananaJoe (see photos) made it to the Best in Show round for the third straight year.
Fun fact: According to the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC), the Affenpinscher was bred to hunt vermin, particularly mice.
It is one of the more unusual terrier breeds and is known by other names (what are they?).
Temperament: Beneath its gentle, lamblike appearance, the Bedlington Terrier has the heart of a lion and a somewhat relaxed nature. Well, relaxed for a terrier.
Appearance: This terrier (see photos) has an egg-shaped head, and its unique hairstyle may look simple but is not for beginners. Frequent bathing and heavy conditioners are not recommended because they will soften the coarse coat.
Fun fact: The WKC says the dog was bred for hunting and that it excelled at hunting rats.
This breed is recognizable for its thick coat and large size.
Temperament: According to the WKC, the Komondor is a "calm, steady, intelligent dog, bred to think for itself." The breed is affectionate and friendly, and has the natural instinct to guard its owner and family.
Appearance: With its corded white coat, the Komondor, a livestock guardian breed hailing from this Central European country, resembles a dog-shaped mop (see more photos). The "cords" are naturally occurring and should develop by the time it is 2 years old.
Fun fact: The Komondor's coat helps it blend in with its flock and protects it from weather extremes and the attacks of predators.
Temperament: Dogs of this breed are very lively and alert, and love to play and cuddle, says the WKC.
Appearance: According to the same source, the Hairless variety (see photos) has hair only on its head, feet and tail. When the dog goes out, its bare skin needs protection from the sun, which means canine clothes and sunblock. The Powerpuff variety (see photos) is covered in a moderate length, silky and straight coat.
Fun fact: Both Crested varieties can be born in the same litter.
Temperament: The Ibizan Hound thinks itself, steals food whenever and wherever it’s available, and chases prey at every opportunity, but is still known to be fun loving, affectionate and loyal.
Appearance: Often noted for its deer-like appearance, it stands out with its large, erect ears and pink nose. See more photos of the Ibizan Hound.
Fun fact: The WKC says the breed is known for its athleticism and agility, which accounts for its ability to jump up to six feet into the air from a standstill (watch clips).
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Temperament: It's affectionate and very tenacious, and is also described as having a "dignified nature."
Appearance: The Dandie has several characteristics that give the breed a unique look: its long, low body, a large head with a silky topknot, a "scimitar" tail, and coat colors described as "pepper" and "mustard." See more photos.
Fun fact: The breed takes its name from Dandie Dinmont in the 1814 novel Guy Manneringby Sir Walter Scott (who's that, again?), and according to the WKC, is the only breed of dog named for a fictional character.
Dogue de Bordeaux
Appearance: The handsome breed turns heads wherever it goes. This relative of the Mastiff (see photos) is characterized by its massive head (how big is it, usually?), muscular body and deeply wrinkled face. The breed's coat is short and fine and can be any shade of fawn from light to dark red. See more photos of the Dogue de Bourdeaux.
Temperament: According to the WKC, the Dogue de Bordeaux is highly regarded for its "balanced temperament and imposing presence," and is a fearless guard dog and family companion.
The national dog of Mexico, this unusual breed's name is a combination of the word Xolotl, an Aztec god, and Itzcuintli (what does that mean?).
Temperament: The WKC says that much of the breed ran wild in Mexican jungles before being domesticated, causing Xoloitzcuintlis, or Xolos, to have a "keen intelligence." They're also easy to train and are naturally very clean.
Appearance: Besides its bare-naked body, the Xolo is distinguished by a lean, smooth head, a wrinkled brow and large, thin-skinned ears that stand erect. See more photos of the Xolo.
Fun fact: According to the WKC, the breed descends from hairless dogs honored by the Aztecs (why?), which served as guardians over the dead.
This extremely rare breed was bred to hunt otters in Great Britain (why otters?) and has large webbed feet to help it swim.
Temperament: The Otterhound is known for its amiable, boisterous and even-tempered personality, says the WKC.
According to the WKC, this unusual breed is one of the largest sighthound (what's that?) breeds.
Temperament: Still used for hunting today, the Borzoi's "gentle temperament and striking good looks" make it an excellent companion and show dog.
Appearance: With its distinctive head shape and flowing, silky coat, the tall and slender Borzoi looks as if it's never set a paw outside a fashion shoot. In fact, it has graceful beauty has made the breed quite popular in the art, fashion and advertising industries. See more photos of the breed.