A high-energy Hungarian herding dog is the latest breed headed to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and many other competitions.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) announced Wednesday that it is recognizing the pumi, the 190th breed to join the roster of the nation’s oldest purebred dog registry. That means the pumi can compete for best of breed at the Westminster show for the first time next February.
With corkscrew curls and ears that flop at the tips, the pumi (pronounced POOM-ee) has a playful expression but a strong work ethic, fanciers say. The 20-to-30-pound breed goes back centuries in Hungary, where it herded cattle, sheep and pigs.
“They’re not for somebody who’s going to sit and watch TV all day long,” said Chris Levy, president of the Hungarian Pumi Club of America. But if provided with enough exercise and stimulation, “the pumi can chill out.”
Considered quick learners, pumis have done well at agility and other canine sports. Some in the United States also herd rabbits, chickens, goats and even cats in a cattery, said Chris Levy, president of the Hungarian Pumi Club of America. She and others have been working for two decades to build up the breed in the United States, but it’s still quite rare.
AKC recognition requires having at least 300 dogs of a breed nationwide, among other criteria. Some animal-rights advocates say breeding is irresponsible when many mixed-breed dogs need adoption. The AKC says careful breeding helps people and pets match well by making the animals’ traits more predictable.