Calling all dog show fans! Westminster's 146th Annual Dog Show presented by Purina Pro Plan is right around the corner. This year’s festivities include a Veterinarian of the Year Award, an Oscar-worthy purple carpet event (the official Westminster color) and—most importantly—two breeds making their Westminster debut alongside some hidden gems. We got the inside scoop about this year’s show from Westminster Kennel Club’s Director of Communications, Gail Miller Bisher, who believes there really is “a dog breed for everyone.”

Although the two breeds making their Westminster debut this year are new to the dog show scene, both have been around for a while. One is a Hungarian herding dog and the other is a small companion pup from Russia.

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mudi new dog breed westminster 2022
SABINE SCHURHAGEL/GETTY IMAGES

1. Mudi

Height: 15-19 inches

Weight: 18-29 pounds

Personality: Energetic, intelligent

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Mudis (technically the plural is Mudik in their native Hungary) are herding dogs. Miller Bisher says this means they make great pets because they are highly trainable and love learning. In fact, she says breeders and handlers often remark on the Mudi’s ability to pick up on cues and tasks more quickly than other herding breeds. Since Mudis have to wrangle Hungarian Grey cattle, large animals with intimidating horns that can reach up to 31 inches long, they’re incredibly courageous and energetic.

Another highly appealing Mudi feature is their self-cleaning coat. Miller Bisher calls it a “wash-n-wear” coat because its curls and waves naturally repel dirt build-up. (This doesn’t mean you can forgo baths completely, though!)

russian toy new dog breed westminster 2022
SKEST, PUBLIC DOMAIN, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

2. Russian Toy

Height: 8-11 inches

Weight: 6-7 pounds

Temperament: Lively, affectionate

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Activity Level: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

The second pup competing for Best in Show for the first time at Westminster is the Russian Toy. Obviously, these pups originated in Russia. They look like a cross between a Chihuahua and a Papillon, though they were actually bred from English Toy Terriers introduced to Russian aristocracy in the 18th century. They come in smooth- and long-coated varieties and have ears for days. A Russian Toy’s job was to keep their guardians company and alert them to strangers who may have come too close. Today, this protective yet cheerful attitude remains. Miller Bisher says these small dogs excel at agility and obedience events.

New events at Westminster 2022

Finally, there are a few special events happening at Westminster this year. For the first time, in partnership with Trupanion, the Westminster Kennel Club is giving out a Veterinarian of the Year Award to a vet who goes above and beyond when caring for animals. The recipient, chosen by voters online, is Dr. Joseph Rossi from North Penn Animal Hospital. A $10,000 donation in Dr. Rossi’s name will be made to MightyVet, an organization that helps veterinary professionals struggling with mental health issues find the support they need and continue their education.

Dr. Rossi—along with some surprise celebs and a ton of dogs—will be part of another special event this year: the purple carpet. Think of it like the red carpet at the Oscars, but with more dogs and less ego. Plus, this year’s show will be simulcast on FOX Deportes, the largest Spanish-speaking channel in the U.S.!

This year’s show kicks off on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at 8 a.m. EST with the Masters Agility Championship. For a taste of this event, check out Pixel, a Miniature American Shepherd, slaying the agility course in 2019, on Westminster’s Instagram page. Events will be streamed for free all week on the club’s website until, and including, the Best in Show event on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

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