- Virginia Johnson
This week, three "new" breeds were recognized by the American Kennel Club to the 164 already recognized. All three could be good family dogs for the right family, but each one requires firm training, early socialization, and lots of activity to allow it to lead the best life possible. From Iceland to Germany to Italy, these breeds' official American recognition has come slowly but is certainly sweet as all three have been the verge of extinction.
The ancestors of Iceland's only native dog--the Icelandic Sheepdog--were brought to the country by Viking settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries. It is of the Spitz type and has a thick, weatherproof coat that may be long or short. It is intelligent, social, good with children and reluctant to hunt. They do tend to bark when separated from their humans and that is part of their herding instinct. They may try to chase cars and pull hard on the leash.
See The Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America
The Cane Corso is an Italian breed and part of the Mastiff family. They are between 88 and 110 lbs and stand between 23.6 and 26.7 inches at the shoulder. Their main colors are black or fawn--a light tan--though they may also be brindled. They are considered to be quiet and good with children if socialized early and given boundaries and strong training. The name Corso comes from the Latin word Cohors meaning guardian or protector.
See:The Cane Corso Association of America
The Leonberger, developed in the German provinces during the 19th century, is large and full of energy. Leonbergers need to live closely with their families and have been nicknamed the nanny dog. Looking like a cross between a lion and a German shepherd, a Leonberger's weight can easily go above 100 lbs. Leonbergers are active and like to play outdoors so they will more likely than not to be a bit muddy and a bit damp when they are at their happiest. A gathering of Leonbergers is often called a pride.
See: Leonberger Club of America
Learn more about purebreds:
The AKC has put out two books to help dog owners research the purebreds and help owners form the best relationships possible with their pets--although the newly-added breeds won't be represented here: