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Three Breeds Gain Full AKC Recognition

The American Kennel Club® is pleased to welcome the Irish Red and White Setter, the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund as the 159th, 160th, and the 161st AKC® registered breeds. The Irish Red and White Setter will join the Sporting Group while both the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund will join the Herding Group. They will be eligible for full AKC registration and competition in their respective groups at conformation shows held on and after January 1, 2009.

The history of the Irish Red and White Setter is as mysterious as the myths and legends of the country of origin. Its original purpose was as a versatile hunting companion, providing food for the table, both fur and feather. The Irish Red and White Setter Association was formed in America in 1997 to preserve the purebred Irish Red and White Setter and to maintain the heritage and unique qualities of the breed as a multi-talented gun dog. As a companion, they are loving, loyal and best suited for a very active family.

Irish Red and White Setter; Photographer; Jim Dillon

The Pyrenean Shepherd or “Pyr Shep” has herded sheep in the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France for centuries. The breed comes in two coat types – Rough-Faced and Smooth-Faced. It first distinguished itself outside its native mountains during its service to French troops during World War I. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Pyr Sheps gave their lives for the cause as couriers, search and rescue dogs finding injured soldiers after battles, and accompanying guards on their rounds.

Some Pyr Sheps came to North America in the 19th century accompanying flocks of imported sheep. Pyr Shep fanciers imported breeding stock in the 1970’s and 80’s, establishing the foundation for the breed in America today. Working closely with the French parent club, U.S. fanciers founded the Pyrenean Shepherd Club of America in 1987 with the goal of protecting and preserving Pyrenean Shepherds. Although tentative with strangers, the Pyrenean Shepherd has a very lively, cheerful disposition, and is a superb canine athlete who excels at agility and other dog sports.

Pyrenean Shepherd; Photographer; Christian Janes

The Norwegian Buhund belongs to a large class of dogs called the Spitz type. The breed as we know it today, with its prick ears and curled tail, was nurtured in the rainy western coastlands of Norway where they herded sheep, guarded farms and hunted bear and wolf. Besides working ability, Buhunds are trained to aid the hearing impaired, perform some types of police work, and perform well in obedience and agility trials. In fact, the Buhund is considered by many to be the most trainable of the Spitz breeds due to their innate desire to please and quick aptitude to learn. Today they work with livestock, guard home and family and make wonderful companions for active people or families.

Norwegian Buhund; Photographer; Else Turner

Breeds that wish to begin the road to full AKC recognition must be recorded with an accepted registry. The AKC Foundation Stock Service® (FSS®) is the AKC’s recording service for purebred breeds that are not yet eligible for AKC registration. After a breed had been in FSS the recognition process begins with a written request to compete in the Miscellaneous Class from the National Breed Club. While there is no established timetable for adding new breeds, dogs typically compete in the Miscellaneous Class for one to three years. More information on the process can be found at the AKC’s website.

For more information about the Irish Red and White Setter, the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund, visit the American Kennel Club website at For high resolution photos email