In honor of the American Kennel Club recognizing three new breeds that will feature in this year’s National Dog Show, PGN talked with LGBT dog owners about the American hairless terrier, pumi and sloughi.
The dog show takes place Nov. 19 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, 100 Station Ave., Upper Providence Township. NBC will broadcast the show on Thanksgiving Day.
For more information, visit www.nds.nationaldogshow.com.
American hairless terrier
The weather was cold in Perry, Georgia, in April when Patty Smith had her American hairless terrier try dock diving for the first time. Smith saw other dogs performing the athletic task while her dog, Kane, was there for a conformation show to evaluate breeding stock.
“He was such a trooper,” she said. “He got his first title at that show. He’s now a senior dock diver.”
Smith owns Kane with her friend Teri Murphy. She shared some tidbits about the breed for folks in the audience at the National Dog Show to notice.
Most hairless breeds lose their teeth, but American hairless terriers maintain full dentation. They also have smooth, soft skin. Smith said it has a velvety texture, rather than the leather texture that’s common for other hairless dogs.
Ideally, an American hairless terrier will stand 12-16 inches tall with black, tan or red coloring. The breed comes from rat terriers that carry the hairless gene. The dog is usually born with a full coat of fur, which falls out around four to six weeks later. The breed is hypoallergenic, and good with children and other animals.
Smith said American hairless terriers are active, funny and smart. She was introduced to the breed when one came up for adoption at an animal-rescue organization 15 years ago. Since then, she’s always owned this breed.
Smith has worked as a dog groomer for 25 years and said she likes the low maintenance of the American hairless terrier. She got into showing her dog because she thought Kane was an especially good representation of the breed. She feeds him a raw diet and bikes with him for conditioning training. Kane competes in shows nearly every weekend, Smith said.
“The most rewarding part is really getting to work with your dog,” she said.
Betty June Farkas really wanted a dog in 2009. Her wife Rose wasn’t sure she wanted one. The couple always had cats. But eventually they came across the pumi, a Hungarian breed. Betty June has Hungarian ancestry through her father’s side.
The couple traveled to the Eastern European country that year and returned with a dog they named Csinibaba. It means “pretty baby” in Hungarian, and they call her Csini (pronounced Chini) for short.
“She rode in a little carrier in front of us on the airplane,” Rose said. “She was so quiet. She was a rare breed — still is, really.”
Pumik, the plural of pumi, are herding dogs with smart instincts. They respond well to their owners. The dogs have distinctive ears that would look at home on teddy bears.
“Some people say the pumi looks like a koala bear or like Sally Field in ‘The Flying Nun,’” Rose said.
She added when her wife first started showing Csini, she had to compete in the miscellaneous track because there weren’t that many pumik in the United States.
Rose said the breed has increased in popularity since the beginning of the decade. There are pumik festivals every year hosted on alternating coasts. Rose said she and Betty June attended one recently in Delaware.
Now 7, Csini has won several ribbons. She no longer competes in dog shows. Csini had a litter of seven puppies in 2013.
The Farkases keep one other pumi in addition to Csini: a puppy named Istvan. They live in a retirement community in central Florida.
“Every day Csini has to go on a golf cart to go to the mailbox,” Rose said. “She just loves that.”
Wayne Ferguson, president of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, talked with PGN about the sloughi (pronounced slew-ghe).
Ferguson is a longtime St. Bernard owner, but as the “voice” of the National Dog Show, he’s well-versed in the nearly 200 breeds that will participate. He introduces each one in the ring.
The sloughi, also known as the Arabian greyhound, comes from North Africa. They can have white, brown, black or gray coloring. Females should stand between 28-31 inches tall while males can be a little taller.
Ferguson described the sloughi as extremely fast with high stamina.
“They were developed to hunt game as big as gazelle,” he said.
Ferguson called the dogs “reserved” and said, “They’re not known to go up to strangers.”
Sloughi tend to be shy and have to be introduced slowly to new people.
Ferguson said it’s exciting to have three more breeds participating in this year’s National Dog Show. He said it adds more variety, which is great for spectators who can visit the dogs throughout the day of the show.
Founded in 1879, the National Dog Show is one of the few benched shows in the country. That means when the dogs are not competing, they remain in the arena for people to interact with them.