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Meet the AKC’s Two New Breeds

Hey guys, welcome back. If you keep up with the most current news in the dog world, you won’t be surprised to hear that the AKC just recognized two new breeds this month. In fact, these breeds were voted on last February and were scheduled to be added to the registry after this year’s Westminster showing. But since most people don’t keep up with the AKC’s every move, it was news to the world that the organization just recognized two brand new breeds.

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For dog lovers, this is really cool news. It’s always fun to realize that there are always new dog breeds being created and recognized. There’s a chance that one day, you’ll meet or even own a dog that doesn’t exist right at this moment! How cool is that? So when this sort of news hits the mainstream consciousness, of course, everyone wants to know all that they can about the new additions. So here’s what I know about the two newest breeds and a little bit about how new breeds get added to the AKC’s registry.

Two New Hunting Breeds

The two new breeds introduced to the AKC registry are the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (the Kooker for short), and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen (the GBGV for short). These are both hunting dogs and are being introduced as sporting breeds for AKC competition purposes.

Just because dogs are newly introduced to the AKC does not mean that they are brand new creations. The Kooker is a Dutch duck-hunting dog that has been around since before the first World War, while the GBGV is a French scent hound that has been developing as a breed for about 400 years.

In order to get added to the AKC registry, a breed has to have a few specific things:

  • A decently-sized population in the U.S. (There are many breeds on other continents that are not in the AKC simply because they aren’t popular in the U.S.)
  • A dedicated breed club that acts as the breed’s ambassador to the AKC and protects the breed’s purity with lineage records and breed standards.
  • Specific breed standards that are adhered to when determining if a dog can be considered a competition-level example of the breed.
  • A closed studbook, which means that the only way for a dog to be registered as a member of this breed is to prove that the dog’s lineage goes back to what is considered the foundation stock (In other words, the dog’s parents must be registered for the dog to be registered. This differs from an open studbook, which allows dogs that are of the breed, but didn’t have registered parents, to be registered.)

Dog breeds that are represented by groups that want them to be registered in the AKC startoff as part of a generalized AKC group, such as “stock dogs” or “sporting dogs”, until they are advanced through the registry to be categorized as their own unique breed. Both of the two new breeds have been in the AKC’s general competition groups since 2004.

In addition to many breeds not being in the AKC because they aren’t as popular in the U.S., there are breed clubs that actively work to prevent AKC registry for their breed. That is because AKC registry inevitably leads to a rise in demand for a breed, which can lead to bad breeding practices. This controversy is what leads to dogs with long histories, like the two we’re introducing today, not to be included in the AKC registries for many years.

Now that you know a bit about how the AKC registry works, and what breeds have to do to be considered AKC worthy, let’s talk about the two newest members of the registry.

(1) The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

The Kooker is a medium-sized dog of medium energy levels that has technically been around in some form or another since the 1500s. This dog is a Dutch dog that didn’t come to the U.S. till the 2000s but has been used to hunt ducks for centuries. The dogs were primarily trained to lure ducks into traps. Their white bushy tails are very similar in appearance to commonly-used duck decoys. By weaving in and out of canals, the dogs would get ducks to follow them into smaller pools where the hunter would then have the perfect shot lined up.


The breed is known for being extremely friendly and easy to train – perfect for first-time dog owners. They are great with kids, excellent with other pets, and are adaptable to spending time alone. They love being around people but are so eager to please that they don’t tend to suffer much when trained to spend the day alone. They’ll do very well with crate training, and they’ll absolutely love a good game of fetch. If your idea of a great dog is fun, friendly, easy to manage, and always there to greet you at the door when you get home, you’ll get along very well with this breed.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

Kookers look a lot like spaniels, with silky coats that are white and red. Black tips on their long ears are allowed as well. They only require occasional grooming, but you may want to use a shampoo that helps keep the coat white to prevent the Kooker from taking on a dull, yellow-y appearance. The Kooker is generally a very healthy breed, and they’ll love hanging out in the water.

Unfortunately, this breed is new enough in the U.S. that we don’t have a ton of information about their health or personalities. As the breed grows in popularity, it will be a lot easier to learn more about the breed. But Dutch owners say that this breed is known for being loyal and brave – there are even legends about this dog saving the life of historical Dutch heroes. Basically, imagine the Dutch equivalent of a Labrador, but with a little less separation anxiety, and you’ve got the picture of what this dog’s personality is like. If you are a dog lover that needs a dog that will go along with anything, this dog is perfect for you.

(2) The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

The GBGV is a French scent hound that can be summed up by one word: busy! These dogs are always active, don’t tire out easily, and need quite a bit of training and attention to keep them from becoming destructive. While they are very happy and sociable dogs, they can get stubborn about whatever they consider their job, and definitely need a firmer hand to keep them on their best behavior. In other words, while this dog is a great companion, they are not ideal for first-time dog owners.


These medium-sized dogs grow up to 18 inches tall and weigh about 45 pounds fully grown. They are longer lived than many breeds, with life expectancies of up to 15 years. Don’t let their sweet appearance fool you – these are high-energy dogs that will get mischievous and rambunctious if they aren’t given ample exercise. They have a very unique look, with the elongated body of a Basset Hound, yet the scruffy, bearded appearance of the Griffon. They have very deep chests with strong necks, looking a bit more solid and muscular than many other medium-sized dogs.

Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen

These dogs were bred primarily to hunt rabbit, boar, and deer. They have tons of stamina for multi-day hunts, and they are known for being very vocal due to the need to alert hunters to the location of prey. On the trail, these dogs are very brave and passionate about winning – which, for a modern owner who doesn’t hunt, translates into a dog that will have a strong drive to do SOMETHING with all his time. You’ll need to keep this dog busy with toys that work for his prey drive, such as hiding treats inside a KONG. It’s also a good idea to invest in a quality harness and hit the nearest walking path as often as you can.

The GBGV comes in nine different colors that include black, tan, fawn, white, grey, lemon, orange, sable, and grizzle, in a variety of combinations. Due to their need for stimulation, these dogs aren’t great at being left alone for long periods of time – but they are excellent with children. In fact, French hunters have been using them as companions for kids for generations.

Despite having such high prey drives, these dogs are smart enough to know the difference between rabbits and cats, and most owners report that they do well with other pets. They’re okay being part of a pack as long as that translates into some quality play time. Being so smart means that they are easy to train, but it also means they have a bit of a stubborn streak and will look for loopholes. You can’t allow a GBGV any leeway in the rules or you’ll always be fighting them.

If you are a long-time dog lover with a good handle on training, and you love dogs with spirit and energy, this will be a great pet for you.

Does It Matter?

Any time we talk about the AKC on the blog, I always feel the need to remind readers about the many opinions regarding this body. Both Janice and Leroy are registered Boxers, but I’ve never competed in any sort of dog showing event. I don’t necessarily have a vested interest in this controversy, but as someone who tries to keep up with dog world news, it’s hard not to form an opinion about registration bodies.

So let’s talk about what the AKC is: It is a registration body. That means that it keeps a record of pure-bred dogs that are born. Primarily, that is its only duty. The AKC simply tracks dogs that are born into certain breeds.

However, that information can do a lot for us. For example, that information has helped us learn more about common health issues that certain breeds face, which has led to better health screenings at birth and more preventative care. That information has also been used to help fundraise for research that has cured dogs of diseases.

The AKC also hosts or sponsors a lot of the most prestigious dog shows in America, but this is not what the AKC was created to do. It is mostly there to act as a data collection organization.

Now, where does the controversy come in? Well, because dogs are more valuable when they are registered (because it proves that they meet a certain standard for the breed), breeders will often focus on breeding more of a breed that is recognized by the AKC. That can lead to bad breeding, and the AKC does not regulate this. They will allow a puppy from a bad puppy mill to be registered just the same as a dog from a loving, responsible breeder. This is where so many people think that AKC registration can do more harm than good for a breed.

I’m not certain I agree with this, but I can’t deny that there is a clear cause-and-effect pattern with AKC registration. If we see a sudden boom in Kooker and GBGV dogs being bred in America in the coming years, you can bet it’s because they’ve been newly introduced to the AKC.

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The Final Word

At the end of the day, all we can do as dog lovers is to be responsible about where we get our dogs. If you choose to buy from a breeder, make sure you research that breeder. Be sure that they are breeding responsibly, and taking care of their retired breeding dogs like valued pets.

The Kooker and the GBGV are just the two latest additions to this registry of dog breeds, and it’s always neat to see new breeds being recognized. If you are interested in learning more about breeds that you’ve never heard of before, keep an eye on those AKC news blasts. New breeds from all over the world are always being evaluated for registry recognition!