Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Purebred dogs will get to strut their stuff at the 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show when it begins in New York City next month. Though the main event judges dogs by the standards of their breed, mixed breeds will get their first-ever opportunity to compete in a special agility championship.
The agility competition, which is open to both purebreds and mixed breeds, will test dogs' ability to run, weave and jump through an obstacle course in a timed competition.
In another development, the American Kennel Club has invited three new breeds to compete for the show's prestigious Best in Show title -- the rat terrier, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, and the Chinook.
Club spokesperson David Frei said that the breeds are chosen based on "adequate population in this country, a good geographic distribution, and a parent club that advocates for and oversees the breed."
"Many of the breeds have been around for years; they just haven't been recognized by the American Kennel Club until now for competition," he told Today.com.
The agility competition begins Feb. 8 in New York City. The main event begins Feb. 10.
[New York Times, Today]