4 new dog breeds added to American Kennel Club

A combination photo by AKC shows the four dog breeds, shown clockwise from top left, which the American Kennel Club (AKC) has recognized: the Boerboel, the Bergamasco, the Cirneco dell'Etna and the Spanish Water Dog, in these photos released on December 18, 2014.

The American Kennel Club has recognised four more dog breeds, including a Spanish fishing dog and a South African guard dog, in a move allowing them to compete in prestigious canine competitions nationwide.

The Spanish Water Dog, the Cirneco dell'Etna, the Bergamasco, and the Boerboel have gained full club recognition and will be eligible to compete in its events starting Jan. 1, a club spokeswoman said on Thursday.

With the additions, the number of AKC recognised breeds is 184.

The newly recognised breeds must wait until 2016 to compete in the popular Westminster Kennel Club show as entries for the February 2015 event are closed, the club said. The Westminster club is a member of the AKC.

The AKC, which started in 1884 with nine breeds, adds new breeds to its list once they meet certain requirements, such as a related breed club and a minimum number of dogs nationwide, said AKC club spokeswoman Jessica D'Amato.

The club made the announcement on Wednesday.

The Spanish Water Dog is a herding dog with a curly coat, bred as a multi-purpose farm dog and used for herding, hunting and assisting fisherman. The Cirneco dell'Etna is a smart, short-haired hunter from Italy.

The Bergamasco, also from Italy, is a eager-to-please herding dog with a unique coat made of long mats. The Boerboel is a large, agile mastiff-like breed, originating in South Africa and used as a farm and guard dog.