In a press conference yesterday, the Westminster Kennel Club showed off two new breeds—Coton de Tulears and Wirehaired Vizslas—that will compete in its 139th annual dog show. Here are a few things you might not have known about these adorable pooches.
Falko, a 17-month-old Wirehaired Vizsla from Montreal. Photo by Erin McCarthy.
1. The Wirehaired Vizsla is a hunting dog that hails from Hungary. Vizsla means “quick” or “pointer” in Hungarian.
2. In the 1920s and ‘30s, breeders wanted a dog similar in personality and looks to the smooth-haired Magyar Vizsla, but wanted it to be better able to withstand conditions in the field. That meant a thicker coat. To create the new breed, Vasas Jozsef, owner of the Csaba vizsla kennel in Hejocsaba, bred two of his female Vizslas with a brown German Wirehaired Pointer owned by de Salle Kennel’s Gresznarik Lazslo. The first Wirehaired Vizsla was shown in 1943. Other breeds that may have been incorporated include the wirehaired pointing griffon, pudelpointer, Irish setter and maybe even a bloodhound.
3. In addition to helping it be more comfortable in all kinds of terrible weather, the Wirehaired Vizsla’s rust-colored coat acts as camouflage, helping it blend in with dried grasses.
4. Both the Maygar and Wirehaired Vizsla breeds were nearly wiped out during World War II.
5. Wirehaired Vizslas are calm and gentle and will doggedly stay on scent, making them good in the home and in the field. And they love to swim!
Coton de Tulears Chanel (right) and Burberry (left) from New Jersey. Photo by Erin McCarthy.
6. Coton de Tulear—pronounced KO-Tone Dih TOO-Lay-ARE—includes the French word for “cotton,” which perfectly describes the soft, silky coats of these pups.
7. The exact origins of the Coton de Tulear is a mystery, but it’s believed that they date back to the 15th century, and popped up in Madagascar in the 17th century. They’re named after the island’s Port of Tulear.
8. The dog was sometimes brought aboard ships to take care of rodents.
9. The Coton de Tulear is the Official Dog of Madagascar, and is sometimes called the Royal Dog of Madagascar (for a long time, only Malagasy royalty and noblemen could own the dog).
10. The dog was honored with a postage stamp in Madagascar in 1974—the same year that it arrived in North America.