It’s not often that it can be said that the world of dog shows has seen a major change, but recently exactly that happened. New breeds are not often accepted for show purposes at events like the Westminster Dog Show, but that is exactly what has happened for the Wirehaired Vizsla and the Coton de Tulear. These two breeds are likely things you’ve never heard of before; they seem like obscure breeds, the kinds of things that would only be seen at exactly the kind of dog show that Westminster is: elite, removed from the regular dog-owner’s life and experience, and preoccupied with pageantry and presentation. The truth, however, is that this is just representative of the increasing acceptance and spread of breeds that we in the West are not quite so used to.
The Coton de Tulear
Take, for example, the Coton de Tulear. The dog’s origins lie in Madagascar, where it was developed for some time and where it is now considered to be the national dog. It’s thought that the Coton’s ancestors were brought to Madagascar in the 16th or 17th century by pirates (quite a history indeed!), ad that the pirate base on St. Mary’s Island were where the dogs took to shore. They kept rats under control on ships and also served as sociable friends and loyal companions for long sea journeys. It isn’t a hunting dog and really serves more as a companion dog, making it the perfect kind of show dog for Westminster.
The Wirehaired Vizsla
The Wirehaired Vizsla is, on the other hand, a dog of Hungarian origins. Known to be hunting dogs with great personalities that make them ideal for family life, the Vizsla is considered to be energetic, gentle, affectionate, and thoughtful, while also being very protective of their families and owners. Developed in the 1930s, the dog was intended to be a more ideal dog compared to the Vizsla for colder weather.
Of course, today, whatever the original purposes of these dogs, they are now not only great show dogs (as Westminster proves!) but also fantastic companions to any family. Indeed, you would be fortunate to have one of these great breeds in your home!