Westminster Dog Show will feature new breed from West Africa

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The 144th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Manhattan will feature a new breed.

The Azawakh was introduced at a news conference on Tuesday.

Tall and elegant, the Azawakh is originally from the West African nations of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

The breed is a trusted guardian and hunter of hare, antelope, and wild boar, and became a constant traveling companion of desert-roaming nomads.

The dogs are very fast outdoors, yet indoors, the Azawakh is a calm indoor family companion.

There are six Azawakhs entered this year.

The best of breed winner will join the Hound group next Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Kennel Club officials also announced a change to its daytime competitions which traditionally have been held at Piers 92 and 94 on Manhattan's west side.

Pier 92 is currently closed, so the show has been expanded from three to four days, with all daytime competitions being held at Pier 94.

That also means an extra day for the bench area, where spectators can meet the dogs, talk to breeders and handlers and be educated on the different breeds.

As usual, all evening group judging and the Best in Show presentation will be held at Madison Square Garden.

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