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June 13, 2006 > What kind of dog is that?

What kind of dog is that?

by Janet Grant

Just about everyone has seen a Labrador Retriever, America's favorite breed of dog for more than ten years. Then too, most people have even seen Beagles, Poodles, and German Sheperds, more of America's favorite breeds for years. But who has seen a Cane Corso, or a New Guinea Singing Dog, or a Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka? Though these dogs may have unusual sounding names, they just happen to be among the over 130 rare breeds of dogs recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA), and you can watch them compete for Best in Show on June 17 at Cal State East Bay in Hayward.

ARBA is a national kennel club formed in 1991 to promote and educate the public about breeds from around the world that are currently not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the major kennel club of the United States. The mission of ARBA is to serve and protect the rare breed dog in America.

Just what is a rare breed dog? Rare in this case means scarce or uncommon. These dogs are neither more, nor less valuable than a popular breed. The breeders of rare breeds however, like their counterparts, are zealously protective of their breeds and work hard at educating the public and promoting responsible dog ownership. Some of the rare breeds though scarce, have long histories and may even be quite well known in their native countries, but virtually unknown in America.

For different reasons throughout history, some breeds have caught the fancy of the public. If the Queen of England or the President of the United States took a shine to a breed, its popularity was assured, at least in the short term. Breeds also gained or lost favor as social and economic conditions changed or when visitors introduced them from foreign lands. What is considered rare today may tomorrow's popular breed.

Dogs have been bred all over the world to do anything from warming a bed in a palace to guarding a nomadic camp. Many types of dogs would have wandered into oblivion had they not been loved and appreciated by dedicated groups of show dog breeders and admirers who wanted to maintain their dogs' special abilities.

If you want to see the best of the rare dog breeds, come to the Golden Gate Classic in Hayward. There will be exciting competition among the seven ARBA recognized groups-Companion, Herding, Hound, Spitz and Primitive, Sporting, Terrier, and Working. Winners of each group will go on to compete for the coveted prize of Best in Show.

For more information, visit or call (301) 868-5718.

Golden Gate Classic Rare Breed Dog Show
Saturday, June 17
9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
CSUEB, Practice Lawn Area
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward
(301) 868-5718

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