The First and the Last (So Far)

The year 1878 was a big one for purebred dog breeds. Nine breeds were recognized by the “club of clubs,” and they would go down in history as the “charter” breeds of the AKC before the AKC was even officially founded in 1884. They were the Pointer, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Clumber Spaniel, the Cocker Spaniel, the Gordon Setter, English Setter and Irish Setter, the Irish Water Spaniel, and the Sussex Spaniel.

And then there was silence.

It would be another seven years before any new breeds were admitted to the AKC family, and then there was a veritable downpour of new breeds. They included the Basset Hound, Beagle, Bloodhound, Bull Terrier, Dachshund, Fox Terrier, Greyhound, Harrier, Irish Terrier, Mastiff, Pug, Saint Bernard, Scottish Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier.

If you are a complete dog nerd, AKC historian, and/or statistics geek, you’ll have noted that a breed is missing from the “class of 1885,” and it was the first herding breed to have been accepted by the AKC, only at the time, it was considered a working breed. The Herding Group wasn’t created until 1983, a much needed classification that acknowledged breeds developed to gather, herd, and protect livestock.  If you were a fancier of a certain herding breed that predated 1983 (that would be all you who showed an Old English Sheepdog, German Shepherd Dog, Shetland Sheepdog, Belgian Sheepdog, Briard, Bouvier des Flandres, Pembroke or Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Puli, Belgian Malinois,  Belgian Tervuren, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Bearded Collie or Australian Cattle Dog, you will remember how long it took to get through Working Group judging. 

It felt like days.

We’ve purposefully left out one breed so far to give it its appropriate fan fare (click on the arrow with your sound up):


Enter the Collie

The Collie was the first Working—–>Herding breed to enter the AKC in 1885.

The first herding breed to be recognized by the AKC after the Herding Group had been formed was the Australian Shepherd which happened in 1991. It would be another four years before another herding breed, the Border Collie, joined the AKC family in 1995. What was the last herding breed to be recognized as of this writing?  Anyone? Anyone?

Ding ding ding, it was the Mudi in 2022!

Who can say which will be the next herding breed to get full recognition, but the herding breeds “waiting in the wing” of the Miscellaneous Class are the Dutch Shepherd and the Lancashire Heeler. Behind them, and only because as of this date, they are in the Foundation Stock Service, or FSS, are the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, the Australian Kelpie, the Barbado da Terceira, and the Bohemian Shepherd.

Image: “Year of the Dog – Mudi” by Kelgrid who work you can follow and support here. 

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