On January 15, the Westminster Kennel Club announced that for the first time in the Westminster Dog Show
's 138 year history, mixed breed dogs will mingle with the purebred.These pooches of unscrutinized ancestry will be competing in the show's new agility trail
, though they won't be eligible for what many consider to be the night's main event -- the Best in Show award.RELATED STORY: 5 Reasons Mixed Breed Dogs Make Great Pets
Some animal rights activists have criticized the show and the pure-breeding it stands for -- arguing that it's inhumane to breed dogs for desired traits while millions go unadopted in shelters. Others point out that purebred dogs often suffer from genetic conditions as a result of the traits bred into them.Enthusiasts argue that preserving dog breeds is important work and helps dog lovers find the dogs best suited to them. It seems many agree the end of an entire breed would be a loss: the potential demise of the Corgi sparked concern all over the internet
late last year.RELATED STORY: Is the Westminster Dog Show Still Relevant?
For their part, the Westminster Dog Show has always claimed to celebrate a love for all dogs
. "We're very excited about the fact that Westminster can play a leadership role in embracing, really, the sport of dogs," said Westminster President Sean McCarthy
The agility event may be just the arena for these mixed dogs. The event "is just about performance," said NJ resident Irene Palmerini, dog parent to Alfie, a probably-poodle-and-terrier mix who'll be competing. "It doesn't matter what your dog looks like. It doesn't matter who their mother or father was."
In addition, the Westminster Kennel Club announced that three new dog breeds will be able to compete at next month's show: the Chinook, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, and the Rat Terrier
The show will take place February 10-11 in New York City, with the agility trail preceding on February 8.
What do you think?
Are you excited to watch the agility event? Let us know in the comments below!