American Kennel Club admitting 4 new breeds

In this undated photo provided by the American Kennel Club, three Spanish water dogs sit in the sand near tall grass.

AP / American Kennel Club

NEW YORK - A Spanish farm and fishing dog, a Sicilian rabbit-hunting breed, an Italian sheepdog with a distinctive matted coat and a rugged South African watchdog are joining the American Kennel Club pack.

The kennel club announced Wednesday that the Spanish water dog, the Cirneco dell'Etna, the Bergamasco and the Boerboel will become recognized breeds Jan. 1.

They'll be eligible to compete in many AKC-sanctioned dog shows next year, though not in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show until 2016.

The newcomers range from medium-sized, curly-haired Spanish water dogs to the big, mastiff-style Boerboels. The Cirneco dell'Etna is keen and sleek. The sociable Bergamasco is hard to miss with its long locks.

With them, there will be 184 AKC-recognized breeds. Criteria include having several hundred dogs of the breed nationwide.