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Westminster dog show adds event with mixed-breeds

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Alfie, a mixed breed, demonstrates his mastery of an agility test during a news conference in New York, today.

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NEW YORK — The Westminster Kennel Club dog show has long been the province of purebreds. But the nation’s premier canine event is opening a doggie door this year to mixed-breed competitors: They’ll be included in its new agility trial.

Next month’s show at New York’s Madison Square Garden also will feature three new breeds. They’re the chinook, the Portuguese podengo pequeno and the rat terrier.

A press conference today featured some of the newcomers, plus dogs weaving around poles and jumping through a tire on an agility course.

Organizers say this year marks the first time dogs of mixed breeds have appeared anywhere at Westminster since the 138-year-old event’s early days.

They won’t vie for the prestigious Best in Show award. That’s still purebreds only.

It’ll be awarded Feb. 11.

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