To kick off the first week of 2021, the American Kennel Club (AKC) announced that a new dog breed will join their ranks this year – the Biewer Terrier. Before these small, soft-coated pups make their debut on the dog show stage, we’ve gathered some fun facts about this unique new breed.

The Biewer (pronounced “Beaver”) Terrier is the 197th breed recognized by the AKC. The breed originated in Germany in the 1980s, when Gertrud and Werner Biewer began breeding tricolor Yorkshire Terriers. Biewer Terriers first arrived in the United States in 2003.

The breed makes history as the first breed to be recognized as a purebred as a result of a genetic study. In 2007, Mars Veterinary conducted a study of Biewer Terriers to determine if they were a type of Yorkshire Terrier or a new breed altogether. The geneticists found that the dogs’ DNA had a mix of traits from several different breeds (Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Bichon Frise and Havanese), and concluded that Biewer Terriers were a distinct breed.

Biewers are small dogs, weighing in at between 4-8 pounds and with a height of 7-11 inches. What they lack in size, though, they more than make up for in charm. These happy-go-lucky pups love to play, and with their outgoing, whimsical demeanor, they make friends wherever they go.

Biewer Terrier

Despite its name, the Biewer Terrier is actually part of the Toy Group rather than the Terrier Group. “Although it has many terrier qualities, it’s much more of a sit-in-your-lap dog,” says Gayle Pruett, co-founder of the breed in the U.S. When nap time is over, Biewers are an athletic and energetic breed that equally enjoys long walks, hiking and even agility training.

The Biewer Terrier’s long, silky coat requires daily brushing. Special attention should be paid to those adorable ears, to avoid tangles and wax build-up. When their coats are kept short, they require less at-home maintenance.

Biewers are a generally healthy breed, with a life expectancy of around 16 years. They can have sensitive stomachs, so owners should consult with their veterinarian about the best diet for their dog. As for their ideal home, this adaptable breed can thrive just as well in an apartment or on a multi-acre farm. Their loyalty, intelligence and eager-to-please nature, combined with their playful spirit and friendly attitude, make them a perfect companion for singles of all ages as well as families with children, and everybody in between.

To learn more about Biewer Terriers, visit the websites of the American Kennel Club or the Biewer Terrier Club of America.