The National Dog Show, one of the most anticipated dog shows in the nation, returns Nov. 16 and 17 in Philadelphia. Since 2002, television viewing of the National Dog Show has been a Thanksgiving tradition in homes across the nation.
Presented by Purina and hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, the show features more than 150 American Kennel Club-sanctioned breeds and varieties competing for Best of Breed, First in Group and the top-dog spot: Best in Show.
Here's what you need to know about the show that celebrates man's best friend.
1. You don't have to go to Philadelphia to catch the show.
There's no need to book a trip to The National Dog Show: NBC's top-rated broadcast of the show airs at noon Thanksgiving Day, immediately following the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The two-hour show features hosts John O'Hurley, Mary Carillo and David Frei and regularly reaches nearly 20 million dog-lovers in the comfort of their homes.
2. The show has been airing since 2002, but it's been around for much longer than that.
The Kennel Club of Philadelphia Dog Show has been in existence since 1879 with minimal interruptions. When NBC Sports began airing the show in 2002, it was rebranded as The National Dog Show.
The show is one of only three major dog shows in the nation, ranked along with the AKC National Championship and the Westminster Dog Show.
3. There are seven groups of dogs.
There may be more than 2,000 dogs entered in the show, but when the coveted Best in Show competition takes place, you'll only see seven dogs. These canines are the best of the best, representing seven groups and the characteristics and functions for which the breeds were originally intended: the Terrier Group, the Toy Group, the Working Group, the Sporting Group, the Hound Group, the Non-Sporting Group and the Herding Group.
4. It's a diverse competition.
205 breeds and varieties are eligible to participate in the National Dog Show.
5. It's a benched show, and that's kind of a big deal.
An untrained dog-show enthusiast may be wondering why a benched distinction makes a difference. Participating dogs are required to stay on assigned benches when not in competition, an awesome feat of discipline and character.
The benching makes the canine competitors accessible to all on site and allows for interaction and provides an easy way to ask questions and share information.