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The National Dog Show

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Taking An In-Depth Look At The World Of Showdogs

Every year during the fourth Thursday of November (a.k.a. Thanksgiving), N.B.C. hosts and televises an event called The National Dog Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As the name suggests, it is a famous dog show. But, that doesn’t really explain what exactly goes on there. This article will cover everything you need to know about The National Dog Show including the history of the show itself, the sponsors, the breeds that are allowed to compete, how the judging works, and why have a dog show at all. Keep reading to learn more!

The History

The National Dog Show has been airing on the NBC television station since 2002. At the time of writing this article, that’s twenty years of dog show entertainment that anyone can watch from the comfort of their own home. However, the actual dog show itself has been going on for significantly longer. It was originally titled The Kennel Club of Philadelphia Dog Show and has been occurring every year since 1879. Once NBC started airing the show in 2002, the show was rebranded to The National Dog Show. The National Dog Show is one of three major jobs in the U.S. alongside the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the A.K.C National Championship. While all three are famous in their own right, The National Dog Show is the most popular by far.  

The Sponsors

Like any popular event, The National Dog Show wouldn’t be as famous and renowned as it is today without the help of its sponsors. The major sponsors of the show provide the majority of the funding to make the event happen including renting out the Philadelphia Expo Center, catering, stage setup, providing food, water, and shelter for the dogs, concessions for the viewers, and even the broadcasting of the show itself. NBC (National Broadcasting Center) is responsible for bringing the show itself to our tv screens every year. The title sponsor of the show itself is the pet food company Purina. The event sponsor is Carson Events, the most prominent producer and packager of canine events. Lastly, the show also has a wide variety of local media partners and sponsors including Pet Life Radio, Westover Golf Club, and even Home Depot. To learn more about the various sponsors and their contributions to The National Dog Show, check out the official National Dog Show website

The Breeds

There are a total of 209 A.K.C. registered breeds and varieties that are allowed to compete in The National Dog Show. Out of those 209, they are assigned to 1 of 7 different groups. Each of these groups are supposed to represent the functions and characteristics to which the breed was originally bred for. Those 7 groups are Herding Group, Hound group, Non-sporting group, Sporting group, Terrier group, Toy group, and Working group. The “First In Group” from each of these 7 categories then compete against each other for “Best In Show.” Due to the specific nature and categorization of the show itself, only purebreds are allowed to compete. To learn more about purebred dogs, check out our previous article entitled National Purebred Dog Day

How Do They Judge The Dogs

As animal lovers, it’s hard to imagine how to judge and compare one dog from another. But, that is the job of a judge at the National Dog Show. These dog judges are extremely picky, but that is essentially the whole point. The judges examine and rank the dogs based on how closely each one compares to the judges mental image of the perfect dog as described by the breed’s official standards. The three main focal points are the dog’s overall appearance, structure, and temperament. 

Why Have A Dog Show

At Paramount Pet Care, we love every dog equally regardless of their features, flaws, or imperfections. Essentially, we could never be judges at a dog show because every dog comes in first place in our eyes. However, not everyone sees it this way as some people are very particular about their dogs appearance, characteristics, and features. It’s important to remember that dogs are not naturally born animals, but are the product of thousands of years of human involvement and domestication. We essentially created what dogs are today and each breed was created for a specific purpose. Whether it’s a herding dog, a working dog, or just a cuddling dog, every dog was made and bred that way for a reason. That is the focal point of dog shows. To highlight, judge, and praise those various characteristics, features, and traits that have been passed down over the generations. Dogs are beautiful creatures not only for what they are, but for who they are. We encourage you to check out the National Dog Show this Thanksgiving on NBC not only for entertainment, but to learn more about our K-9 friends we love so much.  

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