The Thanksgiving Dog Show is becoming a tradition in many pet owners' households in the U.S. the same way as watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, special Thanksgiving-themed movies and shows and football has been a tradition for decades. As a dog lover, you may be more interested in watching the National Dog Show 2018, also known as Thanksgiving Dog Show 2018.

When does Thanksgiving Dog Show air? The National Dog Show Presented by Purina 2018 will air on NBC on November 22nd, from 12 pm to 2 pm (all time zones). This is after the 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

If you have never heard of the National Dog Show / Thanksgiving Dog Show, do not fret – I'm here to tell you all about the show and give you a few reasons why you should spend two hours on Thanksgiving watching it. And, if you're new to watching dog shows, I'll explain how they work and what you can expect when tuning in.

Thanksgiving Dog Show 2018
what you must know and why you should watch it

Thanksgiving Dog Show 2017

What is Thanksgiving Dog Show?

The National Dog Show Presented by Purina (aka Thanksgiving Dog Show) is a traditional annual event that is broadcast by NBC every Thanksgiving day from noon to 2pm across all time zones in the United States.

It is a pre-taped dog show event (which in itself lasts two days and takes place a week before Thanksgiving) where pedigreed dogs of all sizes and shapes come together to compete at The Kennel Club of Philadelphia's two benched, all-breed dog show taking place in Philadelphia, PA. The show dogs and their owners compete for the title of the most beautiful, most gracious and well-groomed canines in the USA.

The 2018 National Dog Show details

Do you want to watch it live at the location, or on TV on Thanksgiving Day?

The EVENT: The Thanksgiving Dog Show that airs on NBC in itself has been recorded a week before. The dog show event will take place across two show days – on Saturday, November 17th, 2018 (8AM to 6PM) and Sunday, November 18th, 2018 (8.30AM to 5PM) at The Kennel Club of Philadelphia. The location of the event is at Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, 100 Station Ave, Oaks, PA 19456).

The winner of National Dog Show receives the title and $20,000.

You can get the tickets for the National Dog Show 2018 at ticketleap site here. Tickets for either one day or both days of the dog show event are available at $16 per ticket per day for adults and $7 for kids between 4 and 12 years old.

If you're going to the event at the location…

  • The full 2018 National Dog Show schedule is available here (PDF)
  • Tickets are available at the door
  • Each day is a complete, separate and distinct all-breed show
  • You CANNOT bring your own dog to the show
  • More scheduling, lodging and other info is available here.

The National Dog Show Presented by Purina 2018SHOW on TV: This year's 2018 National Dog Show Presented by Purina will be once again airing on NBC and hosted by John O'Hurley and David Frei as its usual hosts.

For those looking to watch this on television, it's going to be a 2-hour special. Make sure you tune in on Thanksgiving Day (November 22nd) at noon across all time zones. For more details, take a look at their official page on NBC's site.

This year we can expect more than 2,000 dogs competing for the “Best in Show” title. To promote the show, Purina also promises to donate $1 to for every dog related post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram tagged with @purina and #DogThanking.

The history of NDS

This year marks the 16th National Dog Show presented on NBC. But the Thanksgiving Dog Show has actually been around since the early 1900's, with a short break during the time of the Great Depression. Actually, the first reported National Dog Show was held in 1879, but the Kennel of Philadelphia (who is the official judge of this show) hosted its first show in 1912.

Ever since then, the National Dog Show has always been held in Philadelphia. It first debuted as the Thanksgiving Dog Show in 2002 and has been aired every year on NBC on Thanksgiving Day since then.

However, that doesn’t make it the longest lasting dog show in the USA. The Westminster Dog Show that is traditionally held at the Madison Square Garden has been around for a bit longer, dating back to the year 1877 and we've had one of their representative on a recent podcast episode to explain more about the purpose of dog shows, why they're so fascinating to owners and dog lovers, and how to get started in them.

The Thanksgiving Dog Show is one of the most famous dog shows in the USA and one of the major three (along with the above mentioned Westminster Dog Show and AKC (American Kennel Club) National Championship). The winner is usually invited to compete at Crufts, which is the largest dog show in the world, held in the UK every year.

RELATED: How to Turn Your Dog Into a Show Dog and Start Competing

Thanksgiving Dog Show

How Does the Thanksgiving Dog Show Work?

For a dog to be able to compete in the National Dog Show, it has to be purebred and the breed has to be officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. Don’t worry. The chances that your dog’s breed isn’t recognized are very slim.

There are more than 190 recognized breeds at this moment, and every year more are being accepted too.

All dog breeds are first separated into seven groups – Terrier, Sporting, Toy, Working, Herding, Hound and Non-sporting. You can see all the breeds, and in which group they are placed, on the official website of the National Dog Show (linked to in the introduction of this article).

To become the winner of the prestigious Best in Show award at the Thanksgiving Dog Show, a canine must first make it out of its breed and then out of its group. That means that only the top dog from every breed goes into judging for every group. Still then, only the top dog out of every group goes to compete for the Best in Show title.

Thanksgiving Dog ShowThe competition is, of course, fierce. Many breeds have more than a hundred contestants, which means that every group has thousands of dogs. The judges examine the dogs, with the official standard of every breed in mind, in order to place them correctly.

The main things that they look out for are the overall appearance, structure, and temperament of the dog. They will also look for the characteristics that allow the dog to perform the job that he was originally bred for.

They will check how fit the dog is, how close are his physical characteristics to the perfect dog of his breed and, of course, how the dog behaves during the judging. Dogs that display happy attitudes and show that they love competing are favorites to win the hearts of judges and fans alike.

Judges will always strive to remain impartial and objective. Even though you might think that some breeds are more likely to win the title because they are more popular than others, that’s simply not the case.

The previous list of winners of the Thanksgiving Dog Show includes a wide variety of breeds. Only once has the winner been from the same breed as the previous winner, when Wire Fox Terriers Eira and Sky won their titles in 2011 and 2012.

RECOMMENDED: 30 Most Popular Dog Breeds That Are Famous All Over the World

Thanksgiving Dog Show

Why Should You Watch the Thanksgiving Dog Show?

If you are a dog owner or just a real dog lover, then you don’t need a detailed explanation or any particular reason to watch the Thanksgiving Dog Show. It is a dog show, what more could you need? However, even if you are not that into dogs, there are many reasons why this show is a must-see TV program during the holidays.

1. It’s all-inclusive

This is true from the standpoint of dog owners and fans both. First of all, almost every year the National Dog Show includes additional breeds into their program and allows them to compete.

As we mentioned before, the figure currently stands at more than 190 breeds. If you are a dog owner that has one of these breeds, you can join the fun and compete for the title of Best in Show.

Thanksgiving Dog ShowOn the other hand, if you are just a spectator, this dog show is one of the few that are considered to be “bench” shows. That means that dogs are on display, or “benched” during the entire show.

There is no behind the scenes here, you can see all dogs at any time. You can meet them and see them being groomed or just getting mentally prepared for their time in the spotlight.

2. It’s entertaining

Actually, it is entertaining on multiple levels. First, it is a dog show. That alone should make the event fun to watch, especially if you are like most of the dog lovers out there who can spend hours looking at the funny videos of dogs on YouTube.

Second, listening to the hosts of the Thanksgiving Dog Show, actors John O’Hurley and David Frei (who also hosted the Westminster Dog Show for over two decades, until last year) saying the names of the breeds can be both deeply satisfying and hilarious experience. Many of them sound like they were made up for the purposes of some children’s fantasy novel.

The names of the individual dogs are not that far behind, mostly. For example, try to read the name of the Scottish Terrier who won the title in 2009, CH Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot, and not chuckle along the way.

3. It’s educational

In addition to learning about breeds that you never before knew existed, watching the Thanksgiving Dog Show can teach you a lot about some popular breeds as well. Both hosts are well-prepared and have plenty of information to provide about every breed.

Even though most of that information will be nothing more than a trivia you learned, if you are thinking about getting a dog, this show can help you decide on the breed and can help you learn how to take care of that specific breed. Some breeds require a lot of attention, others require a lot of grooming and if you want to make the perfect choice for your household and your family.

4. It can be both relaxed and dramatic

YThanksgiving Dog Showou don’t have to watch the entire show to enjoy it. You can just as easily tune in for a little while, and you will not feel lost at what’s happening. After all, it’s just a dog show. You can watch dogs without knowing the entire history of the competition.

This makes the Thanksgiving Dog Show a perfect program to watch with your kids, since it is fun and relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, football can be fun as well, but if you are a die-hard fan who is very emotional about his team, you are probably bound to yell or even swear at least occasionally.

On the other hand, even if you like some dog in the competition and you want to root for him, you probably won’t shout out if he loses. It is simply a lot less stressful thing to watch in the presence of your family than football.

Of course, even though this program is relaxing in nature, it can still produce some very dramatic moments. First of all, imagine a bunch of dogs in one place. That is surely a shortstop to chaos and chaos sometimes ensues. After all, these dogs are fierce rivals and that competition alone is dramatic enough.

However, there are also occasional scandals that will make you remember the show for a long time. For example, there was a story last year of an Irish Setter Jagger who died after the Crufts show and was later discovered that he was poisoned. Add a bit of murder mystery to the regular competitive drama and you get a big bowl of excitement.

READ NEXT: 10 Best Sports To Do with Dogs

Diana currently lives and works in London, UK and she's been an animal lover and dog owner since she was a child. After graduating high school, she focused on getting her degree in English to become a writer with a focus on animals, pets and dogs.