Thanksgiving is a time that most people spend with their loved ones. After a long dinner filled with family chitchat, it is good to unwind by watching one of the amusing TV programs that are traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving. Perhaps the Thanksgiving Dog Show would be entertainment that your family would enjoy?

UPDATE: 2017 National Dog Show Results Are Here

There is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, numerous movies and TV shows that air Thanksgiving-themed episodes, and, of course, watching football on Thanksgiving is basically a tradition as much as eating a turkey. As a dog lover, you may be more interested in watching the National Dog Show, or as it is also often called by pet owners, the Thanksgiving Dog Show.

Never heard of the National Dog Show?

Do not fret – I'm going to tell you all about the show and why you should spend some time on Thanksgiving checking it out. And, if you're new to watching dog shows, I'll explain how they work and what you can expect when tuning in.

What Is Thanksgiving Dog Show
…and 4 reasons why you should watch it

Thanksgiving Dog Show 2017

What is Thanksgiving Dog Show?

The National Dog Show (aka Thanksgiving Dog Show) is a traditional annual event that is broadcasted by NBC every Thanksgiving at noon. It is an event in which pedigreed dogs of all sizes and shapes come together in Philadelphia to compete for the title of the most beautiful, most gracious and well-groomed dog in the USA.

The 2017 National Dog Show details

2017 National Dog Show is presented by Purina, hosted by John O'Hurley and David Frei.

For those looking to watch this on TV, it's going to be a 2-hour LIVE special. Make sure you tune in on Thanksgiving Day (November 23rd) 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.

For those wanting to attend the event in person, it will take place at Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, 100 Station Ave, Oaks, PA 19456 on November 18th and 19th. The tickets are $16, and you can get them at TicketLeap.

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.

The Thanksgiving Dog Show is one of the most famous dog shows in the USA and one of the major three (along with the before 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.

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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.

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