Skip to content

Entertainment & People


11 Quick Questions for Actor and Dog Show Host John O’Hurley

Seinfeld’s Mr. Peterman loves his canine companions and recalls the old sitcom fondly

John O’Hurley, host of the The National Dog Show, posing with a Biewer Terrier

Simon Bruty/National Dog Show


Actor John O’Hurley, perhaps best known as Mr. Peterman on the ’90s sitcom Seinfeld, has gone to the dogs. O’Hurley, 67, has been host of The National Dog Show, a Thanksgiving Day tradition [Nov. 25, 12 p.m., NBC] since 2002 and says he’s “a better man with a dog in my lap.”

Here he talks a lot about dogs and a little about that other show — the one famously about nothing on which he made a lasting impression.


The National Dog Show still draws a ratings crowd. Explain, please.

Whether you’re 4 or 94, everybody loves to watch the dogs and their little faces. When they come in and do the close-ups, I defy anyone to change the channel on the remote.


John O'Hurley as J. Peterman on a 'Seinfeld' episode, sitting at a desk smiling and holding a magazine

Joseph Delvalle/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

John O'Hurley played the eccentric J. Peterman on 'Seinfeld' from 1995-1998.

What’s new in dogs this year?

The Biewer Terrier [pronounced beaver like the little dam-building animal]. It’s kind of a very small Yorkie. When we did the photo shoot for the promotion for the 20th anniversary, I had one of them there and that was my dog for the day. An absolute sweetie.

Do you have personal favorite dog show breeds?

I love the Irish Setter. I always joke that it reminds me of the redhead that just walked into the cocktail party and all the heads turn. It’s just an absolutely remarkable show dog. But would I want one? Nah, it would be kind of out of my lifestyle. I have rooted for it every year. One year the Irish Setter actually won best in show and I really thought that my life was pretty complete at that time.


Tell us about your first dog

Taffy was my first dog, a little dachshund. In kindergarten/first grade [in Natick, Massachusetts], Taffy would wait for me when I came home from school and then the two of us would go down to what I would refer to as my secret hiding place, which was the little swamp down at the end of the street. I would walk around the swamp every day with my net and Taffy. I would turn over every rock. Together we would look for anything that was living, a toad or a snail or a fish that we could find.


What’s your current dog situation?

We have two rescues: Mia, who we just got, and Charlotte, a little terrier mix; and a purebred Havanese named Lucy. Mia’s only about 5 pounds; a little Yorkie, terrier and maybe Jack Russell. I mean she bounces around like nobody’s business. It certainly would be indicative of that breed.


Dogs in bed with you? Or yuck, no, never?

Oh yeah. It’s a lovefest and you never know whether it’s our son’s bed or our bed. It’s any port in the storm.


If you could only take one of the Seinfeld gang — Jerry, Kramer, Elaine, George — with you on a desert island, who would you take and why?

Elaine. She is a combination of Mary Tyler Moore and Lucille Ball. Always interesting.


Where would Elaine be career-wise today?

She would have worked her way to the middle and that’s the fun part about it. All of the characters were kind of like that. They had aspirations for success but none of them, even Jerry, achieved it.


There’s a real catalog business behind your character, J. Peterman. What’s a must-have holiday gift from there?

 Any man who doesn’t own a duster is missing something from his wardrobe.


Your favorite Seinfeld episode?

The Frogger episode [18th episode of the ninth and final season, first aired April 23, 1998] — that represented the best of Seinfeld, the genius of the writing, the genius of the direction. And then, of course, it contained the one line that George said that was so telling of his character, when he looked at Jerry and said, “I’m never going to have kids, that Frogger machine score is all I have.” That was so painfully and sadly honest.


Seinfeld reunion: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

I don’t believe so. I think the premise of the show which made it so interesting is that they are selfish 30-year-olds and I don’t think a show about selfish 60-year-olds really has the same appeal.


Renew your membership today and save 25% on your next year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.