AARP Eye Center
If it’s Thanksgiving (and Santa has floated by at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade) then it’s time for one thing: the National Dog Show. Is there anything more stress-reducing (and fabulous) than watching these top-of-breed canines and their handlers work the room? There isn’t, so use our guide for this year’s festivities to, um, bone up.
How to watch this year’s National Dog Show
The show kicks off at noon in all time zones on NBC, following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and before the afternoon football games begin. It is the most widely viewed dog show in America.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.
Bonus: You can watch past year's episodes on Peacock!
Is any of the National Dog Show broadcast live?
It isn’t! The all-breed dog show, hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, is actually a weekend-long affair that takes place on Saturday, Nov. 20 — this is the taped-for-telecast portion — and Sunday, Nov. 21. The live event offers more canine competitions, enhanced athletic dog exhibitions, plus family-friendly activities and hands-on fun at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia has presented dog shows for more than 125 years.
Was the movie Best in Show inspired by the National Dog Show?
Sort of the other way around, in fact. Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network, says Christopher Guest’s beloved 2000 mockumentary Best in Show gave him the idea of airing the dog show on a national scale. Founded in 1879, the show has been an annual event since 1933, and NBC’s first broadcast came in 2002.
Don’t Miss This: The 10 best dog movies of all time
How is the pandemic affecting the 2021 National Dog Show?
The event went ahead with cardboard spectators in the seats last year, but real-life spectators are back for 2021, which means the applause and cheers for the dogs will be real. Don’t worry, though: All attendees must be vaccinated, and no, spectators cannot bring their own dogs to the show.
Which dogs get to compete in the National Dog Show?
The National Dog Show is sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, and only purebred dogs registered with the AKC can compete. The AKC recognizes 208 dog breeds and varieties, split into seven groups. More than 2,000 of the top AKC-sanctioned dogs from across the country will compete this year.