The National Dog Show

The National Dog Show has become one of the most important and best-loved dog shows in the U.S. in recent years. The show is actually held by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia dog clubs that came before have been holding dog shows since 1879. The present-day Kennel Club of Philadelphia presented its first dog show in 1912 and became a member of the AKC in 1913.


Unlike most shows today, the National Dog Show is a “benched” show. This means that the participating dogs stay in crates behind the scenes when they aren’t being shown, with their exhibitors next to them, so they can meet the public. This allows the public to learn about the dogs and talk to the exhibitors about them. In the early days of dog shows in the 19th century, all shows were benched but these shows are rare today. Only six shows in the country today are benched. Most shows are “show and go” now, with exhibitors and their dogs leaving the facility as soon as they have finished showing.


The show became known as the “National Dog Show” in 2001-02 when it was first televised on NBC. The National Dog Show has the coveted slot immediately following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (at noon in all time zones) on NBC and in some markets is shown multiple times during the day. Since a dog show actually takes many hours to complete, the show is filmed the weekend prior to the Thursday airing on NBC. This gives the network time to edit the show and get it ready for TV.


Hosts for the program are John O’Hurley and David Frei. Actor John O’Hurley was well-known as Mr. Peterman on Seinfeld, prior to assuming the role of host for the National Dog Show. David Frei is the public spokesperson for the Westminster Kennel Club and also hosts the television broadcast of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the USA Network in February. The National Dog Show annually has around 20 million viewers. Presenting sponsor for the show is Nestlé Purina PetCare, maker of numerous brands of dog food such as Alpo, Beggin’ Strips, Beneful, Dog Chow, and Purina ONE.


The Best In Show winner in 2012 was the Wire Fox Terrier – GCH Afterall Painting the Sky, a.k.a. “Sky.” More than 2000 of the country’s top dogs will be entered this year, representing over 150 breeds and varieties.


If you plan to be in Philadelphia November 16-17, you can attend the dog show in person.


Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks
100 Station Ave, Oaks, PA 19456

8:00 AM – 6:00 PM Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

Adults (ages 13+): $14
Children (ages 4-12): $7
Children 3 and under are admitted free


As usual, the shows will help raise money for a variety of canine-related causes. Previous beneficiaries of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia include the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. There will be conformation judging each day as well as top agility dogs in the ring at each show. Saturday’s show will be filmed for nationwide broadcast on Thanksgiving Day. Sunday’s show offers enhanced athletic dog exhibitions plus family-friendly activities and hands-on fun. The weekend will feature a flyball tournament, freestyle flying disc, and therapy dogs from the Ronald McDonald House. Check out the program for the shows here:


Whether you’re at the show in person or sitting in front of your television, the National Dog Show always showcases terrific dogs and people who love them.