Maybe you and your dog can share a little screen time this Thanksgiving! Traditionally, millions tune in each year to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. Many look forward to seeing the balloons, performances, the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and, finally, Santa arriving at 34th Street in Manhattan to welcome the start of the Christmas season. But following the airing of the parade, many families are glued to an even more exciting event: NBC’s airing of the National Dog Show!
How does the show work? There are 208 varieties of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club. One dog wins “First in Breed” in their category and then that dog goes on to compete with the best dogs selected from other breeds. Each breed falls into one of seven groups – sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding – so what most viewers have the opportunity to see Thanksgiving day is the competition for overall winner at the group level. Here, dogs are not judged against each other, but rather against how well they fit their breed standards. The winner of this round wins the coveted title of “Best in Show.”
Traditionally, only purebred dogs, registered with the American Kennel Club can compete for best in breed and best in show. However, in 2014 the AKC added agility events for all breeds, including mutts and mixed-breed dogs, which they call “All American” dogs.
“Dogs are not judged against each other, but rather against how well they fit their breed standards. The winner of this round wins the coveted title of ‘Best in Show.'”
That very first year, a mixed breed dog named Emma, was one of 15 dogs out of 225 that made the cut to compete in the show. Emma had been found abandoned in a motel in South Carolina, was rescued from a high-kill shelter, and taught agility by her owner, Christy Wrede. Christy hopes Emma’s happy-ending story will continue to inspire others to adopt down-on-their-luck dogs. She and Emma remind us that, “you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a dog for it to surpass your wildest dreams.”
So regardless of whether you share your home with a pure-bred dog or a mixed-breed, purchased or rescued, take a minute during this holiday season and be grateful for the joy and love that all dogs bring to our lives! And maybe sit with your pup and watch the beautiful and intriguing dogs compete in the National Dog Show this Thanksgiving day.