On Thanksgiving Day, after the turkey is in the oven, millions of Americans will gather in front of their televisions to celebrate two hours of glorious dogdom with the National Dog Show Presented by Purina.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary on NBC this year, the show will air from noon to 2 p.m. in all time zones immediately following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The National Dog Show has a connection to Ketchum as it is produced by local event, television and digital media production company Carson International.
Led by long-time valley resident Kathy Carson and her late husband Paul, Carson International has partnered with NBC, Purina and the Kennel Club of Philadelphia in producing the televised event since its inception 20 years ago. NBC films the event in preparation for the two-hour family-favorite special, and Carson oversees on-site operations and logistics, staging, setup, staffing, social media and more.
Carson International also works with numerous businesses in Ketchum and surrounding areas to support this effort.
The Thanksgiving Day broadcast wagged its way into America’s homes in 2002, offering a fresh and entertaining presentation of this prestigious Kennel Club of Philadelphia and AKC-sanctioned dog show. Each year, more than 20 million viewers, along with their canine companions, root for both the underdog and their favorite dog in this annual Thanksgiving Day tradition.
The broadcast is filmed by NBC in front of thousands of spectators at the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s annual cluster at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania. The club has hosted the dog show for more than 125 years, but the inspiration to televise it nationally came about in 2001 after Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports, watched the hit movie “Best in Show.” The idea of placing a dog show with all its history and tradition between the Macy’s Parade and football on Thanksgiving Day was an immediate hit with TV audiences.
Hosting the broadcast again this year is award-winning TV personality, author and Broadway star John O’Hurley (“Seinfeld,” “Dancing With the Stars”), and expert analyst and American Kennel Club-licensed judge David Frei, one of America’s foremost authorities on the sport. NBC correspondent and sports broadcasting Hall of Famer Mary Carillo will report from backstage and inside the show ring.
More than 1,500 purebred dogs and about 200 breeds will vie for Best in Show. First, dogs must compete within their breed and win Best in Breed. Those winners then move to the group judging, which includes seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Nonsporting and Herding, representing characteristics and functions for the breeds. Winners of each of the seven groups compete for Best in Show.
This year a new AKC-recognized breed, the Biewer (pronounced beaver) Terrier, will compete. Since the first National Dog Show broadcast in 2002, 50 new breeds have been introduced to the event.
Also new this year, junior handlers and their dogs will be featured in the National Dog Show Junior streaming on Peacock at 2 p.m. following the National Dog Show. This kid-focused show combines highlights of junior breed judging and Best in Show with features on the science of dogs, junior handlers, dog agility training and what makes them great pets.
“It’s exciting after 20 years of broadcasting the National Dog Show to be able to present this new, fun presentation featuring up-and-coming juniors and their dogs,” noted Kathy Carson.
“We love the National Dog Show and being a partner with NBC, Purina and the Kennel Club of Philadelphia in the creation and success of the show for 20 years,” Carson said. “It’s an honor to bring this show to people around the country and create joy through our universal love of dogs.
“From all of us who work on the National Dog Show Presented by Purina, Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the show.”
NBC and Carson International have published the 2021 National Dog Show program online. To download the program, visit NBC Sports at media.nationaldogshow.com/media/2021/10/NDS-Program-2021.pdf or issuu.com/nationaldogshow/docs/nds_program_2021. ￼