National Dog Show Presented By Purina Set For 15th Annual Special On NBC Following Macy’s Parade

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NEW YORK, Nov. 22, 2016 – NBC’s Thanksgiving Day special, “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina®,” will crown one of America’s great purebreds as its 2016 champion on Thanksgiving Day, bringing canine competition and family entertainment to America’s viewers for the 15th year.

The holiday special (noon-2 p.m. in all time zones) follows the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® on NBC and is watched annually by a total of more than 20 million viewers. Over 180 breeds vie for Best in Show honors in the tradition-rich Kennel Club of Philadelphia competition. An encore presentation airs on NBC in primetime on Saturday, November 26, from 8-10 p.m. ET.

The TV special is a celebration of man’s best friend, hosted by beloved TV personality John O’Hurley and expert analyst David Frei, who have been together since the launch of the popular holiday special in 2002. Mary Carillo will report from the backstage benching area as the dogs prepare to compete and former Olympic figure skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski will also lend their distinctive presence.

The show’s popularity over the past decade and one-half is a tribute to the dogs in our lives and its time slot following the Macy’s Parade from noon-2 p.m. in all time zones, before football viewing takes over the day.

The National Dog Show boasts a powerful digital presence at NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app that includes a live stream of the entire NBC Thanksgiving Day show, featuring all seven group competition videos and Best in Show.  Because of heavy interest from breed enthusiasts around the world, the NBC Sports digital platforms offer an exclusive look at the walks and judging of every breed-winning canine.  The online video will include highlights from the TV special, behind-the-scenes photos and video, capturing all the backstage canine energy. It will be available on desktop, tablets and smart phones.  The two-hour special’s unique content is facilitated by the “benched” format of the event, one of only three remaining shows in which the dogs are on display all day for the public.

The show will feature two vignettes that highlight Purina’s new #dogthanking initiative to thank the four-legged friends who make our lives so special. Now through Nov. 27, Purina invites dog owners to log on to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tell the world why they are so thankful for their dog and how they thank their pooch.  For every original post that includes @Purina and #DogThanking, Purina will donate one dollar to the AKC Canine Health Foundation – up to $50,000– to help further pet health research.  Submitted videos, photos and posts may be shown during the National Dog Show broadcast.

Kooiker-huh? An intro to Westminster dog show’s new breeds

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NEW YORK (AP) Two new breeds. Sixteen new syllables.

The grand basset griffon Vendeen and the Nederlandse kooikerhondje make their debuts at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show next month, each getting a nationally televised turn among the more than 190 breeds on the purple carpet at the nation’s premier canine contest.

But Buzz Lightyear, for one, seems to be taking his breed’s big moment in stride. The 4-year-old grand basset griffon Vendeen (pronounced: grahnd bah-SAY’ grih-FAHN’ vahn-DAY’-ahn) glanced out Tuesday at the cameras at a Westminster-preview news conference, looked up at owner Brielly Cipriotti, and then lay down on rostrum to do a couple of the things his breed does best: sniff around and induce smiles.

“They’re extremely sweet, and they have a big, goofy attitude,” Cipriotti, of Bealeton, Virginia, said later. She’s excited about the exposure that the low-slung, long-eared, hardy French rabbit-hunting hound breed stands to gain from Westminster.

About 3,200 dogs, ranging from wee Malteses to strapping mastiffs, are entered to compete at next month’s show, which includes agility and obedience competitions along with the breed judging that leads to the signature Best in Show trophy. It will be awarded Feb. 12 at Madison Square Garden and live on FS1.

The relatively new agility and obedience contests are open to mixed-breed dogs.

Dobby, a corgi-terrier mix, is making his fourth try at the agility title. But even if he wins, it won’t be the most eventful thing that has happened at Westminster for owner Stefanie Kappus.

Her husband, Toby, proposed to her as she came out of the agility ring last year.

“He keeps saying, `What am I going to do to top that this year?”‘ joked Kappus, of Milford, New Jersey.

New breeds appear at Westminster after getting recognized by the American Kennel Club. The process takes years and includes setting standards and having hundreds of dogs spread around the country.

The merry, clever Nederlandse kooikerhondje (pronounced NAY’-dehr-lahn-seh KOY’-kehr-hahnd-jeh) was initially trained to help Dutch duck hunters by attracting the birds’ interest and then luring them into net-covered canals.

“It’s the Pied Piper of the dog world,” said owner Rod Beckstead, of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, as he showed off 2+-year-old Bandit on Tuesday.

The breed remains versatile and easy to teach to do dog sports and other things; some even serve as cadaver dogs, he said.

Westminster is regularly protested by animal-rights activists who deplore dog breeding as appearance-focused and detrimental to mixed-breed dogs that need homes. The club portrays the show as a tribute to all canines.

The Westminster Kennel Club show spans events on Feb. 9, 11 and 12, with parts broadcast on Fox Sports and Nat Geo WILD. A “Meet the Breeds” event, featuring both dogs and cats, unfolds alongside Westminster on Feb. 9.

Whippet wins Best in Show at the 2018 National Dog Show

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The Whippet has won Best in Show at the 2018 National Dog Show.

Whiskey the Whippet won the Hound Group first, and then beat the Doberman Pinscher for the top honor.

“I think [he’s] an outstanding example of what the ideal Whippet would look like,” Whiskey’s handler Justin Smithey said of the dog he raised himself. “This is our companion, our pet. He was born by my bed.”

The Doberman Pinscher won the Working Group, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever won the Sporting Group, the Wire Fox Terrier won the Terrier Group, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi won the Herding Group, the Lhasa Apso won the Non-Sporting Group and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel won the Toy Group.

Hear more from Smithey below: