Thanksgiving is a couch lover’s dream. There’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football duels, heartwarming Christmas displays and of course the National Dog Show.

This year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) approved three new breeds to compete in the National Dog Show: the Bracco Italiano, the Russian Toy, and the Mudi.

David Frei, National Dog Show host and analyst for over 20 years, explains why these three breeds were chosen to compete this year: “They are finally being recognized by the AKC to compete in conformation dog shows because they are have done enough of them in this country. They’re spread out geographically and have a Parents’ Association watching over them.”

Dogs of the Bracco Italiano breed.

/ Friends of the National Dog Show

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Friends of the National Dog Show

Dogs of the Bracco Italiano breed.

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia hosted the first National Dog Show in 1879 and has hosted the event annually since 1933. The show aired on national television in 2002, shortly after the release of the Christopher Guest film best on show. Today, around 20 million people in the USA tune in every year.

Stephanie Farr, author for The Philadelphia investigatorsays the event is a hidden gem for Philadelphia locals.

“I’ve been in the Philly area for about 15 years now and didn’t know I could go to the National Dog Show in person,” says Farr. “And you can walk around the National Dog Show. It is one of only three bench dog shows in the country. And this year it is the only one.”

In a bench show, dogs must be present on the floor even if they are not actively competing. This allows the audience to interact with them. Upon entry, guests are given a floor plan map so they can navigate the designated areas for each breed of dog.

A Mudi dog.

/ Friends of the National Dog Show

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Friends of the National Dog Show

A Mudi dog.

The audience is encouraged to engage with the dogs and their owners. Frei says it’s the perfect time to get acquainted with a new breed and to ask questions about grooming.

“Because the purpose of a dog show is really to educate the audience,” says Frei. “And maybe people can learn about a dog that fits their lifestyle and is right for their family.”

The National Dog Show is held the weekend before Thanksgiving every year. This year’s show was filmed over the past weekend and will be broadcast locally on Thanksgiving Day at 12:00 p.m. in all time zones.

Audio for this story was produced by Paige Waterhouse and Lisa Weiner.

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