Between the tryptophan and the myriad of televised special events, Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday for any lazy American. Hours of TV specials and fall-themed movies allow us to huddle around a screen and let the food settle in our stuffed tummies. But if you find yourself bored with Charlie Brown or you can’t seem to wake up early enough for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, consider your next best option: The National Dog Show.
Sponsored by Purina, The National Dog Show is set to return to NBC immediately after the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving Day. Now in it’s eleventh televised year, an estimated 20 million people will be watching. The show will start at noon and end at 2 PM, right before the football game, so no need for Dad to hog the TV. David Frei and Seinfeld’s John O’Hurley will host the event, bringing a more casual tone (apart from the proper Westminster Dog Show) to the highly-anticipated, dog-loving contest.
Besides “awwwwing” at cute and fluffy canines, the rules of the competition are a bit confusing. Generally, dogs enter through previous earned points from other American Kennel Club shows. They battle each other within their breeds, such an Irish Setter or Dachshund, and if they win they move on to the groups level. There are seven groups dogs can be assigned to based on their characteristics: Terrier, Toy, Working, Sporting, Hound, Non-Sporting, and Herding. Once the canine wins “Best in Group,” they compete for the ultimate “Best in Show” prize.
We know you are biting your nails and anxiously awaiting to find out the winner of this year’s show. Take a breath and relax. With the help of specialists at dogster.com, we’ve created a detailed lineup of the predicted victors for each category.
Terrier Group: Sky
Last year, out of more than 1500 dogs and 160 breeds, a Wire Fox Terrier won “Best in Show.” Her name was the beautiful and elegant Sky. With 100 followers on Twitter, Sky has no limit. The five-year-old’s keen expression and dense coat are prime qualities for a winning bitch. With determination, can might just take the title again. Keep an eye out for her.
Hound Group: Jewel
All the way from Washington D.C., this young bitch likes to chase squirrels, bounce on beds, and as reported by The New York Times loves the song “Whip My Hair” by Willow Smith. Meet Jewel, the shiny brown, black, and white American Foxhound. Jewel won the Hound Group last year and is expected to make a repeat win this year. Can she beat out Sky for “Best in Show?”
Working Group: Matisse
The same breed as our very own President’s canine, Bo, this Portuguese Water Dog was first at the Westminster Show. Some say her fro gets in her eyes, but with properly primped hairdo, Matisse, is likely to take the lead in the Working Group.
Sporting Group: Ginger
Her ears are floppy and her feet are fuzzy, yet this canine has one heck of a posture. It’s the Field Spaniel, Ginger. Hailing from Greenville, North Carolina, Ginger was last year’s favorite and, depending on whether or not she comes to the show, she might just take the lead tomorrow. Ginger proves that even the girls can play with the boys in the Sporting Group.
Toy Group: Sakura or Roger
Who doesn’t like a cute Legally-Blonde-hold-my-dog-in-my-purse type canine? Considered one of America’s favorite categories, the Toy Group appears to have fierce competition. Banana Joe the Affenpinscher retired after Westminster, so will take over? Perhaps Toy Poodle, Sakura can claim the role or the funny looking long-haired Pekingese named Roger.
Herding Group: Libby
Still unsure if this bitch will make an appearance, she is considered the number one Cardigan Welsh Corgi in the United States. With 20 Best in Shows, 7 Regional Specialty Best of Breed, and one of the first of her kind to achieve the Platinum Grand Champion Level, Libby means serious business. We can only hope to see her oddly shaped body and pointy ears at the Philadelphia competition.
Non-Sporting Group: Tezin or Honor
Standard Poodles are often the winner of this weird group. But if the Tibetan Spaniel, Tezin, can keep her head high and trout with pride, there’s a good chance of victory. There’s a lot of fluff on this dog and Tezin might beat out her rivalry against the equally puffed Bichon Frises named Honor. Can Honor live up to her name?
In the end, these worthy candidates along with other underdogs, will fight for the greatest award of them all: Best in Show. Will a dog from the Herding Group win or perhaps a bitch from the Toy Group? Will he have straight hair or curly hair? Brown or black fur? A long or a short snout? These are the type of vital questions roaming through the mind of the judges. That’s a lot pressure.
Many believe Sky, the Wire Fox Terrier, will come around for a second consecutive conquest. If so, this will be the first canine to take home two National Dog Show “Best in Show” prizes. Co-host, Frei, believes she has a shot since her handler, Gabriel Rangel, has lots of experience and can get the job done. You’ll have watch to find out.
So, grab your furry companion (stuffed animal or actual pet) and see a program that will have you cheering for your best friend.