Most of us know the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show– possibly through Christopher Guest’s 2000 mockumentary”Best of Show,” if nothing else. The competition has been running for 143 years, celebrating canine pedigree and showcasing the best of different breeds. Dogs compete in Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding categories, then one lucky dog is finally named Best in Show.
That’s all well and good if you like that stuff, but what about pooches and misfits? What about doggos who may be the best human companions but don’t have the shiniest coat or the greatest agility? Where is the celebration of them?
Enter the American Rescue Dog Show.
The American Rescue Dog Show celebrates the average adopted doggo. The show is hosted by Joe Tessitore and Rob Riggle, who totally lean into the heartfelt campiness of the idea. The three 2022 judges – Paula Abdul, Leslie Jordan and Yvette Nicole Brown – have all had their own rescue dogs.
Delicious categories include Best in Ears, Best in Snoring, Best in Wrinkles, and Best in Belly Rubs. There’s even a Best in Underbite category.
Check out these cuties:
The show’s creator and executive producer, Michael Levitt, has two rescue dogs himself, Trooper and Nelson, who serve as mascots for his production company. According to ABC7Levitt once took an entire year off to help the dogs find homes.
“As a rescuer, I save one dog at a time, which is amazing,” he told ABC7, “but as a producer, I knew there was so much more I could do to make an impact at the level national. That’s really how ‘The American Rescue Dog Show’ was born.”
And the show puts its money where its underbite is. Dogs who win one of seven “Best in” categories win $10,000 for their local animal welfare group. The ultimate winner, named “Best in Rescue”, receives an additional $100,000 to give away.
The show is perfect for family TV watching, and Levitt hopes it inspires more people to consider rescuing pets instead of getting them from breeders. Animal shelters across the country have pets waiting for people to give them a welcoming home, and seeing how adorable these doggos are makes it hard to resist.
The show aired on ABC in late May but can currently be found on Hulu.