National Dog Show ’21: new breed, live audience, special tribute


After having to reduce the number of canine participants and limit its audience to cardboard cutouts last year, “The National Dog Show” is back in full force – even going so far as to introduce a new breed, as well as an extended secondary. . spectacle. And the timing couldn’t be better as the holiday event marks its 20th year.

“It’s become a 20-year tradition of an incredibly successful family vacation,” said Jon Miller, creator of the National Dog Show and president of programming at NBC Sports Group. “We have become part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Families will get together and watch the show as a family with their dogs, or if they are interested in having a dog, this is a great place to watch and learn about all of these different breeds. A great thing about this show is that it shows all the different races, and you will learn more about each of them. “

Educating the public about dogs couldn’t come at a more important time, as the ASPCA has reported that 23 million homes have acquired a pet (many of which are dogs) during the COVID-19 pandemic and now that the world is reopening, these animals will have to adapt to being separated from their human counterparts for longer periods of time. This is something that “The National Dog Show” looked at in its comments from hosts David Frei and John O’Hurley, as well as Mary Carillo, who reports behind the scenes with managers.

“We have so many people who know the trade and know the races,” Miller says of the team.

The show, which counts Purina as a sponsor, also delves into the importance of discussing canine health and the importance of dogs to families during the pandemic, something they scratched the surface last year.

It was a feat that “The National Dog Show” could still continue in 2020 when families were barred from traveling to see each other. In order to produce the show safely, fewer breeders and trainers came by air, limiting canine competitors to around 600, more than two-thirds less than the usual 2,000 participants. The show made sure all managers and crew wore masks, but completely ignored the live audience. A calendar year later, while the pandemic is still ongoing, “The National Dog Show” has reached full capacity for its dogs, including an additional breed: the Biewer Terrier, which is part of the toy group, is introduced. this year, bringing the total number of breeds recognized in the show to 209.

“We let the Philadelphia Kennel Club dictate that stuff and they do it in conjunction with the American Kennel Club,” Miller said of adding a new breed, which has happened 50 times. over the 20-year history of the show. “Our job here is really to present and bring the dog show home; our goal is to entertain and educate.

The 2021 show once again hosted a live audience, but only at 75% capacity. (A few cutouts flipped over to fill the seats, Miller notes.) Miller says there have been nearly eight months of meetings between those responsible for environmental health and safety to work out the logistics as guidelines evolved. throughout the year. Ultimately, the rule was that everyone who entered space and therefore on set had to be vaccinated, from team members to the audience to manipulators. This meant that “The National Dog Show Jr.” could only feature children 12 years of age and older as junior drivers, due to age restrictions on the vaccine when preparing for the show.

“We want to do some more, but just because we know so much about COVID rules and stuff like that, we haven’t pushed the boundaries too much,” Miller said of the changes and additions around “The National Exposition. canine.

This year, “The National Dog Show” won’t just celebrate four-legged friends: the two-hour show will also feature a tribute to Paul Carson, one of the event’s founders. He passed away in June, which made it a “difficult event” for the rest of the team, including his wife Kathy, Miller said. “We’re going to take a moment on the show on Thanksgiving Day to recognize and honor him.”

In addition, Ronald McDonald House, which supports families with sick children, is back as a beneficiary of the event.

“As the National Dog Show evolves, we want Ronald McDonald House to grow with it,” said Susan Campbell, CEO of Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. “During COVID, we had to ensure the safety of our patients, which led to us putting many of our volunteer programs on hold. This fall only, we began to reintroduce our therapy dog ​​program. After just a few nights of returning therapy dogs with our families, we see the smiles on their faces. Being able to sit one-on-one with therapy dogs is invaluable. The therapy dog ​​program is so important and being able to align with “the national dog show reinforces that”.

“The National Dog Show” airs Nov. 25 at 12 p.m. in all time zones on NBC and airs simultaneously on Peacock. “The National Jr. Dog Show” premieres November 25 on Peacock.


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