History and tradition abound throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding area, and that includes the region being a presenter of major dog shows since 1876. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia and its prior clubs have been presenting dog events since 1879 and every year since 1933, making it a Founding Father of sorts — or should that be Founding Barker? A big part of the club’s National Dog Show, which has been a TV favorite nationwide on Thanksgiving since 2002, is the charitable component that benefits various canine-related organizations.
Among this year’s recipients of Kennel Club of Philadelphia support are AKC Reunite, the nation’s largest nonprofit pet recovery service; Take The Lead, a provider of services for people in the sport of purebred dogs whwww.akcreunite.orgo experience life-threatening or terminal illness; and AKC Canine Health Foundation, which funds canine health research. Each organization has received $100,000 in 2019.
“We have been truly blessed since 2002 to have two wonderful partners, Purina and NBC,” said Wayne Ferguson, president of the Kennel Cub of Philadelphia. “That partnership has allowed us to stage a great dog show each year and to produce it on television as ‘The National Dog Show Presented by Purina’ on NBC on Thanksgiving Day. Our partners and our club members have worked very hard to make this partnership a great success, and it is because of all of them that we are now able to give back something significant to three great organizations that are a huge part of our world.”
The 2019 National Dog Show, which is sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, is set for November 16 and 17 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania (near Valley Forge National Historical Park). Along with Westminster Kennel Club and Golden Gate Kennel Club, the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show is a “benched” competition, which means that during the day, the public can view and visit the 205 AKC-recognized breeds and varieties that are competing. The hosts for the November 16 competition will be John O’Hurley, Mary Carillo and David Frei, and NBC will air the show following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Registered breeds and varieties are assigned to one of seven groups representing functions and characteristics for which the breeds were originally bred. The winners from the Sporting Group, Hound Group, Working Group, Terrier Group, Toy Group, Non-Sporting Group and Herding Group contend for the Best in Show honor.
Last year’s Best in Show champion was Whiskey the Whippet. “I think [he’s] an outstanding example of what the ideal Whippet would look like,” handler and co-owner Justin Smithey said to co-host Carillo.
To purchase tickets to the National Dog Show, click here.
Photos by Steve Donahue