Friday, October 25 2019 1:25

The National Dog Show Presented by Purina

Written by Mercedes Thomas

This Thanksgiving tradition for many families has its origin a lot closer than you may think.


Did you notice the familiar duo on the cover of this issue? It’s John O’Hurley, a Seinfeld star and Dancing with the Stars winner, and David Frei, one of the most authoritative voices in the dog show world. And let’s not leave out the adorable Australian Terrier, Banjo.

For me, watching O’Hurley and Frei is just as much a part of Thanksgiving Day as feasting on my grandma’s homemade mashed potatoes and stuffing. These men—along with Hall of Fame sportscaster Mary Carillo—host the annual Dog Show that’s broadcast between noon and 2 p.m., right after another Thanksgiving Day tradition, the Macy’s Day Parade.

And every year after watching the parade together, more members of our dog-loving family gather in the living room to watch the dog show and root for our favorites.

But did you know that the National Dog Show is actually filmed days beforehand, and right in our own backyard?

This year the show takes place two weekends before Thanksgiving, on November 16–17, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, the site for the past 19 years.

One of several things that makes this event special is that it’s one of only three “benched” shows in the U.S.—meaning participating pups have designated spaces backstage so the public can meet them. You can get up-close and personal with your furry favorites for some kisses and selfies.

But the two-day Dog Show isn’t the only pup-tastic event in our area to look forward to during November, National Dog Show Month.

Kick off the month at the National Dog Show Artwork Exhibit on November 9 at Willow Street Pictures, 2212 Penn Ave., West Lawn. The exhibit features fine art portraits of pups in all their glory with siblings, caregivers and celebrities as supporting players.

Or see the production of The Perfect Dog Children’s Musical at the Footlighters Theater at 58 Main Ave., Berwyn. This fun performance is adapted from the book of the same name by John O’Hurley. Come on the 14th for opening night when O’Hurley will make a special appearance, answer questions and sign autographs after the show.

Then dress your best for the November 15 National Dog Show Gala, featuring a red carpet cocktail hour, open bar, four-course gourmet dinner and live comedy entertainment by Buzz Sutherland. The gala is held at the Valley Forge Casino in King of Prussia and benefits The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and the Philadoptables (Philadelphia shelter animals).

And of course there’s the main event, The National Dog Show Presented by Purina on the 16th and 17th, a time-honored tradition since 1933. This year the show welcomes more than 2,000 dogs from over 190 breeds to compete for Best of Breed, First in Group and the coveted title of Best in Show.

Come out to meet the dogs, see athletic dog exhibitions, join family-friendly activities and hands-on fun, and browse dozens of vendors for goods like artwork and crafts, dog treats and accessories, and home goods and services. The show benefits the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s favored charities.

Join the celebrations of our furry four-legged friends!


If You Go

Where: Greater Phila. Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks

When: November 16–17 (Rebroadcast: Nov. 28, 12 to 2 pm)

Tickets: $7–$16


Tagged under: dog show, dogs