You don’t need Thanksgiving reminders to be thankful for pets, especially dogs. So it’s fitting approximately 20 million people across North American spent American Thanksgiving watching The National Dog Show on NBC, the T.V. airing of The Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s annual pure breed dog show held the week earlier – this time without a live audience and with three quarters fewer participants, thanks to you-know-what.
The English Spaniel won the Sporting Group and I took that as a sign – of what, I’m not certain – because my new dog, Victoria, has a Springer for a mom – albeit an American Springer Spaniel but still, I feel a special alliance with team-Springer (and team Cocker still because Victoria’s a Sprocker … big announcement up next on http://www.dogtrotting.net).
After winning his ‘group,’ Teddy the English Spaniel headed into the ‘Best in Show’ dog ring to compete with other group winners:
- Herding Group: Jimmy the miniature American Shepherd
- Hound Group: Claire the Scottish Deerhound
- Non-sporting Group: Kam the Standard Poodle
- Terrier Group: Vinny the Wire Fox Terrier
- Toy Group: Chester the Affenpinscher
- Working Group: Bowie the Portuguese Water Dog
It wasn’t to be for Teddy the Springer. The big winner of the night was Claire, the Scottish Deerhound, who took home The National Dog Show 2020 winning trophy. Next morning, Claire made her appearance on the Today Show before “heading back to the farm to be a dog,” according to her handler Angela Lloyd.
No surprise, Claire descends from winning lineage: her grandmother won 2011 Westminster Dog Show Best in Show and her mother was Reserve Best in Show at the 2015 National Dog Show.
Pedigreed, however, is not what most people watching are interested in – like me, most cheer on the dog that looks most like their own. The dog show, in all its seriousness, is good fun.
Here are some fun facts gleaned from The National Dog Show:
- Dalmatians are born completely white and develop their spots as they grow.
- The Pug was a popular dog among Chinese royalty centuries ago.
- Poodle puffs on legs once served a practical purpose: dense tuffs of fur kept joints warm while the dogs ran through swamps and rivers.
- The Komondor Dog with its dreadlock-like fur reminiscent of a car wash was bred specifically to blend in with the sheep it once guarded.
- Finally, a surprising number of show dogs are named after athletes. (I would have gone with literary characters). For instance, Kam the Non-sporting Group (ironically) winner is named after Kam Chancellor who played for the Seattle Seahawks from 2010 to 2018. I wonder what he thinks.
If you are interested in learning about breed standards, The American Kennel Club has you covered with an extensive guide available here (affiliate link). However, most pet parents just want to keep their non-pedigreed pooch is comfortable. The American Kennel Club has a lot of branded products to cover that too, including orthopedic dog beds like this one (affiliate link):