The History of the National Dog Show: A Thanksgiving Tradition

Updated On: Tuesday, November 7, 2023 09:52:45 AM America/Los_Angeles

Thanksgiving is a time when we gather with family and friends to celebrate gratitude and togetherness. It's a day filled with delicious feasts and traditions, and for dog lovers, one such tradition is tuning in to watch the National Dog Show. This beloved event has become an integral part of Thanksgiving Day for many, offering a glimpse into the rich history and heritage of our canine companions. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating history of the National Dog Show and explore why it has become a cherished Thanksgiving tradition.

Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel

A Canine Spectacle is Born

The story of the National Dog Show dates back to the late 19th century when a group of dog enthusiasts decided to create an event that would showcase the beauty and grace of purebred dogs. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia, founded in 1879, took the lead in organizing the first event in 1879, which was initially held in New York City. It was an instant success, drawing large crowds of dog enthusiasts and curious onlookers.

Move to Philadelphia

The National Dog Show eventually found its permanent home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since 1933, it has been hosted at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, and it has maintained this location for decades. The show's longevity and consistent venue have contributed to its status as a cherished Thanksgiving tradition.

Televised Excellence

The National Dog Show garnered even more attention and popularity when it began to be televised nationally. In 2002, the Kennel Club of Philadelphia entered into a partnership with NBC to broadcast the event on Thanksgiving Day, right after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This prime time slot gave the National Dog Show a broader audience and introduced millions of viewers to the world of purebred dogs.

Purebred Dogs in the Spotlight

One of the main attractions of the National Dog Show is the spotlight it shines on a diverse array of purebred dogs. Each year, the event features over 2,000 dogs from more than 190 breeds, all competing for the prestigious title of "Best in Show." The show allows dog enthusiasts and the general public to learn more about different breeds, their unique characteristics, and the hard work that goes into training and grooming these canine athletes.

Celebrating Tradition

The National Dog Show has remained largely unchanged in its format over the years, maintaining its focus on the integrity of breed standards and the beauty of purebred dogs. While dog shows have evolved, the National Dog Show has managed to strike a balance between tradition and modernity, making it an annual Thanksgiving spectacle that resonates with both seasoned dog show enthusiasts and newcomers to the world of dogs.

While the National Dog Show highlights the beauty and tradition of purebred dogs, it's also a great opportunity to learn about modern innovations in pet care. One such innovation is DoggieLawn, a revolutionary product that is changing the way dog owners think about their pets' indoor potty needs. DoggieLawn, an eco-friendly indoor dog potty solution, has gained popularity for its convenience and sustainability. It offers a natural feel, thanks to its real grass, and its unique design helps control odors, making it an excellent choice for pet owners who live in apartments or have busy lifestyles. DoggieLawn is not only convenient for pet parents but also environmentally friendly, as it's made from sustainable, natural materials and can be easily disposed of or composted. 


The National Dog Show, with its rich history and steadfast commitment to showcasing purebred dogs, has become an enduring Thanksgiving tradition. For many, it is a heartwarming and educational experience that brings families together to marvel at the beauty, grace, and diversity of our canine companions. So, this Thanksgiving, as you enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie, don't forget to tune in to the National Dog Show and be a part of this heartwarming tradition that celebrates the very best in our furry friends.