If watching the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day is a highlight of the holiday for you, then there’s another exciting opportunity coming up, like, now. The AKC National Championship Dog Show presented by Royal Canin is around the corner, just in time to enjoy a day resting after a late New Year’s Eve. So, here’s how to watch the adorable dog show on New Year’s Day from the comfort of your couch.
The four-hour event will be broadcast on Animal Planet starting at 6 p.m. ET/PT, according to the network. The show is the largest in the nation, featuring thousands of dogs competing in categories like obedience, agility and even dock diving. Not all of those thousands will make it on to your TV screen though, the shows chooses highlights from each of the competitive categories for the broadcast, according to Animal Planet.
According to Pet Age, an encore presentation of the show will air two hours following the first airings conclusion — so at midnight ET/PT. The event will also be available on the Animal Planet GO app.
The competition is high-stakes with more than $150,000 in prize money for the dogs who put in the best performance, according to Animal Planet. Last year it was hosted by actor Jerry O’Connell, according to People, but this year the organizers are going in a slightly different direction.
This year, they’re bringing in a variety of hosts to “captain their respective #TeamDog groups and rally dog owners to share which team they’re on and who they think will take top honors at this year’s AKC National Championship," as the network explained.
The hosting line-up includes Mario Lopez, actress and host Mackenzie Westmore, country singer Brett Young, Olympian Shawn Johnson, TV host Cameron Mathison, actor Kellan Lutz, and pro football star Marcus Allen. Each celebrity will be joined by a canine companion and will encourage viewers to chime in with their own opinion on who they think will take home the big prize.
Gina Dinardo with the American Kennel Club told Las Vegas' News 3 that the competition begins with 9,000 entrants which are whittled down to the 5,000 that appear in the final show, called “conformation.” The term comes from the idea of being an “act of conforming or producing conformity” since dogs are measured by how closely they conform to breed standards, according to the AKC website. Dinardo noted that watching the event is not only a great way to spend some time relaxing on New Year’s Day, but it’s also a great opportunity to learn about some of the 192 breeds recognized by the AKC.
Jason Taylor, the assistant show manager told the news station: “It’s not very often that you can stand someplace and see 50 Saint Bernards in one place…it’s a place where you get to see them do things you didn’t know they could do. It’s just kind of a mecca of dogdom.”
If that’s the case, then this is one pilgrimage I’m certainly willing to make, all the way to my TV to watch these beautiful breeds strut their stuff. Don’t miss all the fun Jan. 1 on Animal Planet.
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