When to Watch the Canine Competition. Dog Show Times on Thanksgiving 2023


The National Dog Show is one of the most popular dog shows in the United States. Hosted annually by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, it takes place every Thanksgiving Day after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The National Dog Show first aired on NBC in 2002 and has since become a beloved tradition for many families across America. Over 20 million viewers tune in each year to watch handlers showcase dogs from over 190 AKC registered breeds and varieties. With its national spotlight and prestige, the National Dog Show has cemented its status as a major dog show event in the U.S.

What is the National Dog Show?

The National Dog Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious dog shows in the United States. First held in 1933 by The Kennel Club of Philadelphia, it was originally known as the Kennel Club of Philadelphia Dog Show. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia is the oldest National American Kennel Club member club, and has held dog shows since 1879 [1].

The National Dog Show quickly grew in popularity and prestige. By 1942, the show attracted over 15,000 spectators and 1,200 dogs. It has been held annually since 1933, except for a four-year hiatus during World War II. The show was previously hosted at venues like the Civic Center and the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, before moving to its current location at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania in 2005.

The main purpose of the National Dog Show is to evaluate breeding stock and confer championship points and titles. Dogs are judged based on how closely they conform to their established breed standards. The show features over 190 AKC registered breeds and varieties, including many rare breeds. It showcases dogs from all 50 states and attracts top breeders and handlers.

dogs competing at the national dog show

When is the 2023 National Dog Show?

The 2023 National Dog Show will take place on Thursday, November 23rd. This annual event occurs each year on Thanksgiving Day after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ends (source).

On TV, NBC’s national broadcast of the 2023 National Dog Show will begin at 12 p.m. local time in all U.S. time zones. Viewers can also stream the dog show live on Peacock at the same time as the TV broadcast (source). The show typically runs for 2 hours, concluding around 2 p.m. local time.

So in summary, the 2023 National Dog Show will take place on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd, starting at 12 p.m. local time on NBC and Peacock.

TV Broadcast Information

The National Dog Show is broadcast on NBC and NBC Sports Network immediately following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year. In 2023, the show will air from 12-2 pm ET on Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd, on NBC.

Viewers can live stream the National Dog Show on Peacock, the NBC Sports app, or NBCSports.com at 12 pm ET.

watching the national dog show on a tv

The NBC broadcast team features long-time co-hosts John O’Hurley and David Frei, who provide commentary during the competition. NBC Sports broadcaster Mary Carillo also joins as a contributor and analyst.

Venue and Location

The National Dog Show is held annually at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania. The Expo Center offers over 400,000 square feet of flexible exhibit space and is conveniently located in suburban Philadelphia, easily accessible from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-76, and Route 422 (Lodging & Schedule – The National Dog Show). The event takes place in Halls A-G.

The Expo Center’s address is 100 Station Avenue in Oaks, PA. It provides a spacious venue for the benched dog show with wide aisles and the ability to host an audience of thousands of spectators. Dogs and their handlers can spread out in the expansive indoor space.

The picturesque suburban Philadelphia location has hosted the National Dog Show since its inaugural event in 1933. Its consistent location has allowed it to become a Thanksgiving tradition for many local families and dog show enthusiasts.

Judging and Groups

The National Dog Show divides dogs into seven different groups for judging and organizational purposes: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. These groups reflect the original functional roles that dogs played in service to humans (National Dog Show). Within each group, dogs are further divided into breeds based on physical and behavioral traits.

During judging at the National Dog Show, each dog competes against others of the same breed to select the best representative of that breed. The best in each breed then goes on to compete against the other breeds within their group for Best in Group. The group winners from each of the seven groups finally compete for the prestigious Best in Show title.

The Terrier Group tends to perform well, having claimed Best in Show 47 out of the 106 times it has been awarded. Terriers were originally bred to hunt vermin and have feisty personalities. The Sporting and Working Groups have each claimed Best in Show on 18 occasions (NBC Sports). Understanding the groups provides insight into the diverse traits and purposes of the over 200 breeds judged at this renowned event.

Best in Show

The coveted Best in Show prize at the National Dog Show is awarded to the dog judged to be the finest purebred canine on display at the event. To be eligible for Best in Show, a dog must first win First Place in one of the seven breed groups – Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. The group winners are then judged against each other to select the Best in Show winner.

The Best in Show competition occurs near the end of the show, after all group judging has concluded. The seven Group First Place winners enter the show ring one at a time, allowing the judge to compare each dog and assess how closely they conform to their breed’s ideal standards, as outlined by the American Kennel Club. The judge considers each dog’s gait, structure, temperament, coat, and more. After examination, the judge awards Best in Show to the dog determined to be closest to its breed’s ideal.

Winning Best in Show is the highest honor awarded at the National Dog Show. The winner becomes America’s “National Champion” dog for the next year. It represents the country’s top example of its breed. While the title is largely symbolic, it greatly increases a dog’s value as a show dog or sire.

Popular Breeds

Certain dog breeds tend to dominate the Best in Show winners circle at major dog shows like the National Dog Show. According to Breeds with the Most Wins at the Westminster Dog Show, the top winning breeds are:

    a wire fox terrier competing in the show ring

  • Terriers – With 48 Best in Show wins, terriers are the most successful group. Specific terrier breeds like Wire Fox Terriers, Scottish Terriers, and Airedale Terriers have the most wins.
  • Sporting – Spaniels like English Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels have earned 13 Best in Show titles at Westminster.
  • Toy – Poodles lead this group with 10 Best in Show wins. Pekingese and Pomeranians have also won multiple times.
  • Working – Great Danes, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers and Siberian Huskies have all won Best in Show.
  • Herding – Collies, German Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs and Pembroke Welsh Corgis have been successful in this group.
  • Hound – Greyhounds, Whippets, Beagles and Afghan Hounds are some of the winning hound breeds.

While many breeds have won Best in Show, terriers and sporting dogs tend to be the most dominant based on their Westminster records over the years according to Dog Breeds with the Most Westminster Dog Show Wins.


The Westminster Dog Show has faced its fair share of controversies over the years. Animal rights organizations like PETA have criticized the practices of dog breeding and showing, claiming that dogs are treated like “show objects” and suffer from health and behavioral issues due to selective breeding. There have also been instances of dogs at Westminster being sickened or dying under mysterious circumstances, like in 1895 when eight dogs died of unknown causes. More recently in 2013, a competitor’s 3-year-old Samoyed named Cruz died on the eve of the show after being left with a handler, sparking accusations of negligence.

One of the biggest scandals came in 2018 when a competitor was found to have secretly given performance-enhancing drugs to her prize-winning whippets. She was stripped of her awards and banned from future Westminster shows. Beyond individual incidents, many animal welfare advocates argue that the intensive grooming, travel, crowding, and judging at dog shows is stressful and potentially harmful to dogs. However, the Westminster Kennel Club maintains that dogs’ welfare is their top priority.

According to Insider, other controversies have included protestors from PETA storming the dog show stage and being arrested in 2010 and 2012 to demonstrate against breeding practices. There have also been calls to ban certain breeds with health issues like pugs and bulldogs from competing.

peta protestors with signs outside dog show

Impact and Popularity

The National Dog Show has become a beloved Thanksgiving Day tradition for many Americans. Though it has aired on NBC since 2002, the National Dog Show itself has been held annually by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia since 1929.

Part of the reason the dog show has reached such popularity is its Thanksgiving Day time slot. Airing from 12-2 PM EST on NBC right after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the National Dog Show provides family-friendly entertainment during a holiday marked by food, football, and quality time with loved ones [1]. Many find it the perfect programming to have on in the background as they cook Thanksgiving dinner and relax during the holiday.

The National Dog Show consistently draws strong viewership in this time slot. In 2015, the show drew over 20 million viewers for the third year in a row on Thanksgiving Day [1]. In 2021, it earned 8.4 million viewers just on Thanksgiving Day, making it the 2nd most watched program on TV that day behind only the NFL football game [2]. Overall, the 2021 National Dog Show had over 20 million total viewers across its various airings over Thanksgiving weekend.

Scroll to Top