- The National Dog Show Presented By Purina airs on NBC after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every Thanksgiving.
- Behind-the-scenes photos show the dogs being groomed and primped in between affectionate moments with their handlers.
- Photos also show how the production comes together, from cue card holders to trophy polishers.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Now in its 18th year, the National Dog Show is a beloved Thanksgiving tradition watched by 20 million people. It follows the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast on NBC.
This year, 2,000 dogs of 200 different breeds competed for the coveted Best in Show title. The winner, a bulldog named Thor, took the top spot with his “outstanding overall attitude.”
But there are adorable moments that you didn’t see on the air. Here are 20 behind-the-scenes photos from the National Dog Show.
Before they appear on camera and are evaluated by judges, the dogs are groomed to perfection.
Their coats are carefully combed and fluffed.
Grooming kits also make great pillows.
This standard poodle was snoozing on set.
Some of the smaller dogs wear blankets to keep warm.
An Italian greyhound wore a patterned blanket backstage.
It can get pretty cold back there.
The Pembroke Welsh corgi’s fan club made sure there was no shortage of ear scratches.
Cuddling up to their owners also works in a pinch.
The dogs have some downtime when they’re not on stage.
Handlers also sneak in naps when they can.
Handling prize-winning dogs is hard work.
The dogs and handlers share a special bond.
This was the Azawakh dog breed’s first year in the National Dog Show.
It takes a lot of work and training to make it to the National Dog Show.
Getting to the National Dog Show often requires instructional classes and practice shows.
Handlers keep dog treats in their pockets to reward stellar performances …
Brussels griffon dogs are known for being devoted and intelligent.
… and reward the hardworking pups with their favourite toys.
Zipadee, a 3-year-old golden retriever, loves her frog toy.
Backstage, the dogs can let loose.
Glen-Ellis, a 3-year-old Italian greyhound, was very excited to be there.
The dogs also have a chance to practice their stunts.
There’s a separate competition for dogs who perform tricks,The Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge.
It’s hard to resist a table piled with delicious bones, but these dogs are professionals.
This Bernese mountain dog gazed wistfully at a table of bones backstage.
The National Dog Show broadcast is hosted by actor John O’Hurley.
This was his 12th year hosting the show.
When he’s not on TV, he visits the dogs backstage.
A long-haired dachshund gave the host a sloppy kiss.
The show is broadcast live, with cue cards helping O’Hurley with his hosting duties.
“Dogs always seem to be there for us,” O’Hurley said to introduce a segment.
With 20 million people watching, everything has to go smoothly.
Members of production staff watch the video feed to make sure everything looks right.
Dogs are the stars of the show, but even they don’t get all-access passes.
There are no dogs allowed in the bathroom at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Centre at Oaks in Pennsylvania, where the competition is held.
Trophy polishers make sure the Best in Show award is ready to go.
The trophy also comes with a $US20,000 prize.
A bulldog named Thor won the Best in Show prize this year.
He beat out 2,000 other dogs to win the prestigious title.
- Read more:
- Thor the bulky bulldog wins National Dog Show ‘because of his outstanding overall attitude’
- 25 new dog breeds recognised by the American Kennel Club in the past 20 years
- 18 hilarious photos of dogs taken at the perfect time
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.