Which breed are you rooting for this year?
Hosts David Frei and John O'Hurley, with a bloodhound who is giving David a kiss
Credit: Bill McCay / NBCU Photo Bank / NBC / Getty

Family time is wonderful, the food is delicious, and the football might actually be watchable this year, but easily one of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the National Dog Show presented by Purina.

As usual, the two-hour broadcast will again grace your television screens at noon on NBC right after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Then it's time to cheer on your favorite breed and, eventually, grumble when the judge picks a different dog.

Here's all you need to know about how to watch the National Dog Show before Thanksgiving Day:

How Can I Watch the National Dog Show?

The show was held Saturday (Nov. 19) at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, but most of us have to wait until the show's Thanksgiving (Nov. 24) broadcast on NBC. That will start at noon in all time zones, and you'll hear the usual voices of commentators Mary Carillo, David Frei, and John O'Hurley.

Cord-cutters can stream the show via NBCsports.com, Peacock, or the NBC Sports app at noon eastern time, according to NBC Sports. The app is available on mobile phones and streaming devices from Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon, and you'll need login credentials from a television provider. (Same goes for the NBCsports.com.)

The show usually reaches about 20 million viewers each year.

How Are Dogs Judged in the National Dog Show?

For newcomers, the first thing you should know is the dogs only kinda-sorta compete against each other. It's actually a question of which dogs best adhere to their breeds' written standards, according to the judges. Here's the process:

  • Eligibility: The National Dog Show is an open show for all breeds as long as the dog is registered with the American Kennel Club. There are 200 registered AKC breeds with 12 additional varieties. (Some breeds, like beagles and cocker spaniels, are separated based on their size, coat color, or hair type.)  
  • Best of breed: The pups first gather in groups featuring all the dogs at the show of the same breed or variety of breed. The dog who's judged as a closest representation of the standards moves on to the group stage. (For example, the best golden retriever of the bunch moves on to the Sporting Group.)
  • First in Group: The breed winners move on to one of seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. Judges again evaluate the dogs on how best they match their breeds' standards. The dogs who win the groups move on to the Best in Show ring. (Click here to find your favorite breed's group.)  
  • Best in Show: The final showdown features the seven group winners, and the best of the best are again judged against their breed's standards. This year, Vicki Seiler-Cushman picks the Best in Show winner.

Are There Any New National Dog Show Breeds This Year?

The show will feature three new breeds this year: the Bracco Italiano, mudi, and Russian toy. Each of them earned AKC recognition earlier in 2022. Let's meet the new breeds:

  • Bracco Italiano: I'll give you one guess where this esteemed hunting dog comes from. The large Bracco is a hard worker who also loves his family, yet they're not as rambunctious as other hunting breeds. After earning its AKC recognition in July, you'll see the Bracco compete in the Sporting Group.
  • Mudi: Originating in Hungary, this sheepdog earned its AKC recognition back in January. Mudik are extremely smart and need jobs to do when they're not playing. So, yes, you'll find them competing in the Herding Group.
  • Russian toy: The AKC also recognized these little guys and gals in January. Russian toys were often owned by Russian aristocrats, but today they excel as some of the cuddliest lap dogs. They'll compete in the Toy Group.

Who Was the National Dog Show 2021 Winner?

Best in show winner: Claire the Scottish Deerhound, with her handler, Angela Lloyd
Credit: Steven Donahue / See Spot Run Photography

Claire the Scottish deerhound—for the second straight year. The graceful hound is part of an impressive line of show dogs, including her grandmother, Hickory, who won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2011.

Then 4 years old, Claire was the first-ever repeat winner in the National Dog Show's 20-year history, besting more than 1,500 other dogs. But there will be no three-peat. Claire has retired, so we'll see a new winner this year.

Who will that be? Heck if I know, but there is a way to wager on the show with your friends and family.

You can find out who wins this year on dailypaws.com come Thanksgiving.