While most people wake up Thanksgiving morning excited to turn on the Macy’s Day Parade, dog lovers everywhere were tuning in for the NBC special that airs right after—the National Dog Show, which takes place in Philadelphia.
In actuality, the competition judged by the American Kennel Club of Philadelphia—where 150 dogs competed for the title of Best in Show—took place a week before. Backstage, they showed the dogs getting primped and pampered for their big moment in the ring, where they were rated on the pep in their step and, of course, their hairdos.
For the handlers, owners, breeders, and dogs involved, dog shows are considered a sport, and this year the competition was stiff. After all of the dogs were shown, the biggest title of Best in Show was announced, where a Skye terrier named Charlie was crowned the winner.
The longhaired terrier showed off his silky locks and pranced around the stadium, replacing last year’s best in show, Nathan the bloodhound.
The holiday tradition is actually a lot more complicated than it appears. There is intricate judging that goes into the competition, similar to a beauty pageant. Here are five other things we learned after watching the National Dog Show:
1. There are seven groups represented at the National Dog Show.
Each of the 150 registered breeds competing in the show is assigned to a group based upon the functions that the dogs were originally bred for. The seven groups are the terrier group, toy group, sporting group, non-sporting group, working group, hound group, and herding group.
2. There are more than 180 AKC registered breeds and varieties of dog.
Everyone has their favorites, but the American Kennel Club has over 180 purebred breeds of dog registered.
3. Best in Show isn’t the only winner of the day.
While the Best in Show is the most prestigious title at the end of the day, there are also titles for Best in Group. The winners for Best in Group were as follows:
Terrier group: Skye terrier
Toy group: Smooth coat Chihuahua
Sporting group: Ascob Cocker Spaniel
Non-sporting group: French Bulldog
Working group: Newfoundland
Hound group: Scottish deerhound
Herding group: Bearded collie
4. There were seven new breeds added to the National Dog Show this year—an unprecedented amount.
This year some foreigners joined the group: the Lagotto Romagnolo, Berger Picard, Cirneco dell-Etna, Boerboel, Bergamasco and Miniature American Shepherd.
5. Fun Fact: According to the AKC, the French bulldog is the most popular dog in N.Y.C.
Known for being the pampered pets of celebrities like Lady Gaga and Chrissy Teigen, the French bulldog takes the reigning crown of not just Best in Group for the non-sporting group, but also as the most popular dog breed in New York City! While the tiny bulldog took home the title of the most popular canine city slicker in New York, the Lab was the most popular in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Francisco.