Sep 28, 2022 - Things to Do

In Philly, every dog has its day

Analysts David Frei holding a Russian Toy dog, Mary Carillo with a Biewer Terrier and John O’Hurley holding another Russian Toy.

Analysts David Frei holding a Russian Toy dog, Mary Carillo with a Biewer Terrier and John O'Hurley holding another Russian Toy. Photo courtesy of Vizion Group PR

It's like the Super Bowl of dog shows.

Every year, about 20 million people tune in to watch "The National Dog Show." This year's show takes place at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on Nov. 19 and 20, with about 2,000 dogs from more than 200 breeds competing for best in show.

Driving the news: This year, AKC is adding three new dogs to its roster of recognized breeds.

  • They include the Mudi, Russian Toy and Bracco Italiano, longtime analyst David Frei, who's presided over thousands of dog shows over decades, told Axios.

What they're saying: Frei — once described as "the face of dogs, with a voice as gentle as a Saint Bernard" — said that terriers have tended to dominate the field in recent years, while newer breeds usually face long odds of winning.

  • "It's a tough road for them," Frei said. "It's kind of a judge-controlled event. It's tough for the new breeds because they haven't had the exposure yet, and there's nothing to compare them to. It's always an uphill battle."

Flashback: Last year's best in show winner was a Scottish Deerhound named Claire, according to the Pioneer Woman.

Breaking down the breeds: The Bracco Italiano is an ancient Italian bird-hunting dog that became the 200th member to be added to AKC’s roster earlier this year, the Associated Press reported.

  • Lean with a well-sculpted head, it's sometimes called the Italian pointing dog and traces its roots to Europe.
  • It wasn't brought to the U.S. until the 1990s, and Frei said it looks like a "basset hound with legs and a sort of jolly look to their face."

The Russian Toy is a small and elegant dog, with long legs, fine bones and a lean, muscular frame. They're intelligent and eager to please owners but can be "slightly aloof to strangers."

  • Frei called them the "go with you anywhere dog."

The Mudi, pronounced "moody," is a Hungarian farm dog known for being versatile, agile and courageous.

  • They're able to rustle up the "most stubborn livestock" without being overly aggressive.

The bottom line: Frei's advice for hardcore fans and newcomers is always the same as his sign-off from every dog show: "The real best in show is the dog you have on the couch next to you. Hug your dog."

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