Friday, November 21, 2008

Get your yap on

Local couple to produce National Dog Show

Courtesy photo Westminster Kennel Club Dogue de Bordeaux.

Next Thursday, on Thanksgiving Day, while you're cooking or otherwise engaged, go to the dogs. No, really. At noon, head over to the boob-tube, flick it on to NBC (locally channel 7) if you're not already gazing at the Macy's parade and take a gander at some of the finest canines in the country.

The National Dog Show, hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, is sponsored by Purina and produced by Paul and Kathy Carson of Ketchum. Their company, Carson International, is the world's most prominent producer and packager of canine events for live audiences and television.

The American Kennel Club sanctions the annual competition. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia staged its first show in 1879 and has hosted the Philadelphia shows annually since 1933.

The TV talent again this year is host John O'Hurley and expert analyst David Frei, AKC-licensed judge and host of USA Network's "The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show."

The 8th annual, two-hour NBC special will also include coverage of the celebrity appearance of Uno the Beagle, winner of Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show; and a showing of the newest breed to compete, the dogue de Bordeaux, a large-sized mastiff that comes from France.

Uno made history last February in New York City as the first beagle ever to win Best in Show at Westminster. A beagle had not even represented the hound group for Best in Show competition since 1939. Uno, however, came to New York's Madison Square Garden in February with 32 Best in Show ribbons and turned in a dynamic performance to take top honors.

The Dogue de Bordeaux's name dates back to the first canine exhibition in 1863 at the Jardin d'Acclimation in Paris. These dogs were used as guardians, hunters and fighters.

The show will be held this year at the Greater Reading Expo Center in Reading, Pa., where some 1,600 dogs in 165 breeds will compete for $20,000 in prize money and for Breed, Group and Best in Show honors.

"During the breaks between classes there will be Frisbee and agility classes," Kathy Carson said. "It's really a canine-driven athletic show and has really gotten to be a Thanksgiving tradition. The No. 2 and No. 3 dogs in the county will be competing."

A trainer from the Purina Incredible Dog Team will perform as well.

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