How Many Dogs Compete in the 2023 National Dog Show? History, Winners & More

National Dog Show Hosted By The Kennel Club of Philadelphia
National Dog Show Hosted By The Kennel Club of Philadelphia / Mark Makela/GettyImages

Thanksgiving Day is packed with entertainment from start to finish, and I'm not just talking what happens after Uncle Johnny has too many beers. There's football on all afternoon stretching into the night and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning. The connecting bridge between those two marquee Thanksgiving traits is the National Dog Show.

What is the National Dog Show, you ask? An old American tradition that everybody loves, of course. The first National Dog Show was held in 1933 and there hasn't been a year missed since. Hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, the show takes place in Oaks, Pennsylvania at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. In 2002 NBC began to broadcast the show after the Macy's parade, to the delight of millions of Americans around the country. Per NBC, these are the rules for the competition:

In the first round of the National Dog Show, dogs of the same breed will compete against each other based on how the dog fits the breed standards. The winner, named “Best in Breed,” will represent their breed at the next level: the group. The American Kennel Club categorizes every breed into seven groups (sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding). At the group level, dogs are not judged against each other, but rather against how well they fit their breed standards. Each group winner, named “First in Breed,” will go on to compete in the final round for the coveted Best in Show.

This year's event should be tremendous, as always. But you're here to learn about the fine details.

How Many Dogs Compete in the National Dog Show?

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia recognizes 212 dog breeds or varieties who are permitted to participate in the show. While there is not a precise number out there for how many dogs will be in this year's show, the Kennel Club's official website brags that up to 2,000 dogs might participate. Even if that is not the precise number there are a whole lot of dogs vying for the top prize.

Which brings us to the most important part of all-- who's won in the past?

National Dog Show Winners

The NBC website has the winners listed for the last 20 years.

2022: Winston (French Bulldog)
2021: Claire (Scottish Deerhound)
2020: Claire (Scottish Deerhound)
2019: Thor (Bulldog)
2018: Whiskey (Whippet)
2017: Newton (Brussels Griffon)
2016: Gia (Greyhound)
2015: Charlie (Skye Terrier)
2014: Nathan (Bloodhound)
2013: Jewel (American Foxhound)
2012: Sky (Wire Fox Terrier)
2011: Eira (Wire Fox Terrier)
2010: Clooney (Irish Setter)
2009: Sadie (Scottish Terrier)
2008: Holly (Pointer)
2007: Swizzle (Australian Shepherd)
2006: Vikki (Toy Poodle)
2005: Rufus (Colored Bull Terrier)
2004: Gracie (Smooth Fox Terrier)
2003: Raisin (Doberman Pinscher)
2002: Miki (Standard Poodle)

Furthermore, in 2001, a Golden Retreiver named Gus took home the crown. However, the records for anything before that have been lost to time. Or are not recorded online. Same outcome either way.

Enjoy the show!