Viewers celebrate Thanksgiving with the 'National Dog Show' 2009
Millions of Americans will devour their Thanksgiving Day turkey with a side of parade, pigskin -- and pooches.
More than 1,600 purebred dogs, representing at least 160 breeds, competed in "The National Dog Show Presented by Purina," shown in a two-hour NBC broadcast between the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and football.
The favorite going into the competition was Sadie, a Scottish terrier and America's top-ranked show dog. And while the winner was decided Nov. 14, the show can be full of surprises -- even for co-hosts "Seinfeld" star John O'Hurley and veteran judge David Frei.
"I always like to tell the story of the day David and I were sitting there at the NBC booth and the Great Dane walked by and he christened the rug right in front of us," O'Hurley said in a conference call. "They're just dogs being dogs, but that was a big surprise, and I mean big."
In addition to showing off for nearly 20 million television viewers, the winning dog will get $6,000 in prize money. There will be three new American Kennel Club breeds introduced this year -- the Irish red and white setter, Norwegian buhund and Pyrenean shepherd, Frei said.
And what day better for it than Thanksgiving. Calling it a brilliant piece of television programming, O'Hurley said: "It is the perfect event because it serves so many audiences on a day where so many audiences need to be served with one program."
-- Associated Press
Photo: A Doberman known as C.J. competes in the "National Dog Show." Credit: Tim Shaffer / Reuters