(NBC) – The National Dog Show has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition over the past 19 years.
“It’s remarkable that we’re looking at year number 19,” says co-host John O’Hurley. “I normally kill shows much quicker than that.”
O’Hurley and analyst David Frei have seen the canine cavalcade captivate millions.
“Everybody loves to look at little doggie eyes, and when you’re playing around with the remote on Thanksgiving Day, and you see those little puppy eyes, you’ll stop and watch,” O’Hurley laughs.
This year, television is the only way doggie disciples can see the show, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We don’t have any spectators this year. We can’t allow any spectators in,” Frei says. “So we’re doing cut-outs like they do at all of the sporting events.”
That in-person ban extends to the hosts, who are working from home.
The dog handlers meanwhile, are masked up and prepping their pooches outdoors.
500 dogs, down from the normal 2,000, all champions of their breeds, will vie to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Thor as Best In Show.
Watch “The National Dog Show” Thanksgiving Day at noon on NBC4, right after “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”