The “National Dog Show Presented by Purina®” will introduce two new breeds – The Russell Terrier and The Treeing Walker Coonhound – to the American public on Thanksgiving Day, when the annual holiday special airs on NBC following the Macy’s Parade.
The two new additions to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Registry will make their major event debut as they compete for the title “Best In Show” among over 160 AKC-sanctioned breeds and almost 2,000 dogs at the Kennel Club of Philadelphia-hosted show. NBC will include the newcomers in the two-hour celebration of the canine, airing from noon-2 p.m. in all time zones. A total audience of some 20 million viewers will tune in before football takes over the day.
The 2012 additions bring to 28 the number of new breeds added by the AKC over the past decade, since the first National Dog Show aired on NBC in 2002. The Treeing Walker Coonhound is the fourth Coonhound entry in the last three years. The Russell Terrier shares many common characteristics of the Parson Russell Terrier but has shorter legs. The breed had been known previously as the Jack Russell Terrier. The total number of breeds and varieties is now 187.
“These are two wonderful additions to our Thanksgiving Day line-up,” said David Frei, the expert analyst on the NBC broadcast and America’s foremost authority on all things canine. “Both will bring plenty of energy into the showring, where all the fun happens.”
The following is a description of each new breed:
- Officially inducted into the American Kennel Club registry as the 175th breed, the Russell Terrier is a strong, hardy, intelligent earth-working Terrier. He is full of life and moves with confidence that matches his keen expression. The breed's handy size, small flexible chest, nose, strong voice and fearless nature make it an excellent specimen to work vermin below ground. Its weatherproof coat may be smooth, broken or rough and is predominantly white with tan and/or black markings.
According to the AKC, the Russell Terrier originated in England and was developed in Australia. The breed was primarily utilized as vermin-hunters (as most terriers are). Today, the Russell Terrier makes a great pet for an active family, as this type of dog does best when it is constantly engaged. The Russell Terrier competes in the Terrier Group.
- The Treeing Walker Coonhound, or otherwise called "the people's choice" of the coonhound breeds, is perfectly suited for the task for which it was bred - tracking and treeing wild raccoons. The breed's competitive spirit makes it an ideal choice for competitive coonhound events. The breed's coat is short and glossy, yet dense enough for protection. The ideal coat should be tri-colored - white, black and tan. White may be the predominant color with black marking and tan trim; or black may be the predominant color with white marking and tan trim, such as a saddle back or blanket back. The Treeing Walker Coonhound was developed from the Walker Foxhound, which evolved from the Virginia Hounds that descended from the earliest English Foxhounds brought to America. Originally classified as an English Coonhound, its breeders broke away from the English version in 1945 and bred to retain the qualities they desired. The Treeing Walker Coonhound is a fast, sensible hunter that locates its quarry quickly and has superb endurance and treeing ability. The Treeing Walker Coonhound competes in the Hound Group.
The National Dog Show debuted in 2002 as one of the years most successful television specials, prompting NBC and sponsor Nestlé Purina PetCare to commit long-term to the Thanksgiving Day time slot following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A huge ratings success over the past 10 years with a total annual audience approaching 20 million, it is by far the most widely viewed single telecast of a dog show in television history.