Photo essay: Spectators return to the 2021 National Dog Show

Roxanne and Jessy Sutton are a local family of breeders, owners and handlers, who’ve been competing together in dog shows since they were married 14 years ago. With them competing in the 2021 National Dog Show are (from left) Japanese Chin, JC, Norfolk Terrier Tyler, Rottweiler Emmett, Australian Cattle Dog Tootsie, and Dalmatian Blaze. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Roxanne and Jessy Sutton are a local family of breeders, owners and handlers, who’ve been competing together in dog shows since they were married 14 years ago. With them competing in the 2021 National Dog Show are (from left) Japanese Chin, JC, Norfolk Terrier Tyler, Rottweiler Emmett, Australian Cattle Dog Tootsie, and Dalmatian Blaze. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

“Make an ‘R’ rolling sound to get the dogs to look at you,” National Dog Show handlers told the camera-wielding press at the preview of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show Tuesday morning. 15,000 dogs of 188 breeds, from 5 countries will compete for “Best of Show,” on Saturday, November 20, and Sunday, November 21 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. 

The event was completely virtual for fans in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but guests are invited to attend in-person this year, with proof of vaccination. NBC10 will air a two-hour special of the competition on Thanksgiving, November 25. The ranks are thinned as the dogs are judged on temperament, appearance, and structure to win a “Best in Breed” title. The winners go on to “First in Group,” competitions in Sporting, Non-Sporting, Hound, Working, Toy, and Herding competitions to compete for the “Best of Show” title.

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Rain, competing in the toy category, is one of the competitors in the 2021 National Dog Show, is an example of this year’s American Kennel Club’s introductory breed, a Biewer Terrier. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Rain, competing in the toy category, is one of the competitors in the 2021 National Dog Show, is an example of this year’s American Kennel Club’s introductory breed, a Biewer Terrier. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
New Yorker Whitney Aronson is a first time competitor in the 2021 National Dog Show with her Biewer Terrier, OnY. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
New Yorker Whitney Aronson is a first time competitor in the 2021 National Dog Show with her Biewer Terrier, OnY. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
 Alice Hoersch and Dyson, a retired AKC champion turned therapy dog, were on hand at the preview of the 2021 National Dog Show represent the NDS Therapy Dog Ambassador Team. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Alice Hoersch and Dyson, a retired AKC champion turned therapy dog, were on hand at the preview of the 2021 National Dog Show represent the NDS Therapy Dog Ambassador Team. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Adrianne Dering, a dog breeder and handler, gets kisses from her 6 month-old Colton De Tullier puppy, Buff, at the preview of the 2021 National Dog Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Adrianne Dering, a dog breeder and handler, gets kisses from her 6 month-old Colton De Tullier puppy, Buff, at the preview of the 2021 National Dog Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The American Kennel Club’s Biewer (pronounced “beaver”) Terrier will be making a first time appearance at the NDS. The tri-colored terrier, an excellent hunter and hearty toy breed, is said to be a light-hearted and happy breed. Three Biewer Terriers were introduced to the press, each sporting a fancy bow on their top-knot.

Also new to the NDS, owner/handler Whitney Aronson said she grew up watching the broadcast on Thanksgiving. She and her Biewer OnY traveled from New York to compete. Aronson said she feels the training and shows create a bond between pet and owner, and a bond between passionate dog-lovers who compete and attend shows.

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Rottweiler Emmett, a working dog competitor, gets playful with Tootise, an Austrian Cattle dog, who will be competing in the herding category at the 2021 National Dog Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Rottweiler Emmett, a working dog competitor, gets playful with Tootise, an Austrian Cattle dog, who will be competing in the herding category at the 2021 National Dog Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Adrianne Dering holds Biewer Terriers CC and Rain (left), and Whitney Aronson holds OnY at the preview of the 2021 National Dog Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Adrianne Dering holds Biewer Terriers CC and Rain (left), and Whitney Aronson holds OnY at the preview of the 2021 National Dog Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Tyler, a much beloved Norfolk Terrier, will compete in the 2021 National Dog Show with his owner/handlers, Roxanne and Jessy Sutton. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Tyler, a much beloved Norfolk Terrier, will compete in the 2021 National Dog Show with his owner/handlers, Roxanne and Jessy Sutton. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Veteran handler/owner Adrianne Dering brought her two Biewer Terriers, CC and Rain, from her home in West Virginia, as well as 6-month-old Buff, a Coton de Tuléar puppy. The Coton is a non-sporting breed introduced in 2014, known for its massive, cottony, coat. Buff offered kisses to Dering and anyone who stretched out their hand to him.

Another long-time participant, local Roxanne Sutton, listed the prep ahead of competitive dog owners this week: bathing, grooming, nail-trimming, and styling. She bred her Norfolk Terrier, Tyler, ranked #1 in Norfolk, and #6 in Terrier in the U.S. She and husband Jessy Sutton will handle 32 dogs in the ring this year. As full-time dog people, the Suttons are grateful for the dogs they own, and dogs they show with other owners, citing canines’ unconditional love as their main motivation.

Roxanne Sutton points Japanese Chin JC’s to the cameras at the preview event of the 2021 National Dog Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Roxanne Sutton points Japanese Chin JC’s to the cameras at the preview event of the 2021 National Dog Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Sweet Sheltie Dyson is a 3 year-old retired AKC Champion, who is now a therapy dog. He worked virtually connecting with dementia patients during the pandemic. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Sweet Sheltie Dyson is a 3 year-old retired AKC Champion, who is now a therapy dog. He worked virtually connecting with dementia patients during the pandemic. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Champions and champion-hopefuls helped to kick off the 20th anniversary of the National Dog Show in Audubon, Pa., on November 16, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Champions and champion-hopefuls helped to kick off the 20th anniversary of the National Dog Show in Audubon, Pa., on November 16, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Retired American Kennel Club champion, Dyson, a 3-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, watched calmly as the young competitors held the spotlight. As part of the NDS Therapy Dog Ambassador Team, Dyson is a keen listener for kids learning to read and a friend to hospital patients with dementia, even making virtual visits over the pandemic. NDS attendees can meet Dyson and other members of the Therapy Dog Ambassadors Team at the show this weekend. 

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