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AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin on Hallmark Channel


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Royal Canin of St. Charles, Mo., and the American Kennel Club announced the return of the AKC National Championship to television via a new partnership with Hallmark Channel. The three-hour special, featuring America’s most beloved dog breeds, will premiere on Monday, Jan. 23, at 6 to 9 ET/PT. The show will be anchored by Gina DiNardo, AKC’s vice president, and sportscaster Jason Knapp, and it will feature special appearances by actor Jerry O’Connell.

“We’re proud to be the home of this prestigious national championship dog competition,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, owner of Hallmark Channel. “Hallmark Channel has long been deeply committed to pets and pet welfare through a variety of key partnerships with animal advocacy groups and across our program schedule, and we’re delighted to now partner with AKC National Championship and Royal Canin for this exciting competition.”

O’Connell will make special appearances throughout the show, taking viewers on a journey where, together, they will learn about purebred dogs at their best, what the judges are looking for, and what happens behind the scenes at one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world.

“As the owner of a German shepherd and lover of all dogs, I am excited to be a part of this year’s AKC National Championship,” O’Connell said. “Between getting to see some of the most exceptional dogs in the world to learning about new breeds and the amazing things dogs can do like agility courses and dock diving, I know it will be an experience of a lifetime.”

More than 5,000 of the top national and international dogs are expected to compete in the AKC National Championship, making it the largest dog show in North America with the largest monetary award in the world of dog sports. The pre-recorded special will feature winners from each of the competition categories, highlights from the agility and dock diving competitions, and some of America’s brightest up-and-coming Junior Showmanship handlers. The show will culminate in the crowning of Best in Show.

The AKC National Championship was held in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 17-18, 2016.

“As a pet food leader among breeders and a long-time supporter of purebred dog sports, we are proud to partner with Hallmark Channel to bring the AKC National Championship back to national television,” said Keith Levy, president of Royal Canin USA. “The emphasis Hallmark Channel places on pets and how they enrich our lives is a perfect complement to our brand philosophy, and how we can work together to create a better world for pets. Together, we’re looking forward to shining the spotlight on the magnificent details that make dogs extraordinary.”

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