Behind the Scenes at the 2012 National Dog Show

Take a peek at the pooches competing for Best in Show before the competition airs on Thanksgiving

01 of 10

DOGGONE CUTE

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Steve Surfman

On a day dedicated to man’s best friend, host John O’Hurley still squeezes in time for a very special companion: his 5-year-old son, Will, who joined him at the weekend taping of the National Dog Show Presented by Purina. O’Hurley has hosted the ultimate canine competition (which airs Thursday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in all time zones) on NBC since its inception in 2002.

02 of 10

GLAMOUR GIRL

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Steve Surfman

Just a few finishing touches! A little last-minute prep can go a long way at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, where more than 1,500 canines competed for the coveted title of Best in Show.

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THE RIGHT FLUFF

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Steve Surfman

Don’t be fooled by the cuteness – the competition is fur-ocious.

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TRIPLE THREAT

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Steve Surfman

They may look like the three amigos, but these pooches are in it to win it for themselves.

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LADY LUCK

LADY LUCK
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You’re too adorable to be nervous! This pooch gets a reassuring cuddle from a special fan.

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PUPPY DOG EYES

PUPPY DOG EYES
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Proof we couldn’t judge this showdown. (You’re just all winners to us, guys.)

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GO FOR THE GOLD

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Steve Surfman

But we think this golden retriever deserves some precious medal.

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BENCH WARMER

BENCH WARMER
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Sometimes, it pays to be a show-off.

09 of 10

BEAUTY SLEEP

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Steve Surfman

It’s exhausting looking this good.

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WALK THE WALK

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Steve Surfman

You better work! Come back to PEOPLE Pets on Thursday to see who won big.

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