In advance of the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, Royal Canin celebrated with the first annual Royal Canin Puppy Pre-Show.

The Royal Canin Puppy Pre-Show was hosted by professional "dog rater" Matt Nelson of WeRateDogs and Gideon Kidd from I've Pet That Dog with special appearances by dog show expert Bill Shelton and Royal Canin pet nutritionist Dr. Jill Cline. The show brought together seven up-and-coming puppy stars to compete in a series of fun and whimsical events that put their "puppy-ness" to the test. The Puppy Pre-Show aired across WeRateDogs' and Royal Canin's social channels beginning on December 18, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

"It was an honor to be involved in the first ever Royal Canin Puppy Pre-Show. Anytime there are that many good dogs in one place you know wonderful things are in store," said Matt Nelson from WeRateDogs.

The puppy competitors were evaluated in several categories, including Kibble Quest and Puppy Playtime, culminating in the main event: Puppy Best In Show. Viewers were then asked to cast their vote for who should be crowned Puppy Best In Show on social using #RoyalCaninPuppies from December 18-22, 2019. The winning puppy was unveiled during the Animal Planet broadcast of the AKC National Championship airing on New Year's Day at 6 p.m. EDT.

Meet the #RoyalCaninPuppies

  • Anita Bone the Bulldog, 5 months old
  • Dustin the Labrador Retriever, 5 months old
  • Elvira the Smooth Fox Terrier, 4 months old
  • Hedwig the Dachshund, 4 months old
  • King the Bernese Mountain Dog, 6 months old
  • Monique the German Shepherd Dog, 6 months old
  • Nala the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, 4 months old

"At Royal Canin, we're passionate about breeds and what makes each one unique, so we are proud to again sponsor the AKC National Championship – the ultimate celebration of dogs and what they were bred to do," said Kamie Eckert, Royal Canin USA President. "This year, we are excited to add a twist by creating the Royal Canin Puppy Pre-Show to celebrate where these magnificent dogs get their start."

As a leader in pet nutrition, Royal Canin recognizes nutrition can play a critical role in pet health, especially during the important stage of puppyhood. As a puppy grows, tiny details can impact immune, skeleton and other development, so it is vital to provide the right support every step of the way. Royal Canin Puppy nutrition includes an exclusive complex of antioxidants including Vitamin E to support a puppy's natural immune defenses, high quality proteins, and balanced energy and mineral content to support ideal bone and muscle growth.

"Growth is a time of rapid change, discovery, and new encounters for your puppy," said Dr. Jill Cline, pet nutritionist and site director of Royal Canin's Pet Health and Nutrition Center. "As puppies grow, their immune systems are still developing, so it is important to support your puppy with the right diet from the start."