This is an exciting week for Jerry O’Connell. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged, and the actor has big news to share with you.
“I want to give a specific shout to the queen,” O’Connell told PEOPLE. “I want an invite.”
But now for his big news: O’Connell wants to invite you to watch the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin this New Year’s Day on Animal Planet.
The proud dog dad to four pups of his own will be the guest host of the show — the largest in the country with more than 8,600 dogs competing for the top prize — a step up from his behind-the-scenes role from last year.
“I am going to be a sideline commentator. I have to wear a tux,” O’Connell said, explaining the perks of his expanded part. “It’s the only thing I am on that my children will watch. It’s a big deal in my household.”
O’Connell will be joined by the night’s lead co-hosts: sportscasters Jason Knapp and Sam Ryan and AKC’s Gina DiNardo, along with a special appearance by U.S. Marine and K9 Handler Megan Leavey, who was recently the subject of a major motion picture.
All of these lucky humans will get an up-close look at the competition, which includes agility events along with the contest for the coveted Best in Show title.
For the dogs, it’s serious business, but for viewers it’s nothing but fun.
“It’s super fun for me, being a dog owner, to see how well-cared for and well-trained these animals are,” O’Connell said of the competitors, who always put him in a good mood. “It’s fun to get back home and try to get my dogs to do a homemade agility course in our backyard.”
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Unfortunately, for the actor, those agility courses don’t usually pan out: His four dogs are more about inactive events.
“I lose out to my dogs on the couch. I have been sitting on the floor recently, ” he shared. “If they had an event of which animals could take up the most room on furniture, they would be Best in Show.”
Based on his experience last year, O’Connell feels confident that anyone who tunes into Animal Planet’s airing of the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin on Jan. 1, 2018 at 7 p.m. ET will finish watching in a great mood.
“They are all such good dogs,” he said.