Best in Show winner at 2021 National Dog Show makes history

Claire is a strong champion.

History was made Thursday at the National Dog Show – the beloved annual event hosted by the Kennel Club in Philadelphia – when a Scottish Deerhound named Claire, who also won last year, was named Best in Show.

The hosts noted that Claire’s win marked the first time a dog had won consecutively in the show’s 20-year history.

She was greeted by vaccinated spectators—a return to normal after last year’s scaled back spectacle and a lack of fans—as she jumped on a triumphant lap around the Philadelphia Grand Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania. The event was filmed on November 20-21 but aired Thursday on NBC.

“She’s a year older and she’s more confident,” her therapist Angela Lloyd, whose registered name is GCH Foxcliffe Claire Randall Fraser, said of Claire.

Part of the Hound group, the 4-year-old dog also received a prize pool of $20,000 in addition to glory. This year’s competition was tight as Claire battled against Chester the Avengers, Sasha the Pyrenean Shepherd, MMT Lakeland Terrier, Jed the German Shorthair Pointer, Moon the Quavas and Winter the Bulldog.

Last year, Claire was the first of her breed to receive the coveted title, but she’s not the number one champion in her family: Claire’s grandmother won Best in Show at the 2011 Westminster Dog Show.

But Claire, who resides in Virginia, once stepped up to her grandmother’s since she’s now the biggest winger in Scottish Deerhound history.

“Claire, in her mind, really believes in herself and has a lot of confidence in who she is. And if you’re like her, don’t you?” Lloyd said. “She’s really at her best.”

In addition to winning twice, the Biewer Terrier made his debut Thursday on the Toy group, gently stealing the show for this important year.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the National Dog Show, which has become somewhat of a Thanksgiving tradition, as it is broadcast live after Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The 2021 event has been hosted by John O’Herley and David Fry, who have acted as the show’s director since it first aired on NBC in 2002.

The Biewer Terrier first appeared on the show.
Bill McKay/NBC
Handler Angela Lloyd celebrated her Scottish Deerhound, Claire.
Handler Angela Lloyd celebrated her Scottish Deerhound, Claire.
Bill McKay/NBC
Two long-coats Chihuahuas are competing.
Two long-coats Chihuahuas are competing.
Bill McKay/NBC
It is the Komondor that competed in the working group.
A Komondor that competed in the working group.
Bill McKay/NBC
Toy poodle kept by its owner.
A toy poodle kept by its owner.
Bill McKay/NBC
Borzoi meeting with a judge.
Borzoi meeting with a judge.
Bill McKay/NBC

“We estimate that since then a quarter of a billion people have watched,” organizers said in a statement.

“Dogs are more than ever a part of people’s lives and the show reminds us of how great they are and how easy it is to make us smile,” added O’Herley, best known for playing clothing catalog mogul J Peterman on “Seinfeld.”

Soft coated wheat with its owner.
Coated soft wheat with its owner.
Bill McKay/NBC
Shetland Sheepdog poses for cameras.
Shetland Sheepdog poses for cameras.
Bill McKay/NBC
The Pumi was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 2016.
The Pumi was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 2016.
Bill McKay/NBC
Polly is being judged.
Polly is being judged.
Bill McKay/NBC
Portuguese Water Dog runs with his owner.
Portuguese Water Dog runs with his owner.
Bill McKay/NBC

This year, 209 dog breeds and varieties, all sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, were divided into seven different groups – Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding – to choose the winner of the prestigious Best of the Year award. in the title of the show. Last year, only 600 dogs entered — a far cry from the nearly 2,000 dogs that normally compete in the show.

Claire also won the 2020 National Dog Show, notably the first of her breed ever to earn the coveted title. The Scottish Deerhound beat seven finalists and a total of 538 entries.

The winner of the National Dog Show, the Scottish Deerhound has been named
Claire, a Scottish Deerhound, was also the winner of Best in Show at the 2020 National Dog Show.
Bill McKay/NBC
John O'Herley carries a Biewer Terrier, the newest breed for competition.
John O’Herley carries a Biewer Terrier, the newest breed for competition.
Simon Prouty
Miniature poodles compete in the show.
Small dog competing in the show.
Bill McKay/NBC
The long-haired dachshund hopes to win.
The long-haired dachshund hopes to win.
Bill McKay/NBC
Italian Greyhound in the arbitration process.
Italian greyhound in the judging process.
Bill McKay/NBC

The show, founded in 1879, has been held annually since 1933, but the first NBC broadcasts took place less than two decades ago. John Miller, head of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network, told The Post in 2013 that Christopher Guest’s beloved 2000 movie “Best of Show” actually inspired him to broadcast the show on a national scale.

“The ratings surprised everyone that first year, and it’s been on the air ever since,” Miller said. He also credits his wife Janine as the “genius” who devised the concept.

Irish wolf cuddling with its owner.
Irish wolf cuddling with its owner.
Bill McKay/NBC
The Irish setter is making his rounds.
The Irish setter is making his rounds.
Bill McKay/NBC
ASCOB Cocker Spaniel kept by its owner.
ASCOB cockerspaniel is held by its owner.
Bill McKay/NBC
Hosts David Fry and John O'Herley.
Hosts David Fry and John O’Herley.
Bill McKay/NBC

He added, “I’m so proud of the fact that after 44 years at NBC, these properties will live far after I’m gone.”

Judges select winners by examining the dog and how closely each dog is compared to perfecting the “perfect dog” in the official breed standard. Conformation, general appearance, temperament, structure and movement are all considered, as well as the dog’s ability to “perform the function for which it was bred for its breed.”

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