Claire, a four-year-old Scottish Deerhound, wins back-to-back for two years the top prize at the 20th Annual Dog Show held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on November 20, 2021.
She bested 1,583 other dogs from 196 breeds to snag the Best in Show, making it the first time in the show’s 20-year history for a dog to have won the prize twice in a row.
Angela Lloyd, Claire’s handler, did not expect the win, saying, “I was thinking more about keeping her happy and getting an excellent performance out of her and having a good time.” She added that Claire looks more confident this year, and “she is truly at the top of her game.”
The Judge of the Best in the show, Jeffrey Pepper, agreed with Lloyd’s assessment, saying, “Claire really filled my eye. She is beautifully balanced and fits the requirements of the Scottish Deerhound breed standard in terms of both type and construction.”
Pepper gave kudos to the handler as well for deftly moving Claire at the right speed, which showcased her athleticism.
A Champion Progeny
Claire, or GCH Foxcliffe Claire Randall Fraser in full, came from a family of champions. Her mother won 2nd place at the 2015 National Dog Show, and her grandmother won the Best in Show at the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.
Claire hails from Virginia and is now ranked number 1 among Scottish Deerhound in the US and the most decorated in history for the breed.
Scottish Deerhounds are a gentle and friendly breed of hound that resembles a Greyhound but is bigger and more majestic in appearance. They usually have a dark blue-gray coat with a tapered head and long neck and can reach from 28 to 32 inches.
Best In Show
The show, which has been telecasted on NBC for the last 20 years, has been a staple every Thanksgiving Day. In 2020, it took place without any spectators, sponsors, and media due to the pandemic crisis with only 600 dog participants. 2021 marked the return of the show with a little over 1,500 dogs and a thousand attendees, albeit with added precautions.
All dog participants are sanctioned by the American Kennel Club and separated into seven different groups, namely: Hound, Sporting, Terrier, Working, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. Out of the seven winners from each category, the Best in Show is selected with a $20,000 prize money.
Among the breeds recognized by the AKC to compete in the show is a 19-month-old-female Biewer Terrier named Rumor. It marks the debut of this breed which is described by the media as an “elegant and athletic toy terrier whose only purpose in life is to love and be loved.”
The other breeds that made it into the Top 7 are a German Shorthaired Pointer for the Sporting Group; a Kuvasz for the Working Group; a Lakeland Terrier for the Terrier Group; an Affenpinscher for the Toy Group; an English Bulldog for the Non-Sporting Group; and a Pyrenean Shepherd for the Herding Group.