Maybe she was born to win.
Claire, a Scottish roe deer, was named best in the National Dog Show.
The tall, gray dog is the first of its breed to win a race that began in the late 19th century and was televised on NBC for the past 18 years.
But Claire – whose registered name is GCH Foxcliffe Claire Randall Fraser ̵
Her grandmother, Hickory, won the best dog show at the Westminster Kennel Club in 2011. The dog’s mother, Chelsea, won the best show at the 2015 National Dog Show.
All three dogs are co-owned by Claire’s guide, Angela Lloyd of Flint Hill, Virginia, and Cecilia Pigeon and Dr. Scott Pigeon, also of Flint Hill.
“Scottish deer aren’t usually the center of attention,” Wayne Ferguson, the dog show’s announcer, told NJ Advance Media. Hickory was the first of her breed to win at Westminster in the show’s 135-year history.
Ferguson, who lives in Broadway, Warren County, is also president of the Philadelphia Kennel Club, which hosts the show. The event was reduced this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Only handlers, dog owners and staff, without spectators, were allowed to attend. Ferguson announced the breeds to an audience full of cardboard dogs.
While Scottish roe deer have not performed best on the show so far, the breed has been shown at kennel events since the late 1800s, he said.
“They are one of the oldest breeds that the American Kennel Club has recognized,” says Ferguson. The Scottish deerhound joined the pen in 1886, just four years after the AKC was founded.
Claire, 3, won the greyhound group with Lloyd next to her, ranking seven finalists in 538 entries. Lloyd was also the head of Hickory and Chelsea.
“Claire has so many wonderful traits,” she said at the show, which was recorded Nov. 15 at the Greater Philadelphia Exhibition Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania. “She embodies the same qualities (as Hickory and Chelsea). She looks a lot like her grandmother, especially in the eyes.
Judge Karen Wilson chose Claire as champion. Scottish deer bred for deer hunting are prized for their majestic appearance.
“It’s just a picture of elegance,” Wilson said. “Her movement was flawless, just the best example of a Scottish roe deer.”
An English spring spaniel named Teddy and manipulator Howard Huber from Oxford, Pennsylvania, won the best reserves in the show after winning the sports group.
The “new” breeds this year – those recently recognized by the AKC – were the Barbetta (sports group), the Dogo Argentino (working group) and the Belgian Laekenois (pastoral group).
The dog show, which airs after the 2002 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, has become a holiday tradition. But this year the pandemic protocol would have been very different. The dog competition, filmed at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for two days, did not have a wide audience. Sponsors, vendors and the media were also banned from the event to limit the number of people on the show. Entries for dogs were reduced by 70%, from 2,000 to a maximum of 600.
As for the other winners, a wire fox terrier named Winnie of Newport, Rhode Island won the terrier group, having previously won the terrier group in Westminster this year. Affenpinscher named Chester from Houston, Texas won the toy group, while a Portuguese Water Dog named Bowie from New York, who won the best of the breed in Westminster this year, won the working group. A miniature American Shepherd named Jimmy of Denton, Texas, won the shepherd group; and a poodle named Cam from Seattle, Washington won the unsportsmanlike group.
At the 2019 National Dog Show, a bulldog named Thor, led by Eduardo Paris of Houston, Texas, won the best at the show.
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Amy Kuperinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.