Claire is a foolproof champion.
History was made on Thursday at the National Dog Show – the beloved annual event hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia – when a Scottish Deerhound named Claire, who also won last year, was named Best in Show .
Claire’s victory marks the first time a dog has won back-to-back in the show’s 20-year history, the hosts noted.
She was cheered on by vaccinated spectators – a return to normal after last year’s shrunken and fanless show – as she strutted in a victory lap around the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa. The event was filmed on November 20 and 21 but aired Thursday on NBC.
“She’s a year older and more confident,” her handler Angela Lloyd said of Claire, whose registered name is GCH Foxcliffe Claire Randall Fraser.
Part of the Hound group, the 4 year old dog also won a $ 20,000 prize in addition to fame. The competition this year was tight as Claire was pitted against Chester the Affenpinscher, Sasha the Pyrenean Shepherd, MM the Lakeland Terrier, Jade the German Pointer, Mo’Ne the Kuvasz and Winter the Bulldog.
Last year, Claire was the first of her breed to win the coveted title, but she’s not the first champion in her family: Claire’s grandmother won the Best in Show award at the Westminster Dog Show 2011.
But Claire, who lives in Virginia, has outdone her grandmother as she is now the most successful Scottish hunting dog in history.“Claire, in her mind, really believes in herself and has a lot of confidence in who she is. How about you look like him, don’t you? Lloyd said. “She’s really at the top of her game. “
In addition to the double win, the Biewer Terrier made their Toy Group debut Thursday, kindly stealing the show for the milestone year.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the National Dog Show, which has become somewhat of a Thanksgiving Day tradition, airing immediately after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. The 2021 event was hosted by John O’Hurley and David Frei, both of whom have served as emcees for the show since it first aired on NBC in 2002.
“We estimate that since then a quarter of a billion people have watched,” organizers said in a statement.
“Dogs are more of a part of people’s lives than ever before and the show reminds us of how great they are and how easy it is for them to make us smile,” added O’Hurley, best known for having played the clothing catalog tycoon J. Peterman. on “Seinfeld”.
This year, 209 breeds and varieties of dog, all purebred and sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, were divided into seven different groups – Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding – to select the winner. of the coveted prize. in Show title. Last year, only 600 dogs entered – a far cry from the nearly 2,000 who typically take part in the show.
Claire also won the National Dog Show 2020, notably the first of her breed to win the coveted title. The Scottish Deerhound beat seven finalists and a total of 538 entries.
The show, which was founded in 1879, has been running annually since 1933, but NBC’s first broadcast was less than two decades ago. Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network, told The Post in 2013 that Christopher Guest’s beloved mock-up documentary “Best in Show” actually inspired him to air the show. at national scale.
“The ratings surprised everyone this first year, and they’ve been on the air ever since,” Miller said. He also credits his wife, Janine, as the “genius” who came up with the concept.
“I’m very proud of the fact that after 44 years at NBC this is a property that will live on long after I’m gone,” he added.
The judges select the winners by examining the dog and examining how each dog compares to the perfection of the “perfect dog” in the official breed standard. Conformation, general appearance, temperament, structure and movement are all taken into account, as well as the dog’s ability to “perform the function for which its breed was bred.”