"Claire" the Scottish deerhound has been crowned Best in Show at the 2020 National Dog Show, beating out hundreds of other pooches for the prestigious title. The competition, which aired Thanksgiving Day but took place earlier this month, was held without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release from the show.
Earlier in the competition, the Scottish deerhound won the Hound Group, which consisted of 28 breeds, NBC Sports reports, including the Afghan hound and the dachshund.
After besting her group, "Claire" battled it out against the six other group winners to win the biggest prize of the day. She defeated the standard poodle from the Non-Sporting Group, the Portuguese water dog from the Working Group, the miniature American shepherd from the Herding Group, the wire fox terrier from the Terrier Group, the English springer spaniel from the Sporting Group and the affenpinscher from the Toy Group, NBC Sports reports.
Following the win, her handler Angie Lloyd spoke about the "wonderful" pup. "Claire's day is every day, to be quite honest," Lloyd told NBC. "She is as wonderful on the inside as she is on the outside."
This year's champ is a very different pooch than last year's victor — "Thor" the bulldog.
Three new breeds were eligible to compete in the National Dog Show in 2020: the barbet from the Sporting Group, the Belgian Laekenois from the Herding Group and the Dogo Argentino from the Working Group, according to the event's program. The Belgian Laekenois was not represented in the competition, NBC Sports said.
The beloved dog show was again hosted by "Seinfeld" alum John O'Hurley, along with breeder and AKC-licensed judge David Frei and NBC Sports analyst Mary Carillo, according to the event's program. It took place at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania, from November 14 to 15 this year.
This year's competition was a pared-down spectacle from years past. In addition to not having any spectators, no vendors, sponsors or media were present, according to an October press release from the dog show. It said at the time that the event was going forward with "the approving guidance of regional health and safety authorities."
Instead of conducting two separate dog shows during the Philadelphia competition, as it has in recent years, it held just one show split over two days. The competition was also limited to about 600 dogs, far less than the almost 2,000 entries typically allowed, the release outlined.
The release stressed that masks and hand sanitizer would be handed out and the use of masks and social distancing would be "strictly enforced." Additionally, it said nurses would be on-site to take the temperature of any participants.
The National Dog Show is one of the oldest benched dog shows in the U.S., held annually since 1933. A benched show requires the dogs to be on assigned benches when they are not being shown during competition, which allows people to meet all of the dogs and learn about the various breeds present at the show.
This year, it was not benched to "ensure the safety of all participants," the release said.
The show is sanctioned by The American Kennel Club.