Best in Show 2020

Claire, a Scottish deerhound, took home top title of Best in Show at the 2020 National Dog Show. Pictured left to right: Karen Wilson (judge), Angela Lloyd (handler) and Jon Corcoran.

Claire, a Scottish deerhound, has won the Best in Show title for 2020 at “The National Dog Show.” The “holiday family favorite,” hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, aired Nov. 26, following the telecast of NBC’s “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

“‘The National Dog Show’ has been a beloved holiday tradition for families across the nation since its first broadcast in 2002,” said Kennel Club of Philadelphia officials in a statement prior to the event. “The show is part of a five-hour block of family programming on NBC, offering the country’s 65 million pet-owning households a full afternoon of fun entertainment while raising money for canine-related causes.”

Claire captivated Best in Show judge Karen Wilson of Sperryville, Va., who selected her from among seven accomplished show-dog finalists out of 538 entries encompassing 173 breeds. Claire is a 3-year-old, long-legged, classic gray Scottish deerhound, whose “impressive” pedigree includes grandmother Hickory, the 2011 Best in Show Champion at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City, and mother Chelsea, the Reserve Best in Show (second place) at the 2015 National Dog Show.

“She is just the picture of elegance,” said Wilson, who has been a dog show judge for 27 years. “Her movement was impeccable, just the best example of a Scottish deerhound.”

Angela Lloyd of Flint Hill, Va., has served as handler for all three generations.

“Claire has so many wonderful traits,” said Lloyd, once an 8-year-old junior handler who has been a professional for 23 years. “She embodies the same qualities [as Hickory and Chelsea]. She is very similar to her grandmother, especially in the eyes.”

With the victory in Philadelphia, Claire becomes one of the early favorites to win the American Kennel Club National Championship in December and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which has moved from February to June 2021 because of COVID-19 circumstances, officials said.

“The National Dog Show” itself looked a little different this year due to the pandemic.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘The National Dog Show’ was held without spectators, vendors, sponsors or media,” officials from NBCSports said in an article. “Judging followed strict safety guidelines, including social distancing, wearing masks and monitoring temperatures of all participants. Competition was limited to 600 dogs, a 70 percent decrease from the nearly 2,000 who compete in a regular year.”

Other winners: The miniature American shepherd won the Herding Group, the standard poodle won the Non-Sporting Group, the wire fox terrier won the Terrier Group, the affenpinscher won the Toy Group and the Portuguese water dog won the Working Group.