Furry face off: Scottish Deerhound wins Westminster competition

Claire, a Scottish deerhound, a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, won best in show and was awarded the Bill Veeck Service trophy for demonstrating remarkable qualities in both agility and obedience.

“Our hope is that Claire is a national symbol, not just of our breed, but of Scottish Deerhounds in general,” the Labrador retriever owner, Jan Fougner, said in a statement. “She was born exactly 100 years ago to my aunt, and she is 100 percent pure Scottish Deerhound.”

This is the 29th consecutive year for the Bill Veeck service trophy. The dog, which is closely related to Cane Corso, was picked in the closely contested 1,037-pound sporting group.

The vote came down to a close race between seven breeds.

“It’s so hard to second guess,” English bulldog owner Lori Chambers said. “It doesn’t happen to me anymore.”

Maryland is the only state that allows the canine Frenchies to be bred in the state.

Claire and the eight other pups were chosen from 76 contestants in a televised live competition. Dogs are judged in four competitive classes — breeding, obedience, agility and standard obedience — as well as a social demonstration.

The Scottish Deerhound is the second-oldest breed in the AKC, with its high standards for genetics, low numbers and advanced training for its old age. Each year, breeders celebrate the breed in some way.

This was the first time that judges picked dogs in separate show groups to make the final round.

Claire is now the 13th winner of the Westminster champion in the service group since Bill Veeck became the first fan-favorite champion of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1933.

FOX News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.

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