2nd time’s a charm: Claire the winning Scottish deerhound nabbed Best in Show at National Dog Show

Scottish deerhound Claire became the first repeat winner of Best in Show when she won the National Dog Show on Sunday night in Long Island, New York.

Claire, who now has six National Dog Show titles, knocked off American foxhound Broad Coldbellied Retriever Tucker, who claimed the top prize at Westminster in 2016. Claire won earlier this year in the Working group.

“I can’t believe this!” dog show announcer John Furgele said as the verdict was announced. “What a team!”

The fact that this champion coyote is a member of the family can be explained in dog world terms that run like this: Celtic wolves once inhabited North America, but their numbers dwindled as they became killed by their own kind — coyotes. While coyotes don’t exist in Europe, they are related to deerhounds and can be relatively harmless.

“A deerhound is the first animal that the coyote came to when it discovered the wolf,” said the late Kenneth Fox, president of the International Federation of Dog Clubs of America. “Coyotes are territorial animals and they need to protect their territory. When the coyote and the deerhound got together they learned that there was a wonderful opportunity to mutually benefit both.”

The ancient canines lived together side by side, but not now. The next big-cat hybrid, the endangered wild boar, already exists, along with the more recent addition of the African lion. Most of these big cats have trouble spreading across to new regions because they are poor breeds and aren’t distinguished from each other easily. The likes of two-horned rhino giraffe hyena, elephant gorilla bear and wolf wolf are also potential hybrids.

It’s highly likely that one day English greyhound Chazz will be the fastest dog on the planet, but most of them can’t run as fast as a canary. Indeed, only a few of those crowned show champions ever become No. 1 in the world.

Claire is believed to be a descendant of Faroukh, one of the world’s oldest and still most successful breeds.

“Faroukh can eat 100 pounds a day,” Furgele said. “They have amazing stamina and great endurance, great metabolisms. It’s the ideal breed to withstand a high level of training and travel.

“I have never seen a more perfect companion for her handler than Claire,” he said. “It takes a lot to work with a 6-year-old deerhound and her claws are so thick it would take 15 humans to hold her and catch her again. She actually gained strength and strength with every show she entered.”

Meanwhile, Trevor Scott, 38, who groomed and trained Claire, owns the Scottish Deerhound World Record.

“I got into shepherding with my dad but I always liked dogs,” he said. “I wanted to break the shepherding record and ended up winning Best in Show at Westminster. So I think I’m second for best in show at every show. I probably wouldn’t be much good in racing, but I want to be a handler and I want to show her. She’s such a beautiful dog. I never thought of a career in shepherding.”

Tucker’s win at Westminster was also a surprise, with Fox telling WFAN radio after the show, “Don’t even think about holding up your fingers.” Tucker may be a top standard-bred dog, but he’s also the third prototype wolf to compete on the annual Westminster show floor, following a German shepherd who claimed the Best in Show crown in 2007 and another who won Best in Show as a member of the Brookshire and Tin Shed from Baltimore, Maryland.

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