Westminster dog show 2011: Scottish deerhound Hickory wins Best in Show
It's official: History was made when judge Paolo Dondina of Italy awarded the Westminster Kennel Club dog show's coveted Best in Show title to Hickory, a Scottish deerhound, on Tuesday night.
Hickory, a 5-year-old female whose full name is GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind (the GCH stands for Grand Champion), is the first Scottish deerhound ever to win Best in Show at Westminster.
She emerged victorious, surprising many, over a field of better-known champions, including four dogs that ranked in the top 10 American show dogs of all breeds last year -- a Pekingese named Malachy, a black cocker spaniel named Beckham, a bearded collie named Mister Baggins and a smooth fox terrier named Adam.
Hickory has an impressive show record of her own: she was ranked fifth among all American show dogs from the Hound group last year. But few thought a Scottish deerhound -- a rather rare breed that is sometimes mistaken for the more famous Irish wolfhound -- would go on to win Best in Show.
Vegas odds-maker Johnny Avello, handicapping the likely winners at Westminster, gave the Scottish deerhound 60-to-1 odds to win.
But Hickory was at the top of her game in her final show before retirement; she "went in there tonight and she showed like she's never shown before," handler Angela Lloyd told the New York Times. "She was solid and steady and even through all of the lights and cameras and the noise and spotlights, she came right through it."
The shy deerhound's poise will be tested over the coming days; she has many public appearances to make before returning to her home, a farm in Virginia, where her owners hope she'll have a litter of puppies later this year.
[Correction, 10:54 p.m.: An earlier version of this post mistakenly listed Terrier group winner Adam as a toy fox terrier. He is a smooth fox terrier, and we've corrected the error.]
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-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Hickory wins the Hound group on Tuesday prior to her Best in Show win. Credit: Mike Segar / Reuters