Scottish Deerhound Hickory Wins the 2011 Westminster Dog Show
Timothy A. Clary, AFP / Getty Images
The 5-year-old female Scottish deerhound -- full name Gch. Foxcliffe Hickory Wind -- has been the No. 1 Scottish deerhound for the last three years. But this was her first Best in Show appearance at Westminster.
After entering the ring at Madison Square Garden under a spotlight to rapturous applause, handler Angela Lloyd -- a junior handler winner at Westminster in 1998 -- led her to a swift and popular victory.
Judge Paolo Dondina, who paid tribute to all the seven finalists as "the best he could remember," did not take long to select Hickory as his choice for Best in Show. He watched their initial entrance lap and took a closer look at each dog before quickly deciding on Hickory.
"I think she was beautiful," he told reporters after the award. "This one feels perfect -- very well balanced and beautiful. She did a marvelous job."
The victorious dog and handler drew the adulation of a large crowd as she basked in the victory. Some attendees paid as much as $155 to attend Best in Show, which was also broadcast live on the USA Network.
Lloyd, who has been living with Hickory at her home in Virginia, heaped praise on the deerhound. "She went in there tonight and showed like she's never shown before," said the 31-year-old handler. "She was solid and steady despite all the flashbulbs and cameras. She came right through it."
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is considered the most prestigious in the nation, with more than 2,500 dogs each year vying for the top title of Best in Show. It is the second-oldest continuous sporting event in the country, trailing the Kentucky Derby by a year.