Scottish Deerhound, Hickory, named Westminster Champion
New York City (February 15, 2011) – A five year-old Scottish Deerhound named Hickory emerged as the Best in Show Champion at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, winning the sport's top honor over an outstanding cast of highly-ranked canines Tuesday night before an appreciative, near-capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden.
As the first-ever member of the tradition-rich breed to win the coveted Westminster title, Hickory succeeds Sadie the Scottish Terrier who swept to the Westminster title last year and is now a mother-to-be. Handled by Angela Lloyd of Warrenton, VA, and owned by Sally Sweatt of Minneapolis and Ceil and Robert Dove of Flint Hill, VA, Hickory's registered name is GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind.
One of the oldest breeds known to man, Scottish Deerhounds were shown at the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1877. Win or lose, Hickory's connections had decided to retire her following this competition. The statuesque gray male will now romp on her 50-acre farm in Warrenton, where deer and squirrel are in abundance.
"All dogs are easy to love but sometimes you find one that clicks," offered Lloyd in reference to her relationship with America's top-ranked Scottish Deerhound. "We've been through a lot together (14 total Best in Shows) and that builds a bond."
Hickory came out of the Hound Group Monday night and waited 24 hours for her special moment, selected by Best In Show Judge Paolo Dondina from Italy. Hickory bested Malachy, the Pekingese (Toy Group); Jayne, the Chinese Shar-Pei (Non-Sporting Group); Mr. Baggins, the Bearded Collie (Herding Group); Ladybug, the Portuguese Water Dog (Working Group); Beckham, the Black Cocker Spaniel (Sporting Group) and Adam, the Smooth Fox Terrier (Terrier Group).
A total of 2,622 purebred showdogs, all champions based on points accumulated during dog shows this past year, competed in the 135th edition of Westminster, America's second oldest sporting tradition behind the Kentucky Derby. The international sport's pre-eminent competition included representatives of all 179 breeds currently recognized by the American Kennel Club.
On Wednesday, Hickory will spend the day on an unparalleled media tour, including Today, The Early Show, Good Day New York, Fox and Friends, Bloomberg News, Fox News, LXNY, WNBC News and press events at the Empire State Building and the Ronald McDonald House in New York City, where he will visit with pediatric oncology patients.
The signature event on the Wednesday media tour is lunch at Sardi's where she will be served "Steak on a Platter" befitting America's top dog and newest single-name celebrity. Hickory and David Frei, the host for millions viewing six hours of live coverage on USA Network, will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.