Best in Show! 20 Years of National Dog Show Winners

The Thanksgiving tradition has a long history of absolutely adorable champs

01 of 20

2021, CLARE

National Dog Show Winner
Stephen Donahue

A back-to-back champ! On Thanksgiving Day 2021, Scottish Deerhound Clare was crowned the winner for the second year in a row.

Even with her history of success, Claire and Lloyd did not enter the 2021 National Dog Show expecting to take home the event's top honor.

"I was thinking more about keeping her happy, getting a really good performance out of her, and just having a good time," handler Angela Lloyd said in a statement of her approach with Claire to this year's show.

"Claire, in her mind, really believes in herself and has a lot of confidence in who she is. And if you looked like her, wouldn't you?" Lloyd said of the Scottish Deerhound's winning edge, adding, "she is just truly at the top of her game."

02 of 20

2020, CLAIRE

Bill McCay/NBC

Claire the Scottish Deerhound — registered name GCH Foxcliffe Claire Randall Fraser — earned the title of Best in Show for 2020, after taking part in a competition with no spectators, vendors, sponsors, or media, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The graceful hound comes from a winning lineage. Her grandmother won Best in Show at Westminster in 2011, and her mother was the runner-up, or Reserve Best in Show, of the 2015 National Dog Show.

"Claire has so many wonderful traits," her handler, Angela Lloyd, said in a statement about the pooch's win. "She embodies the same qualities. She is very similar to her grandmother, especially in the eyes."

03 of 20

2019, THOR

National Dog Show
Steve Donahue/See Spot Run Photography

The bulldog, whose registered show name is GCHG Diamond Gold Majesu Pisko Bulls, beat out thousands of other dogs to earn the top prize with help from his handler, Eduardo Paris of Houston, Texas.

"Thor won today because of his structure and because he moves so well. He has been showing since September 2018 and has won 27 specialties since he has been showing," Paris proudly shared.

Before getting his ribbon, Thor won the Non-Sporting Group to make it to the final Best in Show round. Joining him in this prestigious pack was Nick the Siberian Husky, Daniel the Golden Retriever, Blaine the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Sophia the Old English Sheepdog, Bono the Havanese, and Maddie the Pharaoh Hound.

04 of 20


Steven Donahue/See Spot Run Photography

The No. 1 hound in the country took the 2018 title, his 20th Best in Show win in just 18 months. But his owners say he's more than just a show dog.

"First and foremost he is our companion and pet — we love him, he sleeps in our bed," Chelsea Smithey told PEOPLE. "I could show you all of these pictures on my phone of him curled upside down, every which way, hanging off the bed. I mean he's just a great dog."

05 of 20

2017, NEWTON

Steven Donahue/See Spot Run Photography

Brussels Griffon Newton, known in the show circuit as GCH Somerset Wynzall Hashtag, beat out more than 2,000 other dogs for the Best in Show title, taking the Toy Group before winning the final ribbon. The pair had some sweet victory plans to celebrate. "I think were going to get an ice cream," handler Susan Dipew told PEOPLE about Newton's post-win schedule.

06 of 20

2016, GIA

The National Dog Show Presented by Purina - 2016
Bill McCay/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The greyhound earned her 44th Best in Show title at last year's National Dog Show in Philadelphia. "Gia fits the Greyhound standard perfectly and also gives that extra showmanship," offered Best In Show judge James G. Reynolds of Ottawa, Canada. "She has a head like a snake and can really gallop. A lot of Greyhounds don't have that showmanship."

07 of 20


The National Dog Show Presented by Purina - 2016
Bill McCay/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

"The moment he entered the ring, I turned to [co-host David Frei] and said, 'Wow..! Heads and tails' above the competition," host John O'Hurley recalled of the spunky skye terrier.

08 of 20

2014, NATHAN

The National Dog Show Presented by Purina - Season 13
Bill McCay/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

After earning the National Dog Show title, the bloodhound went on to score the title of top-ranked hound in America.

09 of 20

2013, JEWEL

National Dog Show Presented by Purina - Season 2013
Bill McCay/NBC

At the time, the young American foxhound was the first winner in the 12-year history of the National Dog Show to come from the Hound Group.

10 of 20

2012, SKY

The National Dog Show Presented by Purina - Season 2012
Bill McCay/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The wire fox terrier was the first repeat breed winner, as ...

11 of 20

2011, EIRA

Winner - Best in Show / Terrier / Wire Fox Terrier
The Kennel Club of Philadelphia

... the year prior, this lady won the prize. "She looks beautiful and she moves beautifully," said handler Gabriel Rangel. "Eira moves as well as she stacks."

12 of 20


The Kennel Club of Philadelphia

The Irish setter wasn't only perfect in the ring — he had personality, too. "He loves the attention; he loves people; he loves being in the ring and being around all the people and everyone fussing over him," said handler Peter Kubacz. "He is a great show dog in that regard."

13 of 20

2009, SADIE

The National Dog Show Presented by Purina
Ali Goldstein/NBCU Photo Bank

The Scottish terrier captured hearts, and went on to capture another big title: Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show that following February.

14 of 20

2008, HOLLY

National Dog Show
Ali Goldstein/NBCU Photo Bank

During her time as a show dog, the pointer garnered 10 Best in Show titles in a row, winning a total of 116 Best in Shows, making her the winningest Sporting Dog in history.

15 of 20


The Kennel Club of Philadelphia

The adorable Australian shepherd earned attention for his unique coat, among other attributes.

16 of 20

2006, VIKKI

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia

The toy poodle was an obvious favorite to win in her year, arriving from Japan not long before as the No. 1 toy poodle and winner of several Best in Show titles.

17 of 20

2005, RUFUS

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia

In his heyday, the bull terrier won the National Dog Show, the Morris & Essex Kennel Club Show and Westminster Kennel Club Show. These days, he's a certified therapy dog and a therapy dog ambassador for the National Dog Show.

18 of 20

2004, GRACIE

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia

The fox terrier also became a therapy dog upon her exit from the show world, visiting retirement homes to bring smiles to seniors.

19 of 20

2003, RAISIN

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia

The big, beautiful doberman celebrated his win by giving the judges a high-paw.

20 of 20

2002, MIKI

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia

In the first year the National Dog Show was presented by Purina, the title of Best in Show went to the snow-white standard poodle.

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