Best in Show! Latest winner Claire is 2014 Westminster chihuahua’s all-time master of ceremonies

At 6-months-old, Claire was breeder Judy Carlucci’s first treat from a small stand of hounds she bred. Now, this Staffordshire bull terrier has taken home her third Best in Show title at the National Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.

Claire won this year’s competition with her handler Dan Voytovich, a veteran of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The very curly-haired, well-behaved Claire won her third straight North American Walkaway competition, known as the “people’s dog,” held near the famed New York subway station in Penn Station. She will represent the United States at next year’s World Championships.

This year, Claire was the first show-winning terrier dog to be purchased through a breeder. “There are too many Hounds in the world,” Carlucci says. “Claire is a great model of a good dog. I think she just knows how to work.”

She was able to work at the past two North American Walkaway competitions.

Glenn Buchanan says as owner of Gold Blonde, he witnessed the outpouring of public support for Claire. “We used to be in an area of East Atlanta where we had meetings at the K-9 jail,” he says. “That was where Claire and her father, Hawk, became really popular, selling out.”

He’s proud of their success, while not resting on his laurels. “A certain thing happened at the Westminster in 2015, and we thought that’s the end,” Buchanan says. “It took us about two years to get back to the group show again, and this year, we took second to Gold Blonde.”

Glenn, Judy and Dan Voytovich named Claire, their 5-year-old aging champion, after a family dog. “We tried a bunch of names for our Yorkshire terrier who passed away and Claire was the one we liked the best,” he says.

Gold Blonde is Buchanan’s third walkaway winner. His first was Petey over 15 years ago. Petey passed away last year, while Gold Blonde survived a crash she was in at the end of her 2015 season. “There was some question of what she might do,” Buchanan says. “She was fine and we thought she might come back a little worse, but she’s been fine from the start and it’s a wonderful relationship with her trainer. She’s the one going to Tokyo for the World Championships.”


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