Feb. 16, 2011 -- A black-haired Scottish deerhound named Hickory clinched the top prize Tuesday night at the second-longest-running sports event in the United States: the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
The 5-year-old, 85-pound pooch was named best in show after beating out several other dogs from top breeds including a Portuguese water dog, smooth fox terrier and black cocker spaniel in the final round.
Hickory is the first Scottish deerhound to win the club's top dog title, along with a long purple and gold ribbon and silver trophy.
Compared to golden retrievers and labradors, it's a breed few people are accustomed to seeing in the United States.
"Sure, not your common golden retriever … she loves unconditional, no matter what," handler Angela Lloyd said after Hickory's win. "It's really hard to describe this dog. There are really no words for her."
Bred for hunting, Scottish deerhounds are also the royal dog of Scotland.
More than 2,500 dogs from 179 breeds, including six new breeds, competed in the two-day event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This year's competition was an open field, with no clear favorite. The 2010 best in show winner, Sadie the Scottish terrier, retired.
David Frei, who co-hosted the show, said all dogs in the competition have to be high performers.
"I think a great show dog, sounds funny to say but they are great athletes and they have to understand when it's time to step up," Frei said.
Established in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club is the oldest organization "dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs."
"People who own, breed, show dogs dream of this day," handler Lloyd told the Associated Press.
ABC News' Ben Forer, Kevin Dolak and the Associated Press contributed to this story.