Dallas Seavey wins Iditarod, matches most wins by a musher

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Ever since Dallas Seavey became the youngest musher to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 2012, he’s been bombarded by questions on whether he would eventually get five race titles, the most ever by a musher.

“I think it was probably 10 minutes after I won that first race that somebody mentioned five,” he told The Associated Press before this year’s race. “At that point, I said I got to worry about No. 2 first. I may be homeschooled, but I know that much, two comes after one.”

Now Seavey, a 34-year-old considered by many to have the potential to become the race’s great champion, will have to start fending off questions about No. 6. Seavey on Monday collected his fifth Iditarod title, winning the pandemic-shortened race by more than three hours over second-place musher Aaron Burmeister.

He matched the record of five wins by Rick Swenson, known as the King of the Iditarod for picking up those titles from 1977-91.

“It’s a big deal,” Seavey said at the finish line after a race official checked to make sure his sled was complete with a sleeping bag, axe, dog booties and other mandatory gear. His 5 a.m. finish was televised statewide.

Seavey said he didn’t allow himself to think about a fifth win on the trail because he didn’t want to jinx it.

“That’s huge, man,” he said. “I looked up to the Iditarod champions my whole life and I’ve dreamed about this my whole life. And now to actually go from that, to see it happen, to realize that, that’s pretty cool.”

Numerous mushers have tried to crack the five-title barrier over the past three decades only to fall short. Four-time champions and familiar names to fans are the late Susan Butcher, Martin Buser, Lance Mackey, Doug Swingley and Jeff King.

Seavey said the goal has been to get the fifth title, which puts a musher in a pretty elite group, but he’s also realistic about what it means.

“I don’t hold any misconceptions that this would somehow change me,” he said before the race. “We see that in sports quite a lot where we focus so much on one thing and the assumption that it is if you win, this is somehow miraculously going to solve all your other problems. That’s not the case.”

Seavey said at the finish line he tries to give himself a little time after each win to revel in it, but then it’s time to focus on the next thing, whatever it is.

“Whatever you’re doing, give it your whole attention and we’ll dwell on the records or the numbers when we’re too old to keep doing it. That’s the time to look back at it,” he said. “But right now, I want to keep moving.”

He completed the 848-mile trail in 7 days, 14 hours, 8 minutes and 57 seconds. Seavey has won titles in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2021.

The victory also marks Seavey’s return to the race that has been a part of his family’s history since the start. His grandfather, Dan Seavey, placed third in the first Iditarod in 1973.

Seavey finished second to his father, three-time winner Mitch Seavey, in the 2017 race. Shortly after, Iditarod officials announced that four of Dallas Seavey’s dogs tested positive for banned opioid painkiller.

Seavey vehemently denied giving his dogs any painkillers. A year later, the Iditarod reversed course and cleared Seavey of any wrongdoing. But he skipped the Iditarod until this year, choosing to compete with his dogs in Europe instead.

He said he holds no animosity toward the Iditarod and said the entire Seavey family loves the race and what it means to Alaska. “I think things are all good with the Iditarod right now,” he said.

The pandemic didn’t stop the Iditarod from starting March 7 with 46 mushers. During the race, mushers have bypassed most rural Alaska villages that normally serve as checkpoints as a safety precaution, leaving the competitors to sleep in tent camps outside towns or under the stars in temperatures that have reached minus 55 degrees (minus 48 C).

Since then, nine have scratched including fan favorite Aliy Zirkle, who was injured in a fall in what she has said would be her last race. Another musher, Gunnar Johnson, was withdrawn after he tested positive for COVID-19. That left 36 teams on the trail.

The race route was changed and shortened this year. Mushers started the race near Willow, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Anchorage. From there, they traveled to the ghost town of Iditarod and then turned back around to finish in Willow.

A normal race is about 1,000 miles (1,609-kilometer), and takes mushers across the wilds of Alaska from Willow to the finish line in Nome, on the state’s Bering Sea coast.

Though the race was shortened, Seavey said he doesn’t think there should be an asterisk beside his name as the 2021 champion because the trail is different every year.

Seavey has started the race from the Anchorage area, from Fairbanks when there wasn’t enough snow further south, and he’s done the race’s northern and southern routes.

“When you beat everybody that shows up, you win on the trail they give you,” Seavey said.

Defending champion Thomas Waerner didn’t race this year because of uncertainty in arranging travel during the pandemic. He was stuck in Alaska for months after winning last year, and only got home to Norway after hitching a ride on a vintage airplane flying from Anchorage to its new home at a museum in Norway.

Partly due to the pandemic and pressure on sponsors by race critic People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the overall race purse was down 20%, to $400,000 this year. Seavey received $40,000 and a new snowmobile for winning the race, a prize that was about $10,000 less than what Waerner received last year.

Scottish Deerhound makes history, wins Best in Show again at 2021 National Dog Show

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The Scottish Deerhound has won Best in Show again at the 2021 National Dog Show, making it the first repeat champion in the competition’s history.

Claire the Scottish Deerhound beat out hundreds of dogs representing 180 breeds and varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club. She completed the same feat last year as well. First, she won the Hound Group in a field of 29 breeds. She then competed against the other six group winners before taking home the top honor. The Pyrenean Shepard, winner of the Herding Group, was named Reserve Best in Show.

Hear from Claire’s handler Angie Lloyd about the victory:

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 National Dog Show will only allow fully vaccinated spectators, which is a change from the previous event. Last year, the competition was held without spectators, vendors, sponsors or media. Judging followed strict safety guidelines, including social distancing, wearing masks and monitoring temperatures of all participants. The competition was also limited to 600 dogs, a 70% decrease from the nearly 2,000 who compete in a regular year. Read more about the National Dog Show’s vaccination policy for the 2021 edition.

The Kuvasz won the Working Group; the Bulldog won the Non-Sporting Group; the Lakeland Terrer won the Terrier Group; and the Affenpinscher won the Toy Group; and the German Shorthaired Pointer won the Sporting Group.

This year, one breed made its National Dog Show debut. The Biewer Terrier (pronounced like beaver), which competed in the Toy Group, originated in Germany as a tri-colored Yorkie.In 2007, Mars Veterinary geneticists studying the DNA from 10 Biewer Terriers determined that it was a bonafide breed, stemming from the dominant traits of four others – Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Havanese and Bichon Frise – making it the first breed ever to be recognized as purebred as a result of a genetic study. The breed is long-haired and tri-colored with a soft-silky coat and its feathered tail curled over its back.

Related: Full list of breeds at 2021 National Dog Show

NBC televised the 2021 National Dog Show directly after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the 20th straight year. Every year, more than 20 million people tune in for the event, which was commentated by longtime hosts John O’Hurley and David Frei. Mary Carillo also returned for more commentary, analysis and behind-the-scenes looks at one of the oldest dog shows in the world.

Full list of breeds at the 2021 National Dog Show

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For its annual TV special “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina,” NBC records the judging, examination and walk of all breeds and varieties competing in the annual event so that dog lovers and aficionados can get a close-up look at their breeds of interest.

The exclusive video generates heavy interest from enthusiasts around the world with a total of 160 breeds and varieties featured with backdrop audio of the breed description from PA announcer Wayne Ferguson, President of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia.

Related: Download the 2021 National Dog Show program,

Groups

Best In Show | All Group Winners

Herding Group | Winner

Hound Group | Winner

Non-Sporting Group | Winner

Sporting Group | Winner

Terrier Group | Winner

Toy Group | Winner

Working Group | Winner

 

Herding Group (All Dogs | Winner)

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Shepherd

Bearded Collie

Beauceron

Belgian Laekenois

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Sheepdog

Belgian Tervuren

Bergamasco

Berger Picard

Border Collie

Briard

Canaan Dog

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Collie (Rough)

Collie (Smooth)

Finnish Lapphund

German Shepherd Dog

Miniature American Shepherd

Old English Sheepdog

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Puli

Pumi

Pyrenean Shepherd

Shetland Sheepdog

Spanish Water Dog

 

Hound Group (All Dogs | Winner)

Afghan Hound

American Foxhound

Azawakh

Basenji

Basset Hound

Beagle (15 inches)

Bloodhound

Borzoi

Bluetick Coonhound

Cirneco dell’Etna

Dachshund (Longhaired)

Dachshund (Smooth)

Dachshund (Wirehaired)

Greyhound

Ibizan Hound

Irish Wolfhound

Norwegian Elkhound

Otterhound

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Pharaoh Hound

Plott

Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

Redbone Coonhound

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Saluki

Scottish Deerhound

Sloughi

Treeing Walker Coonhound

Whippet

 

Non-Sporting Group (All Dogs | Winner)

American Eskimo

Bichon Frise

Boston Terrier

Bulldog

Chinese Shar-Pei

Chow Chow

Coton de Tulear

Dalmatian

French Bulldog

Keeshond

Lhasa Apso

Löwchen

Poodle (Miniature)

Poodle (Standard)

Schipperke

Shiba Inu

Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Terrier

Xoloitzcuintli

 

Sporting Group (All Dogs | Winner)

Barbet

Brittany

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Clumber Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel (ASCOB)

Cocker Spaniel (Black)

Cocker Spaniel (Parti-Color)

Curly-Coated Retriever

English Cocker Spaniel

English Setter

English Springer Spaniel

Field Spaniel

Flat-Coated Retriever

German Shorthaired Pointer

Golden Retriever

Gordon Setter

Irish Red & White Setter

Irish Setter

Irish Water Spaniel

Labrador Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

Pointer

Spinone Italiano

Sussex Spaniel

Vizsla

Weimaraner

Welsh Springer Spaniel

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

 

Terrier Group (All Dogs | Winner)

Airedale Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

Australian Terrier

Bedlington Terrier

Border Terrier

Cairn Terrier

Cesky Terrier

Colored Bull Terrier

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Irish Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier

Lakeland Terrier

Miniature Bull Terrier

Miniature Schnauzer

Norfolk Terrier

Norwich Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

Rat Terrier

Russell Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Sealyham Terrier

Skye Terrier

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Welsh Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

White Bull Terrier

Wire Fox Terrier

 

Toy Group (All Dogs | Winner)

Affenpinscher

Biewer Terrier

Brussels Griffon

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Chinese Crested

English Toy Spaniel (B&PC)

English Toy Spaniel (KC&R)

Havanese

Italian Greyhound

Japanese Chin

Long Coat Chihuahua

Miniature Pinscher

Papillon

Pekingese

Pomeranian

Pug

Smooth Coat Chihuahua

Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Manchester Terrier

Toy Poodle

Yorkshire Terrier

 

Working Group (All Dogs | Winner)

Akita

Alaskan Malamute

Bernese Mountain Dog

Black Russian Terrier

Boxer

Bullmastiff

Cane Corso

Doberman Pinscher

Dogo Argentino

Dogue de Bordeaux

German Pinscher

Giant Schnauzer

Great Dane

Great Pyrenees

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Komondor

Kuvasz

Leonberger

Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff

Newfoundland

Portuguese Water Dog

Rottweiler

Saint Bernard

Samoyed

Siberian Husky

Standard Schnauzer

Tibetan Mastiff

Related: What to know about the National Dog Show

NBCSports.com also includes highlights from the TV special and behind-the-scenes video, capturing all the backstage canine energy of one of the country’s oldest and most well-known dog shows.

The two-hour special airs on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the 19th straight year. It annually attracts a total audience of more than 20 million people as America’s most prominent and widely-viewed showcase for the sport.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Dog Show will only allow fully vaccinated spectators. Read more about the National Dog Show’s vaccination policy for the 2021 edition.

Watch NBC’s coverage of the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving day, November 25, directly after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 12-2 p.m. local time on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.