2014 is the year of the bloodhound.
Beating out thousands of other dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds, Nathan, a gorgeous bloodhound, captured Best in Show at the 2014 National Dog Show.
Nathan and his handler, Heather Helmer, were able to narrowly beat out the Samoyed, who earned Reserve Best in Show. Here's a look at all the winners from the event, which has become an annual staple of Thanksgiving Day.
|2014 National Dog Show: Terrier Group|
|Best in Class||Smooth Fox Terrier||GCh Absolutely Signature|
|Second||Scottish Terrier||GCh Mcvans To Russia With Love|
|Third||Norfolk Terrier||GCh Yarrow Venerie Ticket To Ride|
|Fourth||American Staffordshire Terrier||GCh Angarda Deja Vu Looking At You|
Known for their energy and, ahem, dogged determination, dogs from the Terrier Group are an undoubtedly exciting bunch.
The Wire Fox Terrier won Best in Show in both 2011 and 2012, and the Norfolk Terrier took Reserve Best in Show last year (the Terrier Group has produced five overall winners since the competition's inception in 2001), but it was the playful Smooth Fox Terrier taking the always competitive group.
|2014 National Dog Show: Toy Group|
|Best in Class||Affenpinscher||GCh Yarrows Hi-Tech Ben There Done That|
|Second||Pekingese||GCh Pequest General Tso|
|Third||Pug||GCh Capers Sirius Endeavor|
|Fourth||Toy Fox Terrier||GCh Ultra Quest Go For The Gold NAJ|
While many groups in the show feature dogs that are adept at hunting, the dogs from the Toy Group class don't have nearly as many functions.
Still, there's little doubt that the ferocious little guys are filled with personality and provide their owners with endless amounts of joy. Just take a look at the Pekingese, which finished second, and try not to smile:
|2014 National Dog Show: Working Group|
|Best in Class||Samoyed||GCh Pebbles Run Play It Again Ham|
|Second||Akita||GCh CR – Wicca’s Trade Secret|
|Third||Bernese Mountain Dog||GCh Tallpines Life Of The Party|
|Fourth||Standard Schnauzer||GCh Mistics Longfellow Serenade|
Intelligent and powerfully built, Working Group dogs are perhaps best known for their ability to perform outdoor tasks, such as pulling sleds. However, they are also very capable guard dogs.
While the beautiful Samoyed was certainly deserving of the Best in Group distinction (and Reserve Best in Show), it may just have been the Komondor—otherwise known as the car wash dog—who stole the show:
|2014 National Dog Show: Sporting Group|
|Best in Class||Setter (Gordon)||GCh Sandpipers Shore Why Knot!|
|Second||Spaniel (Field)||GCh Sandscape Pardon Me Boys|
|Third||Retriever (Golden)||GCh Forevers All Jacked Up CGC|
|Fourth||Weimaraner||GCh Docs Greyborn North Star Of Acadia|
Many of the dogs from the Sporting Group are unsurprisingly tremendous hunters, but they are also fantastic companions. Purina's Twitter feed noted an intriguing fact about one particular breed:
Perhaps the most famous breed of the group is the Golden Retriever, but the sturdy, muscular Gordon Setter was able to capture top honors this year.
|2014 National Dog Show: Hound Group|
|Best in Class||Bloodhound||GCh Flessner’s International S’Cess|
|Second||Beagle 15 Inch||GCh Pun Kotzky Treasure Island|
|Third||Scottish Deerhound||GCh Foxcliffe Chelsea Piers|
|Fourth||Treeing Walker Coonhound||GCh Cherry Creek Confetti|
The Hound Group is a relatively new one, as it recently separated from the Sporting Group, proving that college athletics aren't the only ones with conference realignment.
Known for their scenting prowess, hounds are clearly gaining in popularity and have now produced two consecutive Best in Show victors. An American Fox Hound took the honor in 2013, preceding Nathan's big win this year.
|2014 National Dog Show: Non-Sporting Group|
|Best in Class||French Bulldog||GCh Divas Bastille My Heart|
|Second||Xoloitzcuintli||GCh Bayshore Georgio Armani|
|Third||Dalmatian||GCh Merry Go Round Coach Master|
|Fourth||Chinese Shar-Pei||Ch Tzo Wen N Xiao Mais Rhythm Of Rio|
The Non-Sporting Group is known for its variety. Featuring everything from my personal favorite, the Chow Chow, to the famous Dalmation, it is an extremely diverse group.
As such, there were plenty of solid choices for the judge, but the French Bulldog—and its widely recognizable face—was undoubtedly a deserving winner.
|2014 National Dog Show: Herding Group|
|Best in Class||Bearded Collie||GCh Dunhill Steeler Nation|
|Second||Australian Shepherd||GCh Legacys Power Play|
|Third||Shetland Sheepdog||GCh Acadia Stage Presence|
|Fourth||Bouvier des Flandres||GCh Obvious Sonic Boom|
As the name suggests, dogs from the Herding Group are all capable of controlling the movement of other animals. Collies, Sheepdogs and German Shepherds are all members of the impressive group.
After an exciting 2014 edition, fans will once again be looking ahead to Thanksgiving 2015 for the annual tradition to continue.
However, dog show fans won't have to wait much longer for competition as February's Westminster Dog Show will surely captivate fans as it does every year too.