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American Humane Kicks Off 2023 Hero Dog Awards, Nominations Now Open

Known as the “Oscars” for canines, the annual campaign to honor top working dogs has been running strong for 12 years


Today, American Humane—the country’s first national animal welfare organization—is officially kicking off the 2023 Hero Dog Awards. It’s an annual, nationwide competition that searches for and recognizes America’s standout dogs. Winners are often ordinary four-legged companions that do extraordinary things—including saving lives on the battlefield, lending their human best friend with sight or hearing, and overall contributing to the well-being of people.

“The Hero Dog Awards help us to celebrate the strength, hope, and happiness that dogs bring to our lives,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Dogs are truly man’s best friend, and like the voting public, we are captivated by the heartwarming stories of these courageous canines who show unconditional love to their human companions. It’s only right that we host these awards to give these dogs the recognition they deserve.”

Americans can nominate their four-legged friends beginning today at This year’s categories include: Law Enforcement and Detection Dogs; Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs; Military Dogs; Rescue and Emerging Hero Dogs.

The Hero Dog Awards pay tribute to the extraordinary working dogs from across the country. With more than one million votes cast each year, the initiative culminates with a star-studded gala awards show that will be broadcasted on national television. Celebrities that have participated in the past include Betty White, Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Martin Short, and Paris Hilton, among many others.

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