Australian Dog of the Year - Puppy Tales

The Original

Australian Dog Of The Year AwardS

puppy logo w

2024 Australian dog of the year Winners

Aust dog of the year 2024 finalist Kali

Australian Dog of the Year 2024


“The Gentle, Trusted Therapy Dog”

Charity: Animal Aid

I’m Kali & I’ve worked as an accredited Therapy Dog & Story Dog for almost 11 years. I’ve supported people at the bushfires in Gippsland. Many cried into my fur, & it was reported in newspapers.

I went to Parliament as a representative for Amendments to the Domestic Animal Bill. I work with adults with complex disabilities & as a Story Dog to support children’s literacy.

I also attend Latrobe Regional Hospital including in the Emergency Department, Cancer Care & the Ambulance Bay. I’ve represented at events including the Dog Lovers Show & Melbourne University.

I am happy when I make other people happy. And I’ve also taught my new sister Leiha how to be a therapy dog.

Aust dog of the year 2024 finalist Heidi

People’s Choice 2024

HEIDI, Aust Cattledog x Koolie

“A Heart Dog Making a Difference”

Charity: D.A.R.E. Rescue

Heidi is a rescue dog from RSPCA. She’s now 13 years young, & that one-in-a-lifetime Heart Dog. My father had extreme dementia. Heidi got herself on his bed & lay beside him for three days. His waving hands would touch her. My dad was soothed, as she patted her. I would find her in Dad’s special chair, or on his bed, and I knew she was talking with him. I wished I could have.

Heidi currently holds 39 Titles. She’s a Tracking Champion, Track and Search Grand Champion, Agility Champion & Rally Obedience Champion. She has Advanced Tricks, Advanced Dancing With Dogs & Endurance Dog titles. 

Heidi is the classic Aussie Battler. She has cancer & nearly died from chemo. Despite this, she’s ballsy, stoic, headstrong & so incredibly loving.

Pet circle Paws-itive change award

Nessie, English Springer Spaniel

“Conservation Dog Extraordinare”

Nessie, the Conservation Detection Dog from SA, is a true hero in the fight to save the endangered Hooded Plovers. Over two seasons, Nessie has scoured the metropolitan & Fleurieu Peninsula’s coastal landscapes. She’s successfully located 180 fox dens that posed a grave threat to the survival of these tiny, ground-nesting birds.

Her versatility shines as she now also tackles the conservation of Pygmy Blue Tongue lizards, detecting them in intricate spider burrows. Nessie is also a proficient Search and Rescue dog – adept at trailing the scent of missing humans & dogs.

Nessie’s impact extends to the upliftment of volunteer morale. She’s the heartbeat of the team devoted to safeguarding the Hooded Plovers.

Aust dog of the year 2024 finalist Nessie


At this time of year, there’s a lot of attention given to the hooman Australians of the Year. Hoomans are furbulous, but where would we be without our faithful furry friends?

Because our dogs have made such an incredible impact in our lives, Puppy Tales is proud to head up the search for the 2025 Australian Dog of the Year for the third year!

The True Spirit of Australia

Our dogs, fur babies, canine companions and furry offsiders have brought us through an extremely tough couple of years and they have continued to contribute to society in many, many ways. To recognise the services they provide in communities, to humans and their unyielding devotion in the face of gloomy pawrents, tough times, and the occasional vacuum cleaner, we’re looking to acknowledge pooches from across Australia.

We’re looking for the canine that represents the essence of the Australian doggo — love, courage, inspiration, assistance and fur-iendship.

Is your doggo the noblest of pooches? Do they embody the spirit to be the Australian Dog of the Year? Submit your nomination below for the chance to win some pawsome prizes and of course the coveted title of Australian Dog of The Year!

The Prizes


• $1000 Donation to Charity / NFP of their Choice
• Photography Session & ‘The Bailey’ Collection from Puppy Tales (minimum value $4000)
• Personalised trophy of the winning dog (Value $300)
• Media Campaign with Pet Journo announcing your title to the Australian Media
• $250 Pet Circle Gift Card


• $250 Donation to Charity / NFP of their Choice
• Photography Session and Large Canvas from Puppy Tales (Value $1250)
• Media Campaign with Pet Journo announcing your title to the Australian Media
• $100 Pet Circle Gift Card


We know that all doggos are deserving of acclaim, so we’re going to gift TEN (10) Puppy Tales Photography Gift Cards to other good boys & girls nominated to show our pup-preciation.

• $450 Puppy Tales Photography Gift Card

A few places you may have seen the awards

Seven News 2020
Network 10 2018 print
ABC News logo
sunrise logo
Studio 10 logo
Logo of the Canberra Times
australian vet logo stacked
ABC Radio
Womans Day
take5 Logo
ADL Logo Transparent
guide dogs 21
Story Dogs Logo

What kind of dogs are we looking for?

Because our doggos are as wonderfully diverse as our nation, there’s no knowing which pupper is going to earn the title of the Australian Dog of the Year. Any dog who has made an impact in the lives of people, other animals or the environment could be selected as a finalist and win! Here’s a list of some of the kinds of dogs we’d love to hear from and showcase in our awards:

  • Guide dogs or hearing dogs
  • Therapy dogs in their wide variety of roles
  • Dogs who have helped someone with disabilities or health challenges
  • Dogs in reading programs or assistance at schools
  • Dogs involved in wildlife detection or protection
  • Dogs who have located, rescued or saved people, or other pets
  • Police and combat dogs
  • Other working dogs
  • Dogs that are blood donors
  • A best friend who has gotten you through a tough time (like the years of a worldwide pandemic or horrible environmental disasters 🙄)

Dogs being nominated don’t have to have a specific job, role or incredible su-paw talent, they just simply have to have made a change, created impact or brought happiness in the lives of others!

Why the 26th of January?

As we all know, Australia Day is currently on the January 26th. At Puppy Tales, we hope that Australia Day will be moved to another date in the future so that ALL Australians can feel part of the celebration of our wonderful nation. We have aligned our awards with Australia Day because we believe that the contribution our dogs make should also be celebrated at the same time as the recognition given to amazing humans.

2023 Winners

Puppy Tales is incredibly pleased to announce the Winner and the People’s Choice in the Australian Dog of the Year Awards 2023. 

Meet and learn of the other incredible finalists in this year’s awards here.

Thank you to al those who nominated, voted and supported the awards. It was SO INCREDIBLE to read through all your stories. They were moving, funny and always endearing. It was genuinely heartwarming. We’re all winners for the incredible dogs that share our lives 🥰.

Nominations are now closed.

Thank you to all those that have nominated an incredible & deserving dog. 

To meet the amazing Finalist Dogs for 2023 and Vote in the People’s Choice Award HERE.

Enter Here

Enter the ‘Australian Dog of the Year 2025’ by entering your details below:

Your Dog’s Details
Upload a photo of your dog
Your Details

Previous Winners

puppytalesphotography dogsname 1

Australian Dog of the Year 2023

Baloo, Labrador

“The Lifesaving Seizure Alert Dog”

Charity: Epilepsy Action Australia

Baloo provides an incredible service ~ she’s literally a life saver ~ to her human Dani.

“I’ve lived with uncontrolled epilepsy for 11 years. Baloo is a seizure alert assistance dog who alerts 3 to 5 minutes prior to oncoming seizures. She’s saved my life multiple times, including when I’ve stopped breathing and required CPR. She also protects me from falls daily. Baloo has given me back my life back”

Prior to life with Baloo, Dani could not be alone at any time. Baloo choose her and proved herself by alerting her to a seizure at their first meeting. She protects her from falls daily, is by her side when she needs to go to the hospital and has given her independence.

Australian Dog of the Year Peoples Choice 2023

People’s Choice – 2023

Elton, Labrador

“A Light in Dark Assistance Dog”

Charity: Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation

Elton is an assistance dog for 7-year-old Charlie who
has autism, an intellectual disability, and a severe
heart condition.

“Charlie’s had over 120 hospital admissions and has
already had 2 strokes and 7 heart surgeries. Elton
has been with Charlie for some hospital admissions
and is learning to help with seizures. He protects Charlie. What comforts Charlie is getting a big
hug from Elton. He brings light to very hard times,” says mum Melissa Clode.

Elton also brings joy to other children in the wards and the doctors and nurses there.

Australian Dog of the Year 2022

Harry, Collie x

“The Blind Story Dog”

Charity: Story Dogs

Harry is our blind rescue dog. He’s a Story Dog at our local school, where he listens to reluctant readers, and helps build up their confidence. Harry, being blind, can’t tell what the story is from looking at the pictures, so I would ask the children to read carefully so Harry could understand. Harry also helped students understand that having a disability, or being different, does not mean you weren’t special, or couldn’t have fun or make friends. In 2021, my husband was diagnosed with facial nerve cancer, and now has impaired vision. Harry taught him to see with his heart and showed him that you can still have a purpose. Harry taught him to delight in what he does have: Life. Harry is our Paralympian, bringing home gold every day!

Harry Collie x square

Harry the Story Dog is now funded by Puppy Tales.

Poppi Lab cross Retriever Square

People’s Choice 2022 –

Poppi, Labrador x

“The Canine Counsellor”

Charity: Guide Dogs Australia

9 Years ago I lost my sight, my job and the ability to do ordinary things like cross roads or cook. I lost all hope. Guide Dogs Australia gave me Poppi. It was hard to be scared to leave my front door when Poppi was so excited to go.

I had a goal to complete a counselling degree. With Poppi I was able to catch trains, find class rooms, and feel safe to study. Poppi attended all the classes and co-counselled during placement. She’s a brilliant counsellor who has brought comfort to many. She’s graduating with an honorary degree in March.

Poppi has made the ordinary for me not only possible, but extraordinary.

Rocky Spaniel Square copy

Partner prize – pet circle – 2022 –

Rocky, English Springer Spaniel

“The Wildlife Protector”

Charity: Turtle Care Queensland

Rocky single-handedly saves the lives of 30,000 endangered green loggerhead and flat back turtle hatchlings each year in two of the most important turtle rookeries on the Australian eastern seaboard. Rocky also helps protect the 10,000 endangered Mary River turtles through ridding the river banks of foxes. And he has helped restore the population of critically endangered bilbies from feral cats at the RAMSAR listed Currawinya National Park.  

Rocky’s job is tough and dangerous, and he shows courage everyday. He’s survived a black snake bite in doing his work. He’s truly a hero to many & a friend to all native Australian creatures.

Australian Dog of the Year 2021 –

Dmitri, Borzoi

My first memory of my boy was when I went to meet him and his littermates. I fell in love as soon as I saw him. He was shy, but he has these big brown eyes that make me melt, even 5 years later.

In the past year, we’ve been through so much together. I went through a breakup, had to move in with my brother while I got back on my feet, all in the midst of a global pandemic. Dmitri was by my side through it all, and I couldn’t have gotten through it without him. He is so special to me.

puppytalesphotography dimtri borzoi 1

About Puppy Tales

Happy Dogs, Happy People

If your phone is dominated by photos of dogs, we’re barking up the same tree because Puppy Tales believes dogs aren’t just important to our lives, they are family and a source of tremendous joy. Puppy Tales is for anyone who thinks puppies smell delicious or can’t help but smile when they meet a dog. We know the difference dogs make in life, and celebrate this.

Our Mission

Our mission is to inspire people to make the most of life with dogs through:

  • Capturing and sharing photography to brighten the day of dog lovers everywhere
  • Sharing heartfelt & inspirational dog stories
  • Encouraging dog-inclusive lifestyles, activities, adventures & travels
  • Being a valuable resource of information on keeping dogs happy and healthy
  • Growing relationships and collaboration between like-minded people, businesses and brands
  • Sharing news and products of benefit to your dog or which make life with a dog easier

Puppy Tales also offers practical info and tips; from veterinary advice to products that enrich life with your fur pal we cover a wide range of dog-centric topics.

Puppy Tales content is created by regular contributors who are experts in their field such as veterinarians and our founder, an Australian pet photographer of the Year, Kerry Martin.


MEET Kerry

puppytalesphotography Bridestowe Lavender Estate TAS

behind thE AWARDs, Behind the camera and behind DOGS all the way

Kerry Martin – award-winning photographer, author & pet parent!

Kerry Martin is a passionate dog lover. Crazy some may even say 😉! She’s dog mum to two much-adored (and much-spoilt!) dogs, Keiko & Summer. ^^^^ that’s them!

“They give my days fun, exercise and meaning. I don’t know what my life would look like without them, and for this Aussie fur-mum, they are the Australian doggos of the decade! They, along with the many, many amazing dogs I’ve photographed as a dog photographer are the inspiration behind these awards. I want to share stories of their amazing feats, I want to highlight the very im-paw-tant jobs they are doing and I want to showcase just how incredible dogs are”.

For Kerry, as the human behind Puppy Tales and a community aiming to help and inspire pet parents live their most pawsome life together, dogs, photography & travel are what matters most to her. 

She has been a professional photographer for over 12 years. She’s a Master of Photography and has won multiple National & International Awards. The most notable of these awards include Australian and Victorian Pet and Animal Photographer of the Year. These awards were with photos taken for pawrents just like you. Each pet offers something incredibly unique and special, and each session is treated like an award-winning one.

Kerry also loves to write & share about dogs, travel and adventures together. In addition to content for Puppy Tales, she’s written articles for popular dog publications including Dog Life Magazine, Pets and Dogs NSW. She’s also been interviewed and/or contributed expertise to articles in publications including Travel with Dogs by Lonely Planet, Herald Sun, Sydney Morning Herald, Sunday Tasmanian, Capture and Digital Photography Magazine. And she’s appeared on television talking about travelling with dogs (Channel Nine TODAY Show) and dog photography (Channel 10 Pooches at Play and Channel 10 Animal Extra). Her first book Dog Tales of Australia is available now.

A few {more} places you may have seen Kerry & Puppy Tales

Capture Magazine
today show logo
273854799 339011911565543 18010767065564867 n
New H2H Masthead
Pooches at Play logo w lara shannon
Dogs Life logo
Digital Photography Magazine
channel 9 logo
Herald Sun
Vet logo 2019 Black 1
Animal Extra Logo
abc canberra
Copyright © 2024 Puppy Tales. All Rights Reserved.

Join the Puppy Tales Pack for your
FREE Guide to the Best Dog Cafes in Melbourne & Victoria

We hate SPAM & promise to keep your email address safe.

Join the Puppy Tales Pack for your
FREE Downloadable template to create your Dog's Bucket List

We hate SPAM & promise to keep your email address safe.