Calling all canine heroes! Nominations open now for AKC Humane Fund Awards

January 11, 2024

The AKC Humane Fund is seeking your nominations for its AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). Nominations are open now through July 1, 2024. Winners will be announced in late 2024 and will be highlighted in a made-for-TV special.

Each year, the AKC Humane Fund, a not-for-profit organization, honors five dedicated, hardworking dogs for making significant contributions to an individual or entire community.

Since its creation in 2000, 120 ACE awards have been presented. Last year’s ACE recipients included a Labrador Retriever who is trained to sniff out hidden electronic devices to prove sex offenders and traffickers guilty, and a Border Collie who’s a fan favorite on and off the football field at New Mexico State University.

“There are so many extraordinary dogs that better our lives,” said Doug Ljungren, President of the AKC Humane Fund. “The annual ACE Awards gives us the opportunity to acknowledge these canine heroes and share their inspiring stories.”

The AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence are proudly sponsored by Eukanuba and YuMOVE.

One award is given in each of the following five categories:

  • Uniformed Service K-9
    Eligibility: Full-time working K-9s in the realms of city, county, state, or federal law enforcement; the military; firefighting; customs and border patrol; emergency services.
  • Exemplary Companion
    Eligibility: Dogs without formal training or certification that have nonetheless distinguished themselves in some way and have made a meaningful contribution to their owners or communities.
  • Search and Rescue
    Eligibility: Dogs certified to assist in wilderness and urban tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and locating missing people.
  • Therapy
    Eligibility: Certified therapy dogs working in hospitals, schools, disaster sites, war zones, and wherever else the affection of a good dog can provide comfort.
  • Service
    Eligibility: Service dogs who enrich the lives of physically or mentally disabled owners, including, but not limited to, guide dogs for the blind, seizure-alert dogs, hearing dogs, balance dogs.

(Note: Nominees doing therapy work without certification are considered in the Exemplary Companion category.)

Honorees of the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) will receive $1,000 to be awarded to a pet-related charity of their choice.

Anyone, including the dog’s owner or handler, may submit a nomination. Past nominations are eligible for resubmission for these awards. The AKC does not accept posthumous nominations.

Submissions for the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence for 2024 must include:

  • A digital photograph of the dog. Files must be larger than 1MB in size and a minimum of 300 dpi. The photo should feature solely the nominated dog.
  • A 500-word-or-less description of how the dog has demonstrated excellence.
  • The dog’s call name, breed, age, and sex.
  • Owner’s/nominator’s name(s), address(es), phone number(s), and e-mail address(es).

 Nomination should be sent to:

 Research contact: @akcdoglovers