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2023 Australian Dog of the Year Revealed

Dogs recognised for inspiring and making an impact in communities across Australia

From Seizure Alert Dogs and Psychiatric Assistance Dogs to Blood Donor Dogs, Conservation Dogs and Police Dogs, and every honourable pooch in between, the Australian Dog of the Year Awards have once again confirmed just how remarkable and inspiring our dogs are!

Puppy Tales announces the 2023 Australian Dog of the Year and People’s Choice Award – dogs recognised for inspiring and making an incredible impact in the lives of people and communities.

“With these awards, we’re reminded again and again of just how incredible our doggos are, and seen how ordinary Paw-stralians from all across Australia have helped their people, made a difference to others and be outstanding fur-citizens in the communities that they live in,” said Kerry Martin, international award-winning pet photographer and founder of Puppy Tales, a website aimed at helping pet owners make the most of life with their fur family.

You can read all the finalists’ full entries here 

The 2023 Australian Dog of the Year will receive a $1000 donation (by Puppy Tales) to the registered charity of the winner’s choice, a $1,000 photography experience with Puppy Tales Photography and a $250 Gift Card from Pet Circle. In addition, there is the People’s Choice Award and Gift Cards for 14 finalists – total prize pool valued at more than $5,000!

“The Australian Dog of the Year Award pays it forward with a generous donation from Puppy Tales to the winner’s preferred charity and recognises the work they do for communities across the country,” said Kerry.

Australian Dog of the Year

Baloo, seizure alert dog (Ipswich, QLD) 

Chosen charity: Epilepsy Action Australia

Dani Stevens, 28, lived with uncontrolled epilepsy for 11 years and could not be alone at any time. Then Baloo came and not only saved her life multiple times, but also gave her independence.

“Baloo 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. She’s my little shadow.

At night time, she sleeps on my bed and wakes me up at night and barks to alert,” says Dani Stevens.

People’s Choice Award 

  • Elton, Assistance Dog (Canberra, ACT)

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.

Special Mentions

Kerry found all the finalists and many other nominations to be amazing dogs but would like to give a special mention to finalists Keegan and Delia the Labradors. (Their stories here)

Kerry said, “Keegan is an amazing guide dog and like all dogs in this role has given his human Janice independence and the ability to complete 118 park runs to be crowned a QLD State person. He also senses and settles her after PTSD flare-ups.

“And Delia is a Psychiatric Assistance Dog to Suzanne who has PTSD and anxiety from her service in the Navy. Delia has given Suzanne the ability to leave home - she’s a lifeline to the world.”

Photo Credit: Puppy Tales Photography

About Kerry Martin & Puppy Tales

Kerry Martin is a Melbourne-based and international award- winning family and pet photographer who considers pets (like children) very much part of the family. It’s for this very reason that she specialises in portraiture photography that includes the entire family!

Kerry is also Editor of Puppy Tales, a website devoted to the promotion of wonderful relationships between dogs and people. This means exploring the further integration of dogs into our society and highlighting the benefits and enjoyment they can bring to all members of our community.

Kerry has received many photography awards over the past decade, including Master of Photography and Australian Pet/Animal Photographer of the Year.

To discover more, visit

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