Each year The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show awards ‘Best in Show’ to one lucky dog – but what about the humans? Well, dog enthusiasts can rejoice, now in its 14th year, the Kennel Club’s Dog Photographer of the Year recognizes the most talented photographers who are able to capture the best canine photo on their camera.
The international competition received almost 7,000 entries from over 70 different countries around the globe, including Brazil, Canada, USA, China, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. They were sorted into ten different categories and a special mention category: Portrait, Man’s Best Friend, Dogs At Play, Dogs At Work, Puppy, Oldies, I Love Dogs Because – for entrants aged between 12 and 17 years old – Young Pup Photographer – for entrants aged 11 and under – and Assistance Dogs and Rescue Dogs.
This year, Denise Czichocki, from Switzerland, won the overall competition with a picture of her 14-year-old Podengo rescue dog, Merlin. Said Czichocki: “I am really proud and overwhelmed, I still can’t believe it! There are so many good photographers out there and I won this title, it is absolutely amazing. ‘I have always loved to take pictures of everything, and my passion for dog photography started when I had my own, I wanted to create lovely memories of all of them. Over the years I have developed my photography to become more emotional.”
Other winners included ‘The Little Twins,’ by Monica van der Maden from the Netherlands, who received first place in the ‘Puppies’ category with a snap of her Weimaraner pups Macy and Vino.
The Winner of Dog Photographer of the Year 2019 receives a dedicated capsule exhibition of their dog photographs in the Kennel Club Art Gallery, London, also displayed in the Kennel Club Art Gallery as part of the 2019 Winners Exhibition. Additionally, they will receive a custom print from Loxley Colour, trophy, rosette and certificate.
Scroll down to check out all of the beautiful shots of these pups and don’t forget to upvote your favs!
Dogs At Work 1st Place Winner, ‘The Loyal Co-Workers’ By Dorine Scherpel, Canada
Dogs: Sam (L) and Laddie (R) (collie dogs, age 5 and 8) I was walking on this narrow country lane in The Lake District one February day this year when Laddie (right on the photograph) came happily barking towards me. As I have had dogs all my life and formed some extraordinary bonds with as well my own dogs as those of friends, I of course welcome any dog that wants to say hello. The owner (depicted on the photo) also greeted me and after a brief friendly exchange I continued on my route. Ten minutes later I heard this scooter notice behind me and turned around and saw this darling picture unfolding. To me this image portrays all you expect of a country dog’s life on a working farm. Their eagerness, their innocence and the way they so happily go wherever they may be needed makes them men’s best co-workers. I am not a photographer by profession but rather passionate baker. This photograph was solely taken to bring joy to my friends at home as I was exploring the beauty of the English countryside which I have loved all my life almost as much as dogs. I enrolled this photo in the competition not to win but simply to share with others as I am sure the scene will warm many hearts as it did mine.
Rescue Dogs Charity Category 1st Place Winner, ‘Finntastic’ By Anne Geier, Austria
Dog: Finn, Rescue dog cross breed I am a dog photographer from Austria. I have studied geography, but always knew that my true passion is the photography. Since 2014 I work as a dog photographer. The reason why I started to take photos was my first dog Cindy, she was also rescued from a shelter in Austria. First I just wanted to take photos of her to create moments for eternity but then a real passion arisen. Now I have two rescued dogs, Finn and Yuri. Both are from Rumania. Beside the photography I love travelling and hiking with my dogs. I think my assignment in life is to create living moments of dogs for their owners, try to show how beautiful beings dogs are and try to convince some people that rescued dogs are really awesome. For all those reasons I always try my best to show the soulful nature of the dogs in my photos. This photo shows my own dog Finn. I took the photo during our holiday in the Dolomites last year. We rescued Finn from Rumania in 2014. Since that time he fills our life with so much love. I never met another dog who has the same patience and calmness. He is such a lovely dog … and I always hope that all the people can feel his special power through my photos of him. I am nominating “Streunerhoffnung” dog rescue in Austria for the £500 donation from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. This rescue helped us to get a dog, called now Taavi, out of a shelter named Botosani. I am still very thankful to them.
Man’s Best Friend 3rd Place Winner, ‘Meeting Of The Minds’ By Michele Mccue, Canada
Dog: “KAT”, Standard long hair Dachshund puppy My husband and I reside on our farm west of Prince George B.C., Canada where I have the opportunity to do what I love…photography. My photography is primarily night images (Aurora Borealis, Stars and moon) although animal/dog photography is another favourite of mine. I have been a dog lover/owner all my life, we welcomed our newest member KAT the Dachshund into our lives last year and have never looked back! This photograph was taken one snowy winter morning, my husband came in from morning chores on our farm to sit down for his cup of tea and Kat leaped into his lap, they locked eyes, neither moved and I grabbed my camera, the meeting of the minds continued for several seconds until my husband spoke, Kat then washed his face with several kisses! To capture a moment, to tell a story through the lens of my camera brings me great joy, thank you so much for choosing this image as it is very dear to me.
Rescue Dogs Charity Category 2nd Place Winner, ‘Curiosity’ By Tianhang Zhang, China
Dog: Borzoi，no names I graduated from Nottingham Trent University as a graduate student where I studied dog photography. After graduation, I returned to China to work as a full-time pet photographer and raised three dogs, one of which was a adopted (rescue dog). I really enjoy being with my dogs. I thank them every day for coming into my life. When I took pictures of them, they had just been abandoned by a kennel. My friend temporarily adopted them and tried to find a new home for them. When I visited them for the first time, they stared at me curiously. Then I waved my camera, playing with them and snapping pictures. In front of people, they are like innocent children. It’s hard to imagine the ferocity of their hunting. I miss the time when I interacted with them and I will never forget their lovely faces. Now these lucky guys all have their new homes and live with their people who really love them.
Portrait 1st Place Winner, ‘Honey Saluki’ By Anastasia Vetkovskaya, Russia
Dog: Jozelin, Saluki, owner Eremina Lesya I love working with sighthounds! They are beautiful dogs but it’s not always easy to find an approach to them. Toys and treats – usual props of any animal photographer – are rather useless with these creatures. Each time I should come up with a new idea to make it work with particular dog. This shot was taken in a wonderful August morning with one experienced model of mine – saluki named Joseline. We arrived to location to found out that the field was all harvested. We had to look for another location very quickly. Luckily we’ve found another field! I like how attentive look of the pet owner’s eyes gave this shot a special feeling.
Assistance Dogs Charity Category 1st Place Winner, ‘Soul Comforter’ By Angelika Elendt, Germany
Dog: Lilly, cross breed and rescued dog With my photography I am supporting as a volunteer the animal welfare association „Die Seelentröster – Tiere helfen Menschen e. V.“ (The soul comforters – Animals help people), who works tirelessly for animals in need. An essential part of their engagement is also the animal-assisted work. Their four-legged protégés play an important role at healing processes in young and old peoples with mental, emotional and/or physical disabilities and sometimes cause true miracles. The picture was taken during the club’s work with some assistance dogs, trained for animal-assisted interventions, in a retirement home. Whenever I looked at this old lady suffering on depression and dementia she was completely apathetic and seemed to be captured in her own world. Towards the end of the visit, Lilly was put on her lap and suddenly the lady woke up from her lethargy: She started stroking the little dog and bent her head down to it. Whereupon Lilly raised her head and pressed it to her cheek for a little while – a very touching and heartfelt moment which I managed to capture in my picture. Lilly managed to get through to this old lady, who was beforehand always experienced as lethargic and utterly disinterested in social interactions. This once again shows the very special connection between dogs and human beings.
Dog Photographer Of The Year 2019 Overall Winner And Oldies Category 1st Place Winner, ‘Dreaming Merlin’ By Denise Czichocki, Switzerland
Dog: Merlin, rescued Podengo, 14 years old I was lucky to find this beautiful magnolia tree near my home in Switzerland. And still more lucky to get the chance to take photos of wonderful dogs in these magnolia. Merlin was one of them. He is a 14 years old Podenco rescued from a shelter who is happy to live his life since two years in a lovely home in Switzerland. It wasn’t easy to take photos of him because of his absolutely deafness. So I couldn’t work with noises to get his attention…afterwards it wasn’t necessary. He gave me so many beautiful moments as you can see in this picture. This is Merlin, beautiful, dreamy and kind of wise. A wonderful old dog with so much charisma.
Portrait 3rd Place Winner, ‘Synchronicity’ By Sheena Staples, Canada
Dog: “Synchro” cross breed (Border Collie / Staffordshire Terrier) This image was taken as part of a commissioned autumn-themed portrait session of Synchro and his two canine “sisters.” When I spotted the huge pile of raked-up leaves along the park path that so perfectly matched Synchro’s warm, orange eyes, I knew his portrait would be a stellar one. Synchro is a very talented and intense agility dog, and his laser focus and marvellous obedience really lent itself to capturing this moment. So did a piece of cheese! I am a long-time dog sport photographer but have been moving more into animal portraiture work where my aim is to provide clients with the sort of images that they’ll hang on their walls and enjoy forever. I’m lucky to live in the beautiful and natural Fraser Valley of BC, Canada, where we can go from sea to sky in a quick car ride, and the backdrop is lush and stunning virtually wherever we go. After decades of working in animal rescue and animal sheltering, I’ve managed to cobble together a canine family of nine, so I never run out of models to test locations and they are probably the most photographed dogs that ever lived – but I never fail to get excited about photographing someone else’s four legged family members. I feel lucky every day that I get to call photographing dogs my career.
Puppies Category 2nd Place Winner, ‘Father And Son’ By Carlos Aliperti, Brazil
Dogs: Border Collies I have a great passion for all my 5 faithful friends, however, this is a photograph with a very special meaning, because it is a moment of pure relationship between father (Toddy) and son (Ted) and that brings me a huge missing. On October 22, 2018 Toddy passed away, victim of a great cruelty: poisoning. Since then it is very difficult to overcome the loss and I consider this award a well-deserved tribute to my dear companion of all hours. I am a graphic designer and photography has an important presence in my work. Besides my dogs, my taste for photography is very eclectic because I photograph landscapes, architecture, industries, products, street and fine art.
Oldies Category, 2nd Place Winner, ‘Young At Heart’ By Cat Race, UK
Dog: Bailee, Labrador Retriever (bitch) This grey-faced gal had absolutely no concept of her ripening age. Right to the very end of her photo session at Beacon Fell, Bailee leapt and scrambled over logs smiling down at me hopefully for a snack! Although she had slowed down a little more with each grey hair appearing on her soft face, Bailee was as raring for adventure as she had ever been. I created this portrait in a bright wide angle format to accentuate the pup-like spirit that shone from her. I tucked myself in close as she gleefully watched my lens, capturing every grin – and drop of drool – that she had to give.
I Love Dogs Because… 2nd Place Winner, ‘Peace And Quiet’ By Luca Gombos, Hungary
Dog: Lia, Border Collie I am Luca Gombos, a 17-year-old girl from Hungary. I have two dogs and love spending my time with them- taking long walks in nature, doing agility and dog Frisbee, teaching tricks etc. We have had countless unforgettable moments together and I realized about 3 years ago the importance of capturing these moments. Since then I have photographed my dogs many times, and they are still the main reasons why I am picking up my camera. This particular photo was taken during our first holiday we took as a whole family. My two dogs, my parents and I spent a few days together away from home. One day, on a sweltering morning we were having a short nap, when I noticed that both of my dogs put their heads down on the sheets. There was something special in this moment maybe because I have not had this kind of experience with them before. Accordingly, I knew immediately I would not miss capturing it and make it everlasting.
Portrait 2nd Place Winner, ‘Mirror’ By Ria Putzker, Austria
Dog: Pumpkin the Catahoula Leopard Dog My name is Ria Putzker, I am 21 years old and I live in Vienna. Photography has been a part of me for a couple of years now and nowadays you can hardly see me without my camera in my hand! I love to take pictures of animals, especially dogs, since they never have a fake expression. I love to capture their joyful nature and to create memories that last forever! This photo was taken after a rainy weekend in summer which left a lot of huge puddles on the ground. I took the opportunity to photograph my friend’s beautiful dog in one of them. She had to stand still for about half a minute until the water was calm enough so you could see the reflection clearly, it was truly a magical moment and it is still one of my all-time favourite photos!
Dog: Belle, English Springer Spaniel Always alert, Belle takes advantage of exploring the fells of Buttermere in the Lake District while I take advantage of capturing her in the beautiful heather. This is one of the brief moments she paused. It was such a pleasure to watch her in her element, doing what comes naturally.
Dogs At Play Category 1st Place Winner, ‘Dirty Dog’ By Monica Van Der Maden, Netherlands
Dog: Waylon, Australian Shepherd This particular picture is one in my series off “Dirty Dogs.” I wanted to make something different instead of beautiful and clean dog portraits. I searched for a dog that loved to play in the mud… and yes Waylon loved it, and what I also wanted to achieve is to make people smile when they see this picture. I also can tell you that Waylon wasn’t the only one that was dirty that day…. the owner Petra and I were also very dirty that day!
I Love Dogs Because… 1st Place Winner, ‘Doggy Bed Time’ By Mariah Mobley, USA
Dog: Koby, AKA Puppy Einstein, (Miniature Pinscher/Lhasa Apso cross) My Name is Mariah Mobley, and I am 12 years old. I live on the beautiful Oregon Coast, in a small town called Waldport, with my family and our three dogs, Koby, Hunter, and Roxy. I have always loved animals, especially dogs, because they are so sweet, cuddly, and always happy to see you. I started taking pictures when I was a very little girl, and have loved it ever since. Taking photos of Koby is extra fun because he is my mom’s trick dog, so he knows lots, and lots of cool tricks, and loves to pose for the camera. He is really fun to play with too, we even do handstands together. He is a very sweet little love bug, who I love very much. I took this photo of Koby in my living room. I used a black cloth backdrop, and my mom helped pose Koby for me and also held the reflector. I took lots of photos of him holding his toy while wrapped in his blanket. This one was my very favourite.
Oldies Category, 3rd Place Winner, ‘Contented’ By Susan Lang, United Kingdom
Dog: Ozzy, 12 year old rescued Greyhound This is my Greyhound asleep with his head on the coffee table. It was something he did rarely so I had few opportunities to catch it on camera. It usually happened when he started getting off the sofa, then in true Greyhound style decided to lie down again. On this occasion the light coming through the window was just right and helped me to capture the shot. It’s one of my favourite photos of him and I’m glad to have it as I lost him to cancer 6 months later.
Dogs At Play Category 3rd Place Winner, ‘The Joy Of Living’ By Angela Blewaska, Germany
Dog: Bobby, Crossbreed Rhodesian Ridgeback ‘This photo was taken in one of my favourite photo shoots last year. What you cannot see in the photo is that Bobby lost his other eye. Still, he is one of the gentlest and happiest dogs I’ve ever photographed. Instead of posing, he preferred to play with the leaves or to sit down on my lap – despite his size.’
Puppy’s Category 3rd Place Winner. ‘Dark Dawn With Noah’ By Lotte Van Alderen, Netherlands
Dog: Noah, Labrador Retriever Little Noah was so much fun to photograph. Once in a while she suddenly got the zoomies and began running around like a crazy pup. It was a dark and rainy December morning and there were still some raindrops on the plants around us. Noah was completely wet from running around through the plants by the time we were done taking photo’s. Between those crazy moments she had some seconds of inner peace and rest. That’s when I took this shot. She sat down, looked up at her owner with her little wet ears and you could tell on her naughty nose that she was having a great time exploring the world.
Dog: Rebel, Jack Russell Cross I’m a Hungarian photographer living in the beautiful town of Eastbourne in East Sussex. I have been a photographer for about 7 years and I do portraits, weddings and travel photography. For me dog photography started about five years ago, when a girl called Agnes contacted me to take photos of her four months old puppy Alfie. That photo shoot was very significant in both my personal and professional life. Agnes is my fiancée now, Alfie is my best friend and I’ve been a passionate dog photographer ever since. About my image. The girl you can see in the picture is Kathleen and her dog is called Rebel. She is actually a trainer she teaches tricks to dogs. We live in the same town but met on social media. I saw her videos of doing these awesome tricks with her dogs and I just knew that I had to photograph them. I was particularly interested in the skip roping trick. I think the most challenging part was to find the right focal length and angle to capture them in a way that really showed how awesome was what they were doing. I love shooting against the sun. You lose some details and a bit if sharpness when you bring the shadows up, but for me it’s worth it, I just love the atmosphere of those shots.
Special Mention Assistance Dogs Charity Category, ‘Friends For Life’ By Luciana Veras, Brazil
Dog: Gaia, Golden Retriever In this image I try to capture all the interaction, complicity and friendship that exist between Raul and Gaia. Assistance dogs are divided by categories, but all of them are equally special and important in the lives of those who really need help, company and lots of love. Gaia is part of the São Paulo Dog Inclusion Project and it was trained to be a Wheelchair Assistance Dog, and I had the good fortune to follow her entire training period, recording incredible moments. Gaia has always shown extreme dedication and partnership in her training, and also a contagious joy, as if she knew all along how much her life mission is great. Service dogs are capable of transforming lives through unconditional love.
Special Mention Oldies Category, ‘Till The End Of Time’ By Monica Van Der Maden, Netherlands
Dog: Csoda, Hungarian Vizsla A couple of months ago I had an idea in my head and I made a model call on my Facebook page for senior Dogs … I received many reactions with beautiful dog pictures, so it was very difficult for me to choose one dog for this project but when I saw Csoda I knew he was the one I was looking for! When I saw him, my heart was melting because I adore senior dogs… they have so much wisdom and life experience and you can see that wisdom in their beautiful faces. We went to a big parking garage and there was a beautiful big window were I wanted to make the picture, and Csoda really understood what I wanted to make… a picture with a story.
Young Pup Photographer (Aged 11 Years And Under) 1st Place Winner, ‘Sea Dog’ By Sabine Wolpert, USA
Dog: Georgie, Havanese, 4 years old My name is Sabine and I grew up in Northern California in a rural community. I wanted a dog for as long as I can remember and on my 7th birthday I got the puppy I’d been waiting for, Georgie. I started getting into photography when I was nine. I love capturing moments especially moments with Georgie. This photo is a perfect example. I took this picture on a beach near my home. Georgie had been running around. She brought a clump of seaweed to me and I put it on her head. I expected her to shake it off but she seemed to like it so I took her picture.
Man’s Best Friend 1st Place Winner ‘Connected’ By Cat Race, UK
Dog: Inka, Munstalander (bitch) We had just wrapped up a warm June evening session with Annie-May and her Munsterlander Inka. As the two of them sat in front of the reservoir enjoying the summer air I could see a real moment unfolding between them. So I unhooked my camera from my Spider-Holster and released the shutter, forever preserving that heart-warming connection. Aside from chilling with Annie-May, Inka loved nothing more than tearing round after her tennis ball. Annie-May picked up the ball and beckoned her furry friend to her side. Inka patiently sat before her as she reached out, lapping up the attention. Each time the ball flew into the air, Inka would up leap after it, loyally bringing it back in return for a pat and exclamation of ‘Good girl!’ As they sat on the bank with sparkling bright light reflecting off the water behind them, I knew there was something so universal about the unspoken bond between a little girl and her dog. It was for this reason that in that moment I decided to make the portrait of them a silhouette – a faceless image that represents a bond felt not only by Annie-May and Inka but also by a whole ton of dog lovers across the globe. That warm fuzzy feeling that rises up when we reach out and pat our furry friends is undeniably one of the best feelings in the world.
Man’s Best Friend 2nd Place Winner, ‘White Cheesecake’ By Alexandra Novitskaya, Russia
Dog: Standard Poodle Cheesecake Hello, my name is Alexandra. Believe it or not, this is my first photo with a man since before I only took pictures of dogs. This photo was taken after an advertising photoshoot. Cheesecake was quite nervous in unusual surroundings of flash lamps and photo equipment. But it only took a jump into arms of his beloved owner to feel peaceful and safe.
Special Mention Dogs At Play Category, “A Snowy Chase” By Louise Farrell, UK
Dogs: Rescue Border Collies – Meg (tri colour) & Jake (black and white) I’m a pet photographer from Reading, UK and photograph all types of four-legged hairy animals who mean the world to their humans. If the humans want to be photographed with their pets, then yes, I do that too! Specialising in action photography I love to make images of animals, especially dogs, doing what they love most – having fun with a smile on their faces. Once or twice every month, I volunteer at an animal rescue centre in Berkshire (DBARC) photographing the incoming rescue dogs to try to help the centre rehome them as quickly as possible. I’m always amazed that, in most cases, the dogs arrive joyful and happy having gone through who knows what. I feel it’s my privilege to be able to capture their happiness at being out in a field and free. It’s also a way for me to say thank you for my rescue dogs. The two border collies in this picture are my family. Both arrived as puppies; Meg (aged 9, the tri colour) came to me from DBARC and Jake (aged 2, the spotty one) chose me from a rescue centre appropriately called The Border Collie Spot, also in Berkshire. They play together beautifully. This image captures their excitement playing earlier this year and kicking up the snow. I just love to see them enjoying life to the full.
Puppies Category 1st Place Winner, ‘The Little Twins’ By Monica Van Der Maden, Netherlands
Dogs: Macy & Vino, Weimaraner The breeder and I were in a shopping mall together where we had so much fun during this photoshoot. It can be very difficult to photograph two puppies together let alone a whole litter of puppies especially in a shopping mall (!). Everyone wanted to pet the puppies because they were so sweet and adorable. But when Jose (the breeder) placed the two pups together they started to wash each other…
Rescue Dogs Charity Category 3rd Place Winner, ‘A Look That Embraces’ By Luciana Veras, Brazil
Dog: Rescue dog undefined breed named Mike I’m a photographer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In love with dogs since I was a child, it was only in the year 2017 that I decided to join the love of dogs with the passion for photography, and to specialize in Pet Photography. My goal in photography is to capture through my gaze the feelings of love, friendship, and gratitude between dogs and their humans. My love for dogs overflows into pictures, and I’m always on the lookout for an exciting story to tell through photography. And most of the time I have the good fortune to be found by these stories. And that’s how I met Mike, an adopted rescue dog, who carries some physical and emotional scars, signs of the mistreatment he suffered for a few years. Mike chose to trust and was adopted by Milena, the trauma due to the condition of life he took before being adopted, made him very frightened and suspicious, but Mike never lost his sweet way, always waiting for a sincere hug and was in the embrace of Milena that he found the best place in the world. Today Mike leads a very happy life with a family full of love and respect. Mike still does not allow anyone to approach him, but he allowed me to get close to him to photograph him and tell his whole story of overcoming and love for Milena. Rescue dogs have the power to love unconditionally, and especially to transform our lives.
I Love Dogs Because… 3rd Place Winner, ‘Best Buddy’ By Flora Wilson, UK
Dog: Buddy, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever I’m a teenager from the Wiltshire, and run a dog photography business as a hobby (when I can get a break from school!). I love nature and being outside and I try to show this, alongside my love of dogs, in my photos. I first fell for photography when I was about 11, taking photos of pretty much everything around me. I begged and begged, until I was finally allowed to have my own DSLR when I turned thirteen. This, combined with the joy of a new puppy as my muse, taught me the basics to getting decent photos of dogs in particular. I definitely have my naughty retriever to thank! I opened my business in March last year, and although I’ve had to take a break this year due to my GCSEs, I think I’ve been able to grow and improve immensely with experience. Dogs are just wonderful. I’ve forged a very close bond with my puppy over the last three years, and he’s taught me the power of patience and how ‘obedience’ is really just a close communication between owner and dog. I am so glad I have been able to explore the love people have for their dogs through the medium of photography. This photo is of a friend’s lovely ‘Toller’, Buddy. I met his owner through a local group for our breed, and Buddy was the first client I ever took on. The shoot was perfect: the location was stunning; Buddy himself was lovely; and it was amazing to see the bond between him and his owner.
Dogs: Dio and Afina – the Wire-Haired Hungarian Pointer (Vizsla) My name is Nadezhda, I am an animal photographer from St. Petersburg, Russia. Dio and Afina are my friend’s dogs. Once we went for a walk together and I, of course, took the camera with me. The weather was great and the dogs were playing, running on the water, suddenly they froze smelling the bird – first Dio, and then after him Afina. Fortunately, I managed to get a camera and make this frame.