Every year, The Kennel Club, perhaps the oldest recognized canine institution in the world, delights us with pictures from their Dog Photographer Of The Year competition - and makes us fall in love with dogs even more...
The prestigious contest has been running for 12 years now. It received nearly 10,000 entries from 74 countries around the world. The competition has 10 categories, including 'Puppies', 'Assistance Dogs', 'Rescue Dogs', and 'Dogs At Work'. There's also a 'Man's Best Friend' category, that showcases photos that capture the deep bond between dogs and humans.
This year, Maria Davison from Portugal won the overall prize with a picture of a black puppy resting by her friend's feet.Davison said: “This image was already close to my heart and it is one of the photographs I am most proud of. It was not only a beautiful, real and candid moment I got to capture, but also a demonstration of the strong bond between one of my closest friends and her dog, Yzma. Winning not only the Man’s Best Friend category, but also the overall winner prize with this picture feels really good.”
The winning images will be exhibited at the Kennel Club in Mayfair, London.
Overall Winner And Man's Best Friend 1st Place Winner Maria Davison Ramos, Portugal
"For me, capturing real and candid moments is what photography is all about. This is one of those moments. My friend had just adopted Yzma and while we were chatting in the kitchen I was taking some photographs. The location and the light were far from perfect, but I ended taking one of the photos I’m most proud of."
Rescue Dogs Charity Category 3rd Place Winner Kaylee Greer, USA
“Joshua sat behind the bars of his cold cage at the shelter wondering why people kept passing him by. Every day, he held out hope, wagging his tail furiously as people would peer in curiously at him, and then move on. The hours turned into days, the days turned into months, and still, Joshua waited. For 8 long months, he curled up on that concrete floor, dreaming of the love of a family. Wasn’t he a good boy just like all the others? Then, one morning, on a day that started just like all the ones that came before, Joshua wagged his trademark tail wag right into the heart of passing stranger and suddenly, his story changed forever. That passing stranger was me, and in that moment, my heart was filled with more love, kindness and purity than I had ever known before. Joshua came home with me later that day and officially became a part of my family. The next morning after adopting him - only 12 hours or so since he left his well-worn place in his shelter cage - we went on our first walk together as human and dog, and I was lucky enough to capture this moment. This is the definitive, tiny slice of time in which the joy can only be measured by the size of his perfect smile. A moment in which Joshua realized that he had finally found freedom. A moment in which he had finally been given the second chance at life that he so deserved. A moment in which Joshua discovered he was finally home.”
Dog Portrait 2nd Place Winner, David Yanez, UK
“This image was taken of ‘Ray' after a long woodland walk. It struck me whilst sitting opposite him how majestic and regal Ray looked whilst taking up most of the sofa! Many people are drawn to him whilst out and about and frequently refer to him as a ‘tiger’ due to his beautiful brindle markings. ‘Sleeping Tiger’ seems an apt title for my image."
Puppies Category 2nd Place Winner Tracy Kirby, Ireland
“I am a photographer originally from England but live in Co Galway, Ireland and volunteer for Madra, a dog rescue charity I take photographs of the dogs to help find them forever homes. I suffer with a chronic illness so when I am able to go to the kennels it is therapy for me as the dog’s courage and resilience inspires me.
Faye was a cheeky, tiny boxer cross puppy with a huge personality who was looking for her forever home. I’m pretty sure Faye was a world class super model in a former life. She knew instinctively how to sit and pose for the camera and demanded her fee (chicken) after every few clicks of the camera.”
Dogs At Play Category 1st Place Winner Kaylee Greer, USA
“Petey and I stood there together on the water’s edge in awe as the day bowed out to the night and the sun slipped its yellow head behind the horizon. Pastel colours painted themselves across the Summer sky above our shoulders in stripes of pink and cobalt blue as we quietly revelled in that perfect, endless moment. Then, just as suddenly as the sky had lit itself on fire, Petey clumsily jumped into the water with a joyful little sparkle in his eye, beckoning me to come along. I followed him in and giggled until my sides hurt as he would push his paw down into the warm, salty water, sending little crystal droplets flying through the air all around him. With each happy splash came the realization of the perfection in those tiny moments, and of the unmatched purity of the canine heart.”
Dogs At Play Category 2nd Place Winner Rodrigo Capuski, Brazil
"This photo was taken a week before the camomile harvest, on a weekend we decided to look for new locations to photograph. The chamomile field is 50 km from Curitiba, in a rural location with several varieties of plantations. It was a day when Leica had a lot of fun and went back home yellow and smelling like chamomile."
Oldies Category 1st Place Winner John Liot, UK
“This image was taken as part of a commissioned shoot with three rescue dogs. It was a beautiful and bright November day and the Sun was creating an intense light through the windows, warming the client’s house. Kelly, an apprehensive 12 year-old collie-cross, found her spot in the God rays heating up the arm of a sofa and had a nap. She was a cautious girl with a sad backstory and had challenging behavioural issues prior to being adopted. Happily though, she has found rejuvenated life with her new family in Jersey who are giving her all the love and attention she sorely missed in her younger years.”
Dog Portrait 1st Place Winner, Anastasia Vetkovskaya, Russia
“This magnificent Afghan was incredibly nice to shoot - he is very expressive and emotional.”
Dogs At Work 1st Place Winner Sarah Caldecott, UK
“The photograph of Rita was taken during a training day in February this year on the moors in County Durham the weather hadn't been kind and the light was fading fast."
Dogs At Work 2nd Place Winner Lucy Charman, UK
“This particular photo was taken after a long, very wet and stormy November Day last season where the dogs and picking up team were pleased to get back into the pickup for some respite from the weather after a wet but enjoyable day.”
I Love Dogs Because… (ages 11 To 17) 3rd Place Winner Kirsten Van Ravenhorst, Netherlands
“This photo was taken on a lazy Sunday afternoon walk in The Netherlands. The dog in the photo is Fenrir, my youngest dog. He is the perfect model, and the reason why I picked up the camera again.”
Assistance Dogs 1st Place Winner Alasdair Macleod, UK
“I was just looking for her loving eyes to catch the attention of one of the residents, RAF veteran Mr Duncan Currie (a pilot for the Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, Dam Busters) who has Dementia, he is 95 yrs old.”
Puppies Category 3rd Place Winner Ruud Lauritsen, Netherlands
"I was asked to photograph the three month German Shepherd, Aiko, at the beach in Holland. Aiko had the time of his life. He was running and playing and tried to meet as many other dogs as possible. And after a half of a hour Aiko was sitting down and then is was able to shoot this picture."
Rescue Dogs Charity Category 2nd Place Winner Martin Tosh, UK
“Fly was originally an unwanted family pet before being taken by a farm to be a cow dog. Unfortunately he didn’t take to such work and as a result endured a miserable life there, left tied up all the time without being walked. Happily he now has a much better life after being rescued by my sister, Anni and her partner, Alison who live in The Peak District. This photo was taken at sunset on a family trip to Hunstanton beach.”
Dog Portrait 3rd Place Winner, Noel Bennett, UK
“Bella is always ready to pose for me, so when I saw the fallen leaves at the top of the garden, I knew it was an opportunity too good to miss.”
Young Pup Photographer (under 11s) 1st Place Winner Dylan Jenkins, UK
"If I see something really, really special, I have to take a photo or video of it. I love taking photos and videos of Mosey because she is so funny, gentle and sleepy! I also like taking photos and videos of the birds at WWT (Llanelli), especially the Nene geese. I took this photo in my garden. We had some cake and Mosey came to sniff it. I took about twenty photos and this was the best and the funniest."
Man’s Best Friend Category 2nd Place Winner Emma Williams, UK
“I have studied photography obsessively over the last 5 years and love to experiment and push the boundaries of photography. Eight months ago I started 'freelensing' and this was how this image of my beloved Whippet Gus was taken, out walking in the Derbyshire Peak District.”
Oldies Category 3rd Place Winner Tracy Kirby, Ireland
“I am a photographer originally from England now living in Co Galway, Ireland and volunteer for Madra, a fantastic dog rescue charity. I photograph the dogs to help find them forever homes. I suffer with a chronic illness so when I am able to go to the kennels it is therapy for me as the dog’s courage and resilience inspires me.
Red is an 11 year old Madra rescue dog who was adopted by my friend and fellow Madra volunteer. My own dear dog passed away last year so her mummy brought her for a visit to comfort me. I couldn’t resist photographing her. Red lives a life of luxury filled with love now.”
Dogs At Work 3rd Place Winner Peter Steffensen, Denmark
“This photo is of Marley, a dog who had a second chance at life, when a vet refused to put this healthy dog to sleep, and instead found a loving forever home for him with. He now enjoys oodles of time in the fields, doing what he loves most; herding!
Man’s Best Friend Category 3rd Place Winner Annemarie King, UK
“This photo was captured during a private commission. The image was taken on a ‘Muddy Good Hike’ (my name for the photo shoot adventures I offer to clients) I’m a big believer in photographing dogs in a natural environment - they love it and I think there’s nothing more fun than lacing up a pair of walking boots, packing a rucksack and setting off into the forest with your best friend! That’s where memories are made.”
Puppies Category 1st Place Winner Mirjam Schreurs, Netherlands
"I am from the Netherlands and live in a small village. I have photographed for 4 years now and since the end of last year I took the step of photographing only dogs and children. Dogs are loyal friends and I love them a lot, that’s why I focus on dog photography. The picture of Tyson was a wow moment for me and during this shoot I knew that I would like to continue photographing dogs.
This picture was made at the end of the shoot, the dog sat down and had a wonderful concentration to his owner this was a wonderful moment.”
I Love Dogs Because… (ages 11 To 17) 1st Place Winner Julian Gottfried, USA
"I especially enjoy this photo because it exemplifies what I love about my dog. In the image you can easily see his cuteness, personality, and playful manner. Combined with the snow, they create a truly lively photo."
Assistance Dogs Charity Category 2nd Place Winner John Ferrett, UK
“This particular photo was taken at a local park during a session with a fellow photographer.
Reno, who is pictured with his owner, a double amputee never left his side. I wanted to capture the true bond between them. His owner tells me that he has trained Reno himself to assist him in everyday life and shared with me that Reno is a Godsend and is a massive part of his life.”
Oldies Category 2nd Place Winner Igor Abramovich, UK
“I was visiting my grandmother in Ukraine who has an old dog and two cats. Rex was a stray puppy that my grandmother took home years ago. During my stay there I have took a bunch of photos of all the animals and one of the best photos was this one.
This photo was taken on a very hot day (31 degrees celsius) in Ukraine. The dog spent most of the day motionless in his doghouse trying to hide in the shadows from the burning sun.”
Dogs At Play Category 3rd Place Winner Will Holdcroft, UK
“This photo was taken during a private commission for a client. I always ask people to bring their dog’s favourite toy with them during the photoshoot, so Purdey decided that she would like to bring her toy bunny to play with. I particularly like this photograph because she has a lovely nature, which I think really comes across as well as how happy she is to be playing with her favourite toy.”
Rescue Dogs Charity Category 1st Place Winner Alexandra Robins, UK
“Chloe and Tess came to Bath Cats and Dogs Home when their owner died. I had the pleasure of photographing the sisters while they were playing in one of the grass paddocks, when I captured this special moment between Chloe and her carer.”
I Love Dogs Because… (ages 11 To 17) 2nd Place Winner Summer Clark, UK
"I took this photo of my beloved Border Terrier, Earl, having fun on a Devonshire beach during a family summer holiday."
Young Pup Photographer (under 11s) 1st Place Winner Jay Case, UK
“This photo was taken on New Year’s Eve, the day we brought Asa home. He had been running around all day, exploring & getting to know his new home. He decided to finally lay down on my old baby blanket & have a rest & I managed to get this picture.”
Assistance Dogs Charity Category 3rd Place Winner Julie Morrish, UK
“This photo was taken during an October afternoon amongst the peaceful herb garden on a residential stay at the charity Veterans With Dogs. Milo, has a very close bond with his owner and it was a pleasure to photograph them together.”
Young Pup Photographer (under 11s) 3rd Place Winner Samantha Hung, USA
“This specific photo was taken on a bright and sunny Sunday morning while on a walk with our energetic and eager puppy. Cuddles is a very friendly, cheerful companion to have by your side.”