2018 AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence: winners announced

August 23, 2018

Search & Rescue: Gadget (Photo courtesy of AKC Humane Fund)
Search & Rescue: Gadget (Photo courtesy of AKC Humane Fund)

The following is a press release from AKC Humane Fund:

The AKC® Humane Fund is proud to announce the winners of the 19th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). These awards celebrate five loyal, hard-working dogs that have significantly improved the lives of their owners and communities.

One award is presented in each of the following five categories: Uniformed Service K-9, Service, Therapy, Search and Rescue and Exemplary Companion dog. This year’s winners range from a therapy dog who helped comfort students after a school shooting to a family pet who helps a young boy battle autism.

“Whether saving lives or providing comfort, these five ACE recipients serve as testimony to the immeasurable ways our canine companions touch our lives every day,” said Doug Ljungren, President of the AKC Humane Fund. “Each dog’s loyalty and dedication to their work and community is an inspiration to dog lovers everywhere. We’re thrilled to honor their achievements with an ACE Award.”

Each ACE recipient will receive $1,000 to be awarded to a pet-related charity of their choice, a one-year pet insurance policy from AKC Pet Insurance, and an engraved sterling silver medallion will be presented to each at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin in Orlando, Floridaheld on Saturday and Sunday, December 15-16, 2018. The 2018 AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence are proudly sponsored by EUKANUBA™ Pet Food.

This year’s ACE winners are:

Uniformed Service K-9: “Copper,” a Black and Tan Coonhound handled by Officer Christopher Hattaway of Cocoa, Florida 

Uniformed Services K9: Copper (Photo courtesy of AKC Fund)

“K-9 Copper,” officially known as Oak Hills Above and Beyond by Brenmaur, is a 2-year-old Black and Tan Coonhound serving the Cocoa Police Department with his handler, Officer Chris Hattaway. He is a registered therapy dog and is trained to track missing persons. One of the most significant parts of his job as a Cocoa Police K-9 is community engagement and public relations. Copper’s role in the department has helped bridge the gap between the Cocoa community and the police. Copper’s presence during police interviews changes the atmosphere for people who have been traumatized, including children, victims of sexual or domestic abuse, the elderly and more. Copper’s warm and comforting energy helps put victims’ minds at ease while interacting with police and telling their stories. His participation in interviews gives police the ability to create a bond and build trust with victims.

When Copper is not at work with the Cocoa Police, you might find him in the Conformation ring at a dog show or representing the Black and Tan Coonhound at the AKC Meet the Breeds booth at the AKC National Championship in Orlando. K-9 Copper has become somewhat of a local celebrity in his community and he also poses as an ambassador for his breed and his police department.

Service Dog: “Sampson,” a Golden Retriever owned by Joey Ramp of Foosland, Illinois

Service Dog: Sampson (Photo courtesy of AKC Humane Fund)

“Sampson” is a 3-year-old Golden Retriever certified by Paws Giving Independence. After a life-altering accident in 2006, Joey Ramp was left recovering from a brain injury, mobility complications and nerve damage. She was also struggling with the onset of complex-post traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). As Joey’s service dog, Sampson assists with mobility, bracing, climbing stairs and retrieving items, among other tasks. He alerts Joey to an elevation of PTSD symptoms, like panic and anxiety. When Ramp went on to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience she was faced with the challenge of her university not allowing service dogs in laboratories.

Joey and Sampson fought the university policy to overcome service dog access obstacles. Sampson is now the first service dog to gain access to a biology and research laboratory at the University of Illinois. This big change in the university’s policy is now promoting change in other universities nationwide. The pair is currently working to launch a two-year research study to measure the impact a service dog has in a laboratory environment in hopes that it will help develop a national model for service dog accommodations. Joey has also developed a template for the American Chemical Society outlining service dog accommodations in chemistry laboratories and has designed chemical resistant outerwear for service dogs.

When Joey and Sampson are not in a laboratory, they volunteer at community organizations to promote service dog awareness. As peer mentors, the team visits mental health, domestic violence and Veteran organizations to spread awareness. Together, Joey and Sampson have been able to break barriers and inspire others to help promote equal access for service dog teams in educational institutions and the work place.

Therapy Dog: “Kol,” a Golden Retriever owned by Jane Eisenberg of Boynton Beach, Florida

Therapy Dog: Kol (Photo courtesy of AKC Humane Fund)

“Kol,” an 8-year-old Golden Retriever, officially known as GCHB CH Gemini’s House Of The Rising Sun CDX BN RAE JH THDD CGCA TKA, is certified by Paws for Assistance and owned by Jane Eisenberg. Kol is an AKC Grand Champion and has earned many AKC titles including the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD) by completing at least 400 therapy dog visits. Jane and Kol have spent the past six years comforting people who have experienced trauma, but nothing was quite like their last assignment. They spent almost four months at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, Florida following the devastating shooting that occurred on February 14.

Jane and Kol arrived to meet MSD students the day after the tragedy and braced themselves before entering. They spent the next few days comforting students, parents and faculty, but the team knew the grieving wasn’t nearing an end any time soon. They eventually were situated in room 723, directly across from where the shooting occurred. Kol greeted students as they entered the classroom and would make his rounds, lending comfort to anyone in need. Many students were overcoming different struggles, including but not limited to: stress, anxiety, grief and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some of the students were even injured in the shooting. Room 723 became a place of peace and calmness, thanks to Kol.

During classroom changes, Kol would gather his favorite stuffed animal and proudly strut through the halls of the school. As he walked down the hallways, Kol was greeted by students and would often bring smiles to their faces. Although Jane and Kol’s time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas has come to an end, the incredible pair has helped heal some wounded hearts along the way.

Search and Rescue Dog: “Inspector Gadget,” a Bloodhound owned and handled by Robert Wellsof Lancaster, California

Search & Rescue: Gadget (Photo courtesy of AKC Humane Fund)

“Inspector Gadget,” officially known as CH Inspector Gadget Sniffs Spottyacre, is an 11-year-old Bloodhound. He is a Volunteer Mission Ready Search and Rescue Dog with the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA). Inspector Gadget and his handler, Bob Wells, have deployed dozens of times to assist in locating the missing and bringing them home. The pair has dedicated thousands of hours to training and performing searches throughout the southwest. Inspector Gadget has established himself as an outstanding tracking dog in the field. In one case, Bob Wells and Gadget were deployed to Nevada to help locate a missing person. After trailing from the vehicle and following up on possible sightings, Gadget was able to lead the search team to the location of the subject. His tireless work on this case helped grant closure to a grief-stricken family. As a member of the Search and Rescue team, Inspector Gadget also attends community events to spread awareness and education.

Aside from Inspector Gadget’s rewarding work as a Search and Rescue volunteer, he also excels in the Conformation ring, earning himself an AKC Champion title. Although Inspector Gadget has a notable resume under his belt, he is first and foremost a loving family pet whose favorite spot is asleep on the couch.

Exemplary Companion Dog: “Teddy,” a Standard Poodle owned by Terri and Spencer Pardee of Concord, Michigan

Exemplary Companion: Teddy (Photo courtesy of AKC Humane Fund)

“Teddy” is a 6-year-old Standard Poodle, officially known as Jed’s Theodore Roosevelt SH CD BN RE TD TDU CGC. He is owned by Terri and Spencer Pardee and has helped Spencer gain confidence through his ongoing battle with autism. Spencer was adopted from Guatemala by the Pardee’s at just eight months old. He was highly intelligent with extreme anxieties and fears, later to be diagnosed with “high-functioning autism”. His fears even extended to their family Golden Retriever. Terri Pardee, a psychologist who focused heavily on animal-assisted therapy, wanted desperately to bring a dog into her son’s life. She brought him to 4-H events to help get him acclimated with dogs. However, rather than participating in training exercises, Spencer spent much of his time sitting under a tree, holding onto a leash with no dog at the other end. When the family Golden Retriever passed away, Pardee knew it was time to get another dog.

The Pardee family went on to purchase a Poodle puppy, Teddy, from a breeder nearby and life was never the same for them. Teddy and Spencer began bonding right away and Teddy slowly helped Spencer break out of his shell. The boy and dog duo began competing in various AKC sports like Obedience, Tracking, Rally, Agility and Junior Showmanship. The boy who once held an empty leash was now earning AKC titles and competing at events with hundreds of people.  He was able to give an Obedience demonstration in front of a classroom of students who he was once afraid to sit with. Teddy opened up Spencer’s world and helped him face his fears in a way that may not have been possible without him.

Read more about all of the ACE Award winners here.

The AKC Humane Fund, Inc. unites animal lovers in promoting the joy and value of responsible pet ownership through education, outreach and grant-making. The Fund provides financial grants to domestic violence shelters and Breed Rescue organizations and awards scholarships to students pursuing professions that strengthen the human-animal bond. The AKC Humane Fund’s Awards for Canine Excellence are given each year to promote the important role dogs play in our lives. Contributions to the AKC Humane Fund are fully tax deductible as allowed by law under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. For more information, visit www.akchumanefund.org.

The American Kennel Club

Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.  Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog.  For more information, visit www.akc.org.

AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc.

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American Kennel Club announces top U.S. dog breeds of 2017

March 28, 2018

by Janice Wells

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has announced the 10 most popular dog breeds in the U.S. for 2017.  For the 27th year in a row, the Labrador Retriever was No. 1. AKC compiles the list based on its dog registry.

The same dog breeds that were in the Top 10 in 2016 were in the Top 10 in 2017, except the Boxer dropped out of the Top 10 spot and was replaced at No. 10 by the German Shorthaired Pointer, which jumped from the No. 11 spot that it held the previous year. Another breed that made the Top 10 in 2017 with a higher ranking than the previous year is the French bulldog, which jumped from No. 6 to No. 4. Two breeds in the Top 10 had a lower ranking in 2017 compared to the previous year: the Bulldog dropped from No. 4 to No. 5, while the Beagle dropped from No. 5 to No. 6.

Here are AKC’s Top 10 dog breeds in the U.S. for 2017:

1.  Labrador Retriever

(2016 Ranking: No. 1)

2.  German Shepherd

(2016 Ranking: No. 2)

3.  Golden Retriever

(2016 Ranking: No. 3)

4.  French Bulldog

(2016 Ranking: No. 6)

5.  Bulldog

(2016 Ranking: No. 4)

6.  Beagle

(2015 Ranking: No. 5)

7.  Poodle

(2016 Ranking: No. 7)

8.  Rottweiler

(2016 Ranking: No. 8)

9.  Yorkshire Terrier

(2016 Ranking: No. 9)

10.  German Shorthaired Pointer

(2016 Ranking: No. 11)


American Kennel Club announces top U.S. dog breeds of 2016; dog museum to move back to New York

March 21, 2017

by Amy McGregor

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has announced the 10 most popular dog breeds in the U.S. for 2016.  For the 26th year in a row, the Labrador Retriever was No. 1. AKC compiles the list based on its dog registry.

The same dog breeds that were in the Top 10 in 2016 were in the Top 10 in 2015, although the rankings for a few of the breeds changed. All of the breeds kept the same position on the list from the previous year, except the poodle dropped from No. 7 to No. 8; the Rottweiler jumped from No. 9 to No. 8; and the Yorkshire Terrier dropped from No. 7 to No. 9.

In other AKC news, AKC Museum of the Dog will move back to New York City on a date to be announced, according to an AKC press release. The AKC Museum of the Dog, founded in 1982, was originally housed in the New York Life Building located at 51 Madison Avenue as part of the AKC Headquarters. In 1987, the Museum moved to St. Louis at a temporary space in the historic Jarville House, located in Queeny Park, West St. Louis County, Missouri. A press release stated that the move back to New York City “is the result of a mutual agreement between both boards [AKC and the Museum] to expand and enhance the future of the Museum.”

The press release continued: “With a population of over 8.5 million people, and 59 million visitors per year, New York City provides an excellent opportunity for a substantial increase in visitors and exposure and lends the potential for educational programs to coincide with the promotion of the purebred dog. The relocation to Midtown Manhattan also provides a means for the Museum to generate revenue from additional admissions, memberships, sponsorships, and donations. The AKC is in negotiations for ground floor retail oriented space in the heart of New York City that would give the Museum the location necessary to become a world-class tourist destination.”

Here are AKC’s Top 10 dog breeds in the U.S. for 2016:

1.  Labrador Retriever

(2015 Ranking: No. 1)

2.  German Shepherd

(2015 Ranking: No. 2)

3.  Golden Retriever

( 2015 Ranking: No. 3)

4.  Bulldog

(2015 Ranking: No. 4)

5.  Beagle

(2015 Ranking: No. 5)

6.  French Bulldog

(2015 Ranking: No. 6)



7.  Poodle

(2015 Ranking: No. 8)

8.  Rottweiler

(2015 Ranking: No. 9)

9.  Yorkshire Terrier

(2015 Ranking: No. 7)

10.  Boxer

(2015 Ranking: No. 10)

American Kennel Club announces first set of 2017 AKC Paw of Courage winners

March 6, 2017

AKC Paw of Courage 2017 winners
(Photos courtesy of American Kennel Club)

The American Kennel Club (AKC), the world’s largest purebred dog registry, has announced the first set of 2017 AKC Paw of Courage awards to recognize the working canines that put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. This award specifically recognizes those who are serving or have served their departments honorably.

Any working dog is eligible to receive the AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs. To nominate a dog for the next set of Paw of Courage awards, click here. Recipients of the award, or their human partner, will receive a 2017 AKC Paw of Courage medal along with a certificate. In addition, the recipients will receive a photo and profile on akc.org.

The first set of 2017 AKC Paw of Courage recipients are:

K9 Mattis of the Alpharetta Police Department, Georgia

K9 Mattis, a 3-year-old German Shepherd Dog, serves with the Alpharetta Police Department. In October of 2016, while his handler, Officer Mark Tappan, and K9 Mattis were in a foot pursuit, the suspect leapt off a 30-foot retaining wall, and Mattis followed without hesitation, leading to his surrender. Mattis was checked for obvious injuries and was quickly on his way to respond to the next call with Officer Tappan. They were able to track down and apprehend the second suspect shortly before Mattis collapsed from internal injuries from the earlier fall. He was rushed to the emergency vet where he was treated for a lacerated liver and a contusion of his right lung.

Mattis has since made a full recovery and returned to active duty. In his short time with the department, Mattis has contributed to over 100 arrests and has assisted in removing countless amounts of narcotics from the streets. Additionally, he has performed several demonstrations for church groups, schools and various other community groups, often surrounded by the children of the community. Officer Tappan describes K9 Mattis as a very special blend of tenacious working dog and friendly family pet. Mattis’ lack of hesitation jumping off the wall demonstrates his dedication and loyalty to his work. The sacrifice Mattis made that day to protect his community is truly appreciated by Officer Tappan, the Alpharetta Police Department and the community he serves.

K9 Jardo of the Boise Police Department, Idaho

K9 Jardo was a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois of the Boise Police Department in Idaho when he was shot in the line of duty while confronting an armed suspect. Jardo was rushed to WestVet Animal Emergency and Specialty Center with at least one gunshot wound to the chest. He underwent surgery and two dogs, both pets of staff members at WestVet, donated blood to Jardo, giving him a life-saving transfusion. The surgery and transfusion were successful and Jardo was expected to make a full recovery. However, about a week later, he succumbed to his injuries.

K9 Jardo was trained to track and apprehend dangerous criminals, find evidence relating to crimes and locate street drugs. He successfully apprehended a dangerous gang member in his very first week on patrol. When he was not on duty, Jardo enjoyed playing with his dog friends and swimming in the canal by his house. K9 Jardo made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty to protect his community. He will be missed dearly by his handler, Officer Shane Williams, as well as the entire Boise Police Department and each person he has touched throughout his life.

K9 Peydro of the Woodland Police Department, California

K9 Peydro is a 3-year-old German Shepherd Dog, handled by Officer Juan Barrera. He served the Woodland Police Department honorably for a little over a year. In May of 2016, Peydro was struck by a vehicle while he and Officer Barrera were in pursuit of a wanted man. K9 Peydro was immediately transported to a veterinary hospital and after a successful surgery and blood transfusion, he made a full recovery, but was medically retired in October of 2016. The suspect involved in the incident later turned himself in to the Woodland Police Department. Peydro was a dual purpose police K9 trained in narcotics, apprehension, and article searching. He weighs about 80 lbs, but Officer Barrera and his family are convinced that he thinks he’s a lap dog. When he’s not on duty, he loves to cuddle up on the couch and balance toys on his nose. Peydro’s sacrifice in the line of duty was an indication of his courage and commitment to his community. He is now enjoying his retired life with his family.

K9 Bruno of Anaheim Police Department, California

K9 Bruno, a 7-year-old German Shepherd Dog, served with the Anaheim Police Department for six years at the time of his injury. He was given an AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) by the American Kennel Club in 2014 after being shot while assisting the SWAT team with a search. The bullet went through Bruno’s lower jaw and lodged in his chest, only about an inch from his heart. After the incident, Bruno retired from his K9 duties and lived at home with his partner, Officer R.J. Young. About two years later, K9 Bruno succumbed to complications from his initial injury.

Bruno was one of two dogs who trained to become part of the SWAT team. He graduated first in his class from the K9 academy and also won first place overall in narcotics during his first ever K9 competition. Bruno was credited with finding millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics and narcotic-related money. He was always full of energy and was well known around the department for disrupting briefings by chewing on his red toy. K9 Bruno was a cherished officer, partner and family companion and will be missed dearly by Officer Young and the Anaheim Police Department, as well as every one of the many lives he has touched.

Here are more photos of the winners:

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