Man’s best friend as documented by the world’s top dog photographers

The Kennel Club announces winners of their annual Dog Photographer competition.

Older dog in the woods
Monica van der Maden of the Netherlands took the top prize for her portrait of Noa the Great Dane in the woods.Monica van der Maden

Dogs are the best. These furry creatures are wonderful to be around and endlessly fun to photograph. We're guessing the photographers that entered the 13th annual Kennel Club Photography Competition would agree.

“Good dog photographers know their subject well and take their time in getting a great photograph,” says Heidi Hudson, who oversees the annual competition. “Dog photography is mostly about patience—waiting for the right moment to visually capture the personality of the dog.”

This year’s competition saw nearly 10,000 entries from 70 different countries. Monica van der Maden of the Netherlands took home the top prize for an image featuring a senior great dane named Noa. It’s the first time that an image in the ‘Oldies’ category has topped the competition.

“I always try to capture the image of a dog in a way that you can see the emotion in their eyes,” van der Maden says of her winning image. “When I took this picture in the forest early one morning, Noa looked at her owner and you could feel the love between them.”

Van der Maden has been professionally photographing dogs for the last decade.

Elke Vogelsang, a German dog photographer and VIP Judge for this year’s competition, says that the judges were interested in images with high technical quality that also portrayed an emotional component that hopefully tells an interesting story.

“To me the best shots are of a candid nature that show the natural behaviour of the dog,” she says. “It's important to be able to communicate with dogs, motivate them, make them feel at ease and be willing to play.”

Her tips for anyone just starting out: volunteer to take portraits at a local shelter or animal rescue to get to know the personalities of dogs and learn your equipment inside and out. If you’re fiddling with your camera setting you’re likely to miss those candid moments.

Assistance dogs

German Shepard assistance dog
1st Place: Rocko, German ShepherdDean Mortimer
assistance golden retriever
2nd Place: Messi, Golden RetrieverMaria Cristina Nadalin
police assistance dog
3rd Place: Delta, White Swiss ShepherdCraig Turner-Bullock

Dogs at play

Pomeranian playing with bubble
1st Place: Lili, PomeranianElinor Roizman
small dog jumping
2nd Place: Heidi, Merle ChihuahuaSteffi Cousins
three dogs playing
3rd Place: Daffy, Taz, and Wile E. (left to right); Nova Scotia Duck Tolling RetrieversSarah Beeson

Dogs at work

several dogs on work truck
1st Place: Wayne’s Team "I was in photographer's heaven whilst out on the shoot with Wayne’s Team of working dogs. It was a privilege to watch them, tails held high, nose to the ground and retrieving. All of them totally in tune with Wayne Green, hanging on every command and thoroughly enjoying their job. Its days like this and the reality of life that I am looking to capture in my images."Tracy Kidd
pointing hunting dog
2nd Place: Tarly, English Springer SpanielRichard Lane
training work dog
3rd Place: Nyx, German ShepherdIan Squire

I love dogs because...

dogs laying together
1st Place: Dash, Royal, Harley, Ženka, Ryan, Ready, all border colliesTamara Kedves
yorkshire terrier playing
2nd Place: Darcy, Crossbreed (Cocker and Poodle)Elise Finney
dog peeking from behind tree
3rd Place: Fenrir, Border CollieKirsten van Ravenhorst

Man's best friend

dog under umbrella
1st Place: Godji, Portuguese Podengo crossbreedJoana Matos
dog getting head scratches
2nd Place: Kodi, 10 years old, Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mixSherilyn Vineyard
dog loving human
3rd Place: Ruby Roo, Golden RetrieverCheryl Murphy

Oldies

Older dog in the woods
1st Place and Overall Winner: Noa, Great DaneMonica van der Maden
older dog looking out window
2nd Place: – Nilo, cross breed and rescue dogRachele Z. Cecchini
older dog outdoors
3rd Place: Bentley, German Shorthaired PointerPhilip Wright

Portrait

black labs outside in fall
1st Place: Crew, Darcie, Pagan (Glenturret) Flat Coated RetrieversCarol Durrant
dog on the porch
2nd Place: Thalia, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling RetrieverKatarzyna Siminiak
Pomeranian looking outside
3rd Place: Hugo, PomeranianMichael Sweeney

Puppies

puppy portrait
1st Place: Ceylin, Italian GreyhoundKlaus Dyba
group of puppies
2nd Place: Beagle Mix Puppies "Since early last year, my partner Raymond Janis and I have had the honor of supporting the Vanderpump Dogs Foundation in Los Angeles by photographing their adoptable dogs. In July 2017, we met these adorable beagle mix puppies. As Raymond tried to wrangle them, something magical happened and I was able to capture a perfect moment of a puppy family sticking together." - Charlie NunnCharlie Nunn
puppy on blanket
3rd Place: Snickers, cross breed puppy photographed for Doodle Rock RescueRobyn Pope

Rescue

rescue dog
1st Place: Cooper, Labrador Retriever Mix and rescue dogSonya Kolb
rescue dog resting in chair
2nd Place: Magda, rescue dog cross breed (Hungarian Vizsla and Labrador Retriever)Leslie Plesser
rescue dog on cliff
3rd Place: Dania, cross breed Portuguese Podengo, rescue dogChristina Roemmelt

Young pup

young german shepard
1st Place: Roxy, German Shepard “I took this photo of Roxy, at about 9Pm, just before I went to bed. It was dark and she was sitting on our back porch waiting for mom to give her a treat. I used a modeling light and the porch light to put light on her pretty face.” - Mariah MobleyMariah Mobley
young pup black and white
2nd Place: Dallas, WhippetSienna Millward
young hunting dog
3rd Place: Monty, German Shorthaired PointerMaisie Mitford

Judges Mentions

  • Alice Loder, UK – Dogs at Play
  • Darren Hall, UK – Dogs at Play
  • Leslie Plesser, US – Dogs at Work
  • Bendik Almås, Norway – Man's Best Friend
  • Inés Tafalla, Spain – Man's Best Friend
  • Viktoria Baranova, Estonia – Portrait
  • Jonathan Yearsley, UK – Portrait
  • Alicia Zymslowska, Poland – Puppy
  • Jarmila Eckardt, Germany – Rescue
  • Euan Shannon, UK – Young Pup
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