7-10 March 2024, The NEC Birmingham

The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award

The Kennel Club has revealed the finalists shortlisted for its prestigious Hero Dog Award. The public can now vote below for the four-legged friend they want to see crowned as the UK’s most heroic dog at Crufts on Sunday 10 March.

Find out more about our 2024 finalists in their specially-made videos and vote for your Hero Dog 2024


Child’s Champion – hearing dog Gordon and 12 year old Elyana Kuhlemeier


Extraordinary Life of a Working Dog – Search and rescue dog Vesper, and her handler Niamh Darcy
Best Friends – Australian Shepherd Echo, and her best friend, Freya Harris

Hero Support Dog –Phoebe a Golden Retriever, and Jazz Turner her 25-year-old owner

You can read more about each of the finalists and the award here. The public vote is open from 20 February until 4pm on Sunday 10 March 2024.

The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award overall winner will be announced by the award’s ambassador, Paralympian Libby Clegg, in the Resorts World Arena at the Birmingham NEC, and on Channel 4, on the final day of Crufts on Sunday 10 March. The winner and all finalists will receive donations from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust for their nominated canine charity, to help make a difference for dogs.

Sandra and Balto. Credit The Kennel Club and Eleanor Riley | Hero Dog Award | Crufts 2024

Balto - our Rescue Dog Hero 2024

This year, the award is also honouring Balto, a rescue Husky, as its ‘Rescue Dog Hero 2024’. Balto sadly passed away before the award concluded, but he will be specially recognised at Crufts for his heroic deeds, which included visiting care homes, hospitals, schools and mental health units as a therapy dog, supporting the mental health and wellbeing of officers and civilian staff at Humberside Police as a Wellbeing Dog, and fundraising for charities including Husky rescue groups, Refuge4Pets and charities that help those who struggle to afford food and vet care for their dogs, alongside his owner, Sandra Heathcoate, a retired police officer from Derbyshire, who turned his life around after he was found as a stray.


Nominations for 2025

The annual Kennel Club Hero Dog Award celebrates the unique relationship people have with their dogs, the important role man’s best friend plays throughout our lives and the support they give us in the face of adversity. Nominations for the 2025 award will open again in March.