Find Out Which Five Dogs Won the 2022 AKC Awards for Canine Excellence

AKC Awards for Canine Excellence


To celebrate the dogs that do extraordinary things in the service of humankind, the AKC Humane Fund holds its annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). Entries were reviewed and award recipients will be announced in December.

Each year, the AKC Humane Fund pays tribute to five dedicated, hardworking dogs for making significant contributions to an individual or entire community. Since its creation in 2000, more than 100 ACE awards have been presented to dogs of various breeds from states across the nation. Former ACE recipients have included a police K-9 that uncovered the work of a serial killer, a Search and Rescue dog that helped provide closure to grieving families, and a family pet that fought for his life after saving a 7-year-old girl from a rattlesnake.

Each dog that is nominated for an ACE Award is truly special in the heart of an individual or community,” says Doug Ljungren, President of the AKC Humane Fund. “These canine heroes have improved the lives of many and we’re proud to honor five of them each year with this award, which celebrates the human-canine bond.

The winners of the 2022 awards will be announced on December 11 on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. EST. Learn more about what each award means.


2022 Awards for Canine Excellence Categories

One award is given in each of the following categories:

Uniformed Service K-9

Eligibility: Full-time working K-9s in the realms of city, county, state, or federal law enforcement; the military; firefighting; customs and border patrol; emergency services.

Exemplary Companion

Eligibility: Dogs without formal training or certification that have nonetheless distinguished themselves in some way and have made a meaningful contribution to their owners or communities.

Search and Rescue

Eligibility: Dogs certified to assist in wilderness and urban tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and locating missing people.


Eligibility: Certified therapy dogs working in hospitals, schools, disaster sites, war zones, and wherever else the affection of a good dog can provide comfort.


Eligibility: Certified service dogs that enrich the lives of physically or mentally disabled owners. Including but not limited to, guide dogs for the blind, seizure-alert dogs, hearing dogs, and balance dogs.


Watch AKC Heroes: 2022 Awards for Canine Excellence

The 2022 ACE winners will be announced in a special on ESPN2. AKC Heroes: 2022 Awards for Canine Excellence will air on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. EST on Sunday, Dec. 11. Check your local provider for your channel. If you have a cable log-in, you can also watch on the ESPN app or website.

A donation of $1,000 will also be made in each recipient’s name to the pet-related charity of their choice. The names of the five recipients will be added to the ACE plaque on permanent display in the AKC Humane Fund Library at AKC headquarters in New York City.

  • 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 and mixed breed 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 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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