The search to find the best dogs in Australia!

Dog expert Lara Shannon and five dogs sit on grass to promote new show searching for the best dogs in Australia: The Dog Down Under
Host Lara Shannon is searching for the best dog in Australia! (credit: Mike Tarr)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The nation’s first-ever canine talent show is calling for entries in their search for the best dogs in Australia.

The Dog Down Under competition has officially opened its registration. Dog owners across the country can enter to showcase their pets’ exceptional abilities, achievements, and contributions to society.

With a substantial prize pool exceeding $28,000, the competition promises to highlight the diverse talents and heartwarming stories of Australian dogs.

The program’s host is pet behaviourist Lara Shannon. Not a stranger to canine television, Shannon is also host of popular shows Pooches at Play (ch10) and Animal SOS Australia (7TWO).

And she’s very excited to meet the dogs and their owners, and to hear their special stories.

“The amazing tales of courage, dedication, athletic skills, and tireless work of our canine companions,” Shannon says.

“We urge Australians to nominate their dogs, or dogs they know, into one or more of the five award categories,” adds Shannon.

Pet Behaviourist Lara Shannon gives tips to pet owners to stop their dog biting the postie
Pet behaviourist Lara Shannon (image: PetStock)

Ultimately, the The Dog Down Under competition aims to highlight the significant role dogs, play in our lives.

Shannon says their positive impact on human well-being is obvious in the many key roles they play in our lives.

“Our dogs make us feel good by reducing both our mental and physical stress,” she says.

“(by) promoting relaxation and even boosting our memories.

“Not to mention their innate sixth sense and scent detection skills to pick up when we are sick or in need of help!” adds Shannon. 

Kali the therapy dog in hospital waiting to visit patients for Animal Friendly Life's Australian Dog of the Year 2024
Earlier this year Kali the German Shepherd won another canine competition: the search for the Australian Dog of the Year (image supplied)

The competition includes five categories: Most Talented, Everyday Heroes, Hardest Working, Sporting Legends, and Oldest Dog in Australia. Each recognising different aspects of canine excellence, from sporting prowess to life-saving actions.

Below is an overview of each of the categories:

EVERYDAY HEROES – From wrangling Snakes to saving Koalas from fire, detecting disease and seizures, to raising the alarm of trouble, there are many tales of heroic dogs that have saved lives, even at the cost of their own, and we want to hear their story. 

HARDEST WORKING – From hardworking herders to faithful flock guardians, police dogs and four-legged heroes going to war, to canines helping people in need.  This category is for those dogs with jobs that go above and beyond the call of duty.

SPORTING LEGENDS – from obedience, agility, and flyball to sheepdog trials, sled racing, and much more. This category is for the canine sports stars that are ready to impress with their athletic prowess and sporting attitude.

OLDEST – Have you got Australia’s oldest dog? Could they even take over the World’s Oldest Dog title? 

One finalist will be nominated for each size category -miniature/toy/small, medium, large & giant breed. With the oldest dog across all categories earning the crown.

Ten finalists – including one overall winner – will be chosen for each category, except Oldest Dog. 

Instead, the judges will choose one finalist for each of the Oldest Dog size categories: miniature/toy/small; medium; large/giant breed. The overall winner will then be chosen from amongst the finalists.

Dog lovers can register their interest now, with entries officially opening 22 April 2024 and closing 20May 2024.  

Finalists for each category will be announced from 4 June and winners announced from 9 June 2004.