Writing Competition Categories

Stay tuned for the 2024 Writing Competition. Details will be available soon.

Be certain to read the updated rules prior to entering the competition. There are several changes and important submission rules.

Regular Categories


  1. Article – Health or General Care
  2. Article – Behavior or Training
  3. Article – Rescue
  4. Article – Art or Any Other Topic


Entire issue of Magazine
  1. Single, Related, or All-Breed
  2. Annual, Special Interest, or Any Other Subject


  1. Article – Health or General Care
  2. Article – Behavior or Training
  3. Article – Rescue
  4. Article – Breed
  5. Article – Art or Any Other Topic


Entire publication
  1. Any Topic


  1. Any Topic


Please submit the URL for your blogsite, website, online magazine, or online newsletter for this regular category.
  1. Blogsite
  2. Website
  3. Online Magazine – Entire publication
  4. Online Newsletters – Entire publication


  1. Online Article or Blog Entry – Health or General Care
  2. Online Article or Blog Entry – Behavior or Training
  3. Online Article or Blog Entry – Rescue
  4. Online Article or Blog Entry – Any Other Topic


  1. Single Photo
  2. Series Photos
  3. Single Illustration or Painting
  4. Series of Illustrations or Paintings
  5. Posters, Calendars, Brochures or Pamphlets


  1. Humor
  2. Poetry
  3. Short Fiction – No more than 10,000 words – please provide word count with entry
  4. Essays/Editorials


  1. Video, DVD, or TV Broadcasts
  2. Podcasts
  3. Radio or other Audio

K. CLUB PUBLICATIONS (National, Regional or Local)

Entire Publication
  1. Magazine Format
  2. Newsletter Format


  1. Article – Any Topic
  2. Regular Column or Series


  1. Any Topic


  1. Single, Related, or All-Breed
  2. Rescue or Adoption
  3. Training or Sports
  4. Behavior, Health, or General Care
  5. Human/Animal Bond
  6. Reference
  7. Fiction, Adult or Humor
  8. Children picture books (up to age 3)
  9. Children – Early Readers (ages 4 to 8)
  10. Children – Young Readers (ages 9 to 12)
  11. Children – Young Adult (ages 13 to 18)
Enter the Contest

Special Awards


AKC Club Publication Excellence Award

Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award is for the best article in a national, regional or local AKC club publication in magazine or newsletter format. The award consists of a plaque and a $500 cash grant.

AKC Family Dog Award

Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award is for the best writing (including books, articles and blog posts) about any or all of the good manners programs under the AKC Family Dog umbrella, including AKC Therapy Dog, AKC Trick Dog, AKC Canine Good Citizen, AKC Community Canine, Urban CGC and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy. While participating in these activities that are fun for both dogs and people, dogs become well-socialized and develop a lifelong bond with their owners. This award consists of a $500 cash grant.

AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award

Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award goes to the writer of a print or online feature article that best educates pet owners about responsible dog ownership. The award consists of a plaque and a $500 cash grant. To enter, submit one article, which must also be entered in this year’s contest in one of the regular categories.

AKC Reunite Microchip Awareness Award

Sponsored by AKC Reunite for the best article on how microchips can be used in pet recovery. Articles can include recovery stories of how dogs were identified or returned to owners, permanent identification in cases of theft, uses of microchips to confirm identity of dogs in competition, etc. The award is a $1,000 cash grant. For information about actual recovery stories, writers can contact AKC Reunite at microchip@akcreunite.org.

Captain William Lewis Judy Award

Sponsored by American Legion Post 348 of Brick Township, New Jersey. For a submission in any form of media that educates the public about the important role our military dogs play in our Armed Forces, including issues affecting their emotional and physical care during their training, active service and retirement. The award consists of a $350 cash grant.

Dogwise Best Book Award

Sponsored by Dogwise Publishing. The winner will be chosen by the president of DWAA from the winners of all the book categories. The award is a $500 cash grant. (Do not apply for this award.)

DWAA Distinguished Service Award

Sponsored by the American Kennel Club, this award honors extraordinary achievement and communications excellence. It recognizes the person who, by word, deed, exemplary conduct, public communication and professional excellence, best promotes the interest of the sport of dogs. The award consists of a plaque and a $1,000 cash grant. (Do not apply for this award.)

DWAA Junior Writer Award

Sponsored by DWAA for writers under 18 years of age. This award is to recognize and encourage young writers who exhibit talent, resourcefulness, dedication and integrity in their writing about dogs and dog-related topics. Award: $400.00 cash grant per category, a DWAA Maxwell Medallion, and lapel pin.

  • Category: Ages 10-12
  • Category: Ages 13-14
  • Category: Ages 15-17

Sally and Tom Reeder

Harrison Stephens Inspirational Feature Award

Named in honor of Harrison Stephens, a newspaper editor who wrote thought-provoking features marked by journalistic integrity and humor until his death just before his 100th birthday. This award is for a feature article that highlights the human-canine bond and leaves the reader with a smile. Potential topics include working dogs (or a lazy dog with a winning personality), or dog-centric nonprofits that promote positive outcomes for pets and people. The award is sponsored by Sally and Tom Reeder and consists of a $300 grant.

James Colasanti, Jr.

James Colasanti, Jr. Poetry Award

Sponsored by James Colasanti Jr., for the poem/poetry which best exemplifies the unconditional love of a dog. The award is a $250 cash grant.

Lisa Begin-Kruysman

Manette Begin-Loudon Memorial Award

Sponsored by Lisa Begin-Kruysman. Presented to the writer/producer of a work that promotes awareness of the challenges faced by those who advocate for dogs included in the “Bully Breed” category, encompassing, but not limited to, topics centered on Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), Dog Fighting Rings and breed discrimination in general. The award consists of a $300.00 grant.

National Dog Show Presented by Purina Excellence in Writing/Producing Award

Sponsored by The National Dog Show Presented by Purina, NBC’s Thanksgiving Day TV special, this award will be presented to the article or production in any media that best captures the essence of the human-animal bond in the context of therapy dog visitation at schools, healthcare institutions, weather/tragedy locations or other relevant venues where a need for comfort or anxiety relief is serviced by certified/registered therapy dogs dispatched by a verified organization. The award is being sponsored in conjunction with the National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium at Rowan University, America’s most prominent open forum for developing and sharing best practices for advocates, aspirants and practitioners in both the veterinary and lay communities. The award consists of a $500 cash grant to the individual to be used as an incentive to further pursue the topic going forward.

PSI Professional Pet Care Award

Sponsored by Pet Sitters International, this award is presented to the entry that either best educates pet parents about the benefits of using professional pet sitters or dog walkers, or about professional pet care as a career/the experiences of professional pet sitters and dog walkers. Qualifying online or print entries include newspaper or magazine articles and blog posts. This award consists of a $300 cash prize.


Rio Award

Sponsored by Jen Reeder and Bryan Fryklund in honor of their beloved Labrador retriever mix, Rio, this award is for an article, book or essay that profiles a dog who changed someone’s life in a profoundly positive way. The award consists of a $300 cash prize.

Merrie Meyers

Second Chance Award

Sponsored by Merrie Meyers, this award goes to the best article, book, blog, TV segment, radio spot, video, column or other creative media format that reflects the lives of older dogs that receive a chance for a new fur-ever home. This may include stories about programs that enable older dogs to retain their homes or find new homes; dogs who are retired from a life of work in law enforcement, rehomed from shelters or rescues, show animals placed in pet homes, medical victories, hospice care for homeless dogs or other ways in which communities and/or individuals are helping to make sure no old dog dies alone or afraid. The winner will receive a $250 cash prize.

Sleepypod Pet Safety Award

Sponsored by Sleepypod, this award is for the best article or book that shares tips for pet safety during travel and/or anecdotes of dogs helped by owners who take safety precautions. The award consists of a $500 cash grant.

Walter R. Fletcher Memorial Award

Sponsored by The Westminster Kennel Club in memory of legendary dog show reporter Walter Fletcher, this annual award goes to the reporter who best exemplifies continued press coverage of dog shows in America. The writer must submit a bylined article in a nationally distributed print or online general interest publication about a dog show (or shows). Articles must be a minimum of 1,000 words in length. The winner will receive $500 and a seat in the working Press area for both nights of the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Fletcher Memorial Chair for both nights of the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.

Whole Dog Journal Health and Wellness Award

Sponsored by Whole Dog Journal, this award recognizes the article/column that did the best to promote home-care health awareness — identifying health and wellness best practices that dog owners can carry out at home for the dogs they love. Whole Dog Journal helps dogs by helping dog owners and wants to recognize an outstanding written piece that does the same. $500 cash grant.