DWAA 2020 Writing Competition Categories: Regulars and Specials

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


5. Single, Related, or All-Breed
6. Annual, Special Interest, or Any Other Subject


7. Article – Health or General Care
8. Article – Behavior or Training
9. Article – Rescue
10. Article – Breed
11. Article – Art or Any Other Topic



13. Any Topic

F. ONLINE: Please submit the URL for your blogsite, website, online magazine, or online newsletter for this regular category.

14. Blogsite
15. Website
16. Online Magazine
17. Online Newsletter


18. Online Article or Blog Entry– Health or General Care
19. Online Article or Blog Entry– Behavior or Training
20. Online Article or Blog Entry– Rescue
21. Online Article or Blog Entry – Any Other Topic


22. Single Photo
23. Series Photos
24. Single Illustration or Painting
25. Series of Illustrations or Paintings
26. Posters, Calendars, Brochures or Pamphlets (CAN BE SUBMITTED DIGITALLY OR VIA SNAIL MAIL)


27. Humor
28. Poetry
29. Short Fiction – No more than 10,000 words – please provide word count with entry
30. Essays/Editorials


31. Video or TV Broadcasts
32. Podcasts
33. Radio or Other Audio


34. Magazine Format
35. Newsletter Format


36. Article – Any Topic
37. Regular Column or Series



39. Single, Related, or All-Breed
40. Rescue or Adoption
41. Training or Sports
42. Behavior, Health, or General Care
43. Human/Animal Bond
44. Reference
45. Fiction, Young Adult, or Humor
46. Children: Picture Books (up to 3 years old)
47. Children: Early Readers (ages 4 to 8)
48. Children: Young Readers (ages 9 to 12)
49. Children: Young Adult (ages 12 to 18)

Special Award Categories

Special Awards are made possible through the generosity of individuals and organizations. Special Award entry MUST ALSO BE entered in a regular category first.

All special award entries must be submitted digitally unless the entry is a book, which may submitted digitally or via snail mail.

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 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.

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.

The 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.

Fidose of Reality

The Canine Scribbles Award

The Canine Scribbles award is given for the best article describing any life-changing event(s) from ownership of a purebred dog. A nonfiction article of 1000 to 1500 words, published in print or online, must be written by a single author. A photo of the canine about which the article is written should accompany the article. This award is sponsored by Barbara E. Magera. The award consists of $350.00 cash grant.

The Dogster Health & Wellness Award

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. Dogster helps dogs by helping dog owners and wants to recognize an outstanding written piece that does the same. $500 cash grant.

The DOGTV Canine Enrichment Award

Sponsored by DOGTV, this award recognizes the best article in print or digital, including blog posts, that discusses canine enrichment and its role to improve a dog’s physical and mental health. The award consists of a $500 cash grant.

The Fidose of Reality Dog Blogger Award

Sponsored by Darlene and Carol Bryant on behalf of FidoseofReality.com. The winning entry appears online only on a dog blog that is not a corporate website. This award will be given to the best-written dog blog post, including but not limited to paragraph structure, proper use of grammar and punctuation, usage of headings and subheadings, and the ability to educate or tell a story. It is preferable for the piece to be written in the voice of the entrant and not the entrant’s dog.  The award consists of a $300 cash grant, a trophy, and a copy of Pet Blogging For Love & Money, which Carol Bryant co-authored.

Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health Award

Sponsored by Dr. Harvey’s Fine Health Foods for Companion Animals, this award is for the best online blog post written by a dog blogger that exemplifies good health and wellness for dogs. The award consists of a $500 cash grant.

The Grey Muzzle Award

Sponsored by The Grey Muzzle Organization, this award goes to the best article, book, blog, TV segment, radio spot, video, column or other creative media format that best educates, promotes, or demonstrates to the public the plight of at-risk senior dogs. This may include stories about special programs at a rescue or shelter that enable older best friends to retain their homes or find new forever homes, seniors for seniors programs, 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 $500 cash prize and a commemorative plaque.

DWAA Junior Writer Award

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: Amount $250 per category, DWAA Maxwell Medallion, and lapel pin.

We are awarding FOUR awards by age group. Each winner will receive an amount to be determined for each age grouping:

  • Category One: Ages 7-9
  • Category Two: Ages 10-12
  • Category Three: Ages 13-14
  • Category Four: Ages 15-17

Fear Free Dog Enrichment Award

Sponsored by Fear Free, LLC, this is awarded for the article, book, blog, TV segment, radio spot, video, column or other creative media formats that best educates, promotes, or demonstrates how enrichment activities (exercise, food puzzles, scent training, etc.) can benefit a dog’s emotional—not just physical—well-being and the role that has in their overall health. This may also include topics relating to how the resulting benefits of such enrichment to the dog’s emotional well-being can help set them up for more successful veterinary visits in the future, thus living a happier, healthier life. This award consists of a $2,000 cash grant and a one-of-a-kind commemorative award.

The 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.

The Manette Begin-Loudon Memorial Award

Sponsored by Lisa and Richard Kruysman and Cindy and Jack Begin. 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.

James Colasanti, Jr. Poetry Award

For the poem/poetry which best exemplifies the unconditional love of a dog. Sponsored by James Colasanti Jr. The award is a $200 cash grant.

The Captain William 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.

The PSI Professional Pet Care Award

Sponsored by Pet Sitters International (PSI), this award is presented to the entry that best educates pet owners about the benefits of using professional pet sitters. Qualifying online or print entries include newspaper or magazine articles and blog posts. This award consists of a $300 cash prize.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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’s work must appear in a print or online publication with coverage generated from Westminster Week events. The winner will be honored with a reserved seat in the Walter Fletcher Memorial Chair for both nights of the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The chair is located at the end of the front row, in the working press section, on the arena floor of Madison Square Garden. The winner will also receive $500.

Dogwise Best Book Award

Sponsored by Dogwise Publishing. $500 to the author of the best book. 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.