Meet the Winners of G&G’s Annual Good Dog Photo Contest

The top sporting dog, the fan favorite, and the best in show—plus the runners-up

Our 2023 Good Dog Photo Contest, presented in partnership with Eukanuba, showed once again how much G&G readers love their canines. With more than 4,300 heart-melting, hilarious, and handsome entries, the job of selecting the champs was a predictable challenge. G&G editors couldn’t help but smile back at the goofy, grinning portrait of Bandit, our overall winner. In the sporting dog category, the water-slicked image of Rucker, a three-year-old Labrador retriever, captured the essence of man’s best hunting companion. Eukanuba is sending prize packs to Bandit and Rucker, and we included their photos in the December/January issue of Garden & Gun. In the readers’ choice competition, Juliette aka Goober, a terrier mix, received the most online votes. More on those good dogs below.

The Overall Winner

Bandit, Australian shepherd

Columbia, South Carolina

Three-and-a-half-year-old Bandit has the playful nature of a puppy and the integrity of an older dog, according to Perry Rainey and his wife, Cindy, who have loved Australian shepherds for a quarter century (Bandit is their sixth of the famously intelligent breed). 

His energy and enthusiasm are his best and, at times, worst qualities, the Raineys say. “He loves everyone but can be a guard dog,” Perry adds; he barks at anyone who walks by their house and keeps an especially protective watch over the Raineys’ seventeen-month old granddaughter.

As a puppy he sported a black mark on his face that looked like a bandit’s mask, hence his name. This award-winning snapshot was taken about a year ago by a dog-sitting friend, Ethan Osborne. In it, Bandit is lying on his back—something he does quite often, usually while sleeping—wearing an adorably goofy grin that stole our judges’ hearts.


The Sporting Dog Winner

Rucker, Labrador retriever

Bardstown, Kentucky

Three-year-old Rucker’s social, affectionate nature caught Jameson Hinkebein’s eye during Hinkebein’s search for the perfect gun dog companion at Grimesland Labradors. But Rucker, whose middle name is Rye in honor of his owner’s love of bourbon, has also proven himself in the field.

Ethan Horner of Primm Springs Wildlife Co. captured this winning photo of Rucker in eastern Arkansas on opening day of the 2022 duck season. That morning, Rucker picked up around thirty-five ducks. His enthusiasm is contagious: “His desire for licking fish and retrieving birds is what fuels my love for fishing and hunting and the outdoors,” Hinkebein says.

The Readers’ Choice Winner

Juliette aka Goober, terrier mix

Edgewater, Florida

Terrier mix Juliette, better known as Goober, is clearly a pro at making “puppy dog eyes.” Her photo won the popular vote in this year’s contest.

Owner Duane Stagner rescued Juliette and her twin brother, Romeo, from a local animal shelter. According to Stagner, Juliette’s empathetic nature is her most endearing quality. Maybe less endearing? “Some neighbors who loved Juliette have moved away. They always took Juliette inside and gave her a treat. Her worst habit is waiting for the new neighbors that bought their house to open the door so she can run inside and sit at the ‘treat’ cabinet.” (But who could deny that face?)


Runners-Up: Overall


Gus, English bulldog

Greensboro, North Carolina

Penny Lane, mutt

Morristown, New Jersey

Posh, Australian Labradoodle

South West Ranches, Florida

BB, poodle

Ruckersville, Virginia

Vincenzo, Spinone Italiano

Sandwich, Massachusetts

Sawyer, golden retriever

Jesup, Iowa


Jerry, Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Aspen, Colorado

Jasper, black and tan mix

Waynesville, North Carolina


Hank, Labrador retriever

Austin, Texas

Sissy, Australian cattle dog

Stokesdale, North Carolina

Moonshine, golden retriever

Chesapeake, Virginia


Griffy, collie

Baton Rogue, Louisiana

Yukon, golden retriever

Melbourne, Florida

Poppy, mini Labradoodle

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida


Sky, mini bull dog

Sarasota, Florida

Libbie, golden retriever

Richmond, Virginia


Runners-Up: Sporting Dogs

Smokey, English cocker spaniel

Clyde Park, Montana

The Honorable Judge Angus B. Coburg, English springer spaniel

Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tucker, German shorthaired pointer

Lucedale, Mississippi


Gus, Labrador retriever

Rockwall, Texas

River, Labrador retriever

Monticello, Arkansas


Benny, German shorthaired pointer

Tallahassee, Florida

TC, Labrador retriever

Cairo, Georgia

JJ, English cocker spaniel

Huntsville, Alabama


Runners-Up: Readers’ Choice

Dessie, German shepherd

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Massey Ferguson, Neapolitan mastiff

Dothan, Alabama

Zeus and Beau, Labrador retriever and Boston terrier

Coeur dAlene, Idaho


Q, German shorthaired pointer

Lexington, Kentucky

Katie, German shepherd

Orange, California

Kirby, King Cavalier Charles spaniel

Charleston, South Carolina

Douglas, dachshund

Cary, North Carolina

Willow, beagle mix

Brandon, Mississippi