Meet the Winners of the 2020 Good Dog Photo Contest

See the overall winner and other editors’ picks, the top readers’ choice vote getters, and lots more heartwarming and hilarious canines from this year’s contest

good dog photo contest

The 2020 edition of our Good Dog Photo Contest proved once again that Garden & Gun readers have a nose for good dogs and great photos. We received nearly 12,000 submissions and one million votes, and it’s a treat for us to shine a spotlight on the many, many loyal, gorgeous, and just plain hilarious canines around the South and beyond. As always, picking a winner was no easy task, but we just couldn’t take our eyes off Dylian, a water-loving Chesapeake Bay retriever from El Paso, Texas, with a 1,000-watt smile. A special shout out as well to the readers’ choice winner, Oscar, a bluetick coonhound from Mobile, Alabama, who lets nothing stand in his way.

Meet Dylian and Oscar as well as several more of our favorites and the other top readers’ choice vote getters below. Because we had so many great entries, we’ve also put together collections of dogs being buddiesfunny dogsdogs in the field, and a slew of adorable puppies.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to submit photos and vote. It certainly lifted our spirits during this trying year, and we hope these photos help bring you some doggie joy. And Dylian, keep an eye on the mailbox for a G&G gift pack headed your way.

The Overall Winner


Dylian, Chesapeake Bay Retriever
El Paso, Texas

When Una and Ben Daggett found out they were being transferred to El Paso, Texas, for Ben’s military career, their first thought was their Chesapeake Bay retriever, Dylian. “Dylian loves the water so much, he’d grow gills if he could,” Una says. Their previous home in Austin had a lake nearby where Dylian swam daily. “So when we moved out here where it’s so dry, we knew we had to buy a house with a pool for him.”

As the winning shot makes abundantly clear, Dylian took quite well to his new swimming hole. To snap the photo, Una stood in the pool with a GoPro and asked him to jump in. “Once he trusted that I would move out of the way, he was willing to do it a million times,” she says, laughing. “And I learned to move pretty fast so we didn’t collide. Dylian is a ninety-pound dog!”

As for that crazy grin on his face? “Oh, that’s just how he looks when he’s jumping in the water,” Una explains. “He is always an expressive dog, but water really brings it out in him. It’s joy.” As a former vet technician and a photographer, Una often snaps photos of Dylian and her other two dogs. “Dylian gets excited when he sees my camera—he knows it means we are going on an adventure.”

At ten years old, Dylian hasn’t slowed down, and his love of chasing balls and swimming hasn’t waned. “He’s definitely not a hunting dog,” Una says. “The only way he’d chase a bird is if it had a ball in its beak.” But his Chesapeake Bay retriever nature sure comes out in his love of his personal pool. “He just runs out, jumps in the pool, and swims laps.” Smiling from ear to ear, no doubt. —Lindsey Liles

The Readers’ Choice Winner


Oscar, Bluetick Coonhound
Mobile, Alabama

Oscar had a lot of fans cheering him on. With 45,238 votes, the bluetick coonhound edged out the competition to take this year’s Readers’ Choice title—and became a minor celebrity around his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, even securing an invitation to the city council and featuring in the mayor’s newsletter.

“Everyone loves Oscar,” says his owner, Jenn Greene. “He literally gives hugs. He stands on his hind legs and puts his paws on your shoulders.” That’s not all that distinguishes Oscar—he’s also blind. He was born with glaucoma and ended up as a discarded puppy at the Monroe County Animal Shelter, with a pressure on his eyeballs so great that he was in excruciating pain. The director of the shelter called Greene, who works with the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue in Mobile, and they arranged an immediate transfer for surgery to remove his eyes. After the operation, Greene couldn’t part with him, first fostering and then adopting him. In the early months of Oscar’s life, she would set up different configurations of boxes around the house to help him learn how to work out his surroundings. “I wanted him to know that wherever he goes, he has to figure out a way.”

Now just a year old, Oscar is thriving. He joins Greene at the Delta Bike Project, a biking nonprofit that she directs, where he loves meeting new people. “He’s become this wonderful, smart, loving dog that doesn’t know he’s blind,” Greene says.

The winning picture is proof that blindness doesn’t hold Oscar back: He’s perched among the branches of a live oak in his neighborhood. “I try not to stop him from doing anything, so I let him find his way up the tree,” Greene says with a laugh. “But after I snapped the photo, I sort of had to climb up after him and carry him down.”

The shot was an instant hit, and the Mobile community rallied around Oscar to share his photo and get the word out about this special dog. Local bar Callaghan’s Irish Social Club even cooked up a bacon burger for him to celebrate the victory. “Oscar just means so many things to different people,” Greene says. “They love to see how well he does with what he’s overcome. And we always like to say that Oscar sees with his heart.” —Lindsey Liles

Runners-Up: Editors’ Picks


Ralphie, Weimaraner/Vizsla
Waterford, Michigan

Hades, Wire Hair Fox Terrier
Orinda, California

Jolt, Boykin Spaniel
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Charlie, German Shorthaired Pointer
Homewood, Alabama

Heidi, Jack Russell
Tallaght, Ireland

Harry, French Bulldog
Rockville, Maryland

Hugo, German Shorthaired Pointer
Fernandina Beach, Florida

Liam, Golden Retriever
Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Major and Minor, Weimaraners
Phoenix, Arizona

Beaux, German Shorthaired Pointer
Rincon, Georgia

Bubba, Petite Goldendoodle
Morristown, Tennessee

Julius, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Atlanta, Georgia

Hank, Llewellin Setter
Charlotte, North Carolina

Max, Mixed Breed
North Charleston, South Carolina

Juneau and Raleigh, Redbone Coonhounds
Mason, Michigan

Hank, Boykin Spaniel
Nashville, Tennessee

Phil, Basset Hound
Washington, D.C.

Hootie, Black Labrador Retriever
Lexington, Kentucky

Penny, Boykin Spaniel
Greenwood, South Carolina

Runners-Up: Readers’ Choice


Hank, Blue Heeler
Jersey City, New Jersey

Lilly, Standard Poodle
Wellington, Florida

Buddy, Black Mouth Cur/Boxer
Monroe, Louisiana

Atlas, German Shepherd
Cordova, Tennessee

Sophie, Labrador Retriever
Westminster, Colorado

Kota, Labrador Retriever
Charleston, South Carolina

Tally, Labrador Retriever
Kansas City, Missouri

Finch, Great Pyrenees
Coupland, Texas

Fenway, Black Labrador Retriever
Richmond, Virginia