An autism assistance dog which has completely changed the life of a 13 year-old boy and given him the courage to leave his house and face a world he finds incredibly hard; a guide dog which has given his owner reason to live and has motivated him to train for the England blind football team after he lost his sight as a result of juvenile arthritis; a Bull Terrier that saved the life of his owner, who has MS, after she collapsed unconscious;  and a military dog which sniffs out explosives who is currently on his fourth operational tour in Afghanistan with the British Army, saving lives on the front line. These are the four dogs that have been selected as finalists for the Crufts dog hero competition, Eukanuba Friends for Life.

The annual Eukanuba Friends for Life competition celebrates the unique relationship people have with their dogs, the important role man’s best friend plays throughout our lives and support they give us in the face of adversity.

Judges from the Kennel Club, the UK’s largest dog welfare organisation and Eukanuba, experts in premium pet nutrition, have selected four inspiring finalists to go forward for the public vote, with the winner being announced in the Genting Arena at the Birmingham NEC on the final day of Crufts, the world’s largest dog show, on Sunday 12th March.  These four dog heroes are just some of the dogs celebrated at the show for the ways that they enrich our lives.

The finalists for 2017 are:

Kellie Ceccarelli, Veterinary Training Manager at Eukanuba said: “Eukanuba Friends For Life showcases the impact that dogs can make on our life, and we believe we should make a lifelong impact on theirs by providing them with advance nutrition and appropriate care to help dogs live a long healthy and active life.

“We had some fantastic nominees this year from all over the UK so choosing just four finalists was incredibly tough.  All of this year’s finalists are incredibly worthy winners, and all share a very special relationship with their pets. We would now encourage people to vote for their favourite to show their support to these extraordinary dogs and we are excited to see who will be named this year’s winner of Eukanuba Friends for Life.”

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Dogs play a significant role in our lives. Every day there are dogs out there saving lives in war zones, giving confidence and independence to those with disabilities, and showing remarkable bravery and loyalty as pets.

“Eukanuba Friends for Life is an opportunity to celebrate these dogs that quietly go about changing people’s lives in their own unique and special way.

“Dogs are known as man’s best friend and our four finalists go to show exactly why that is.”

The winner of the Eukanuba Friends for Life competition will receive £5,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for the dog charity of the choice, with the other finalists receiving £1,000 for their chosen dog charity.

The public can now vote for their favourite finalist until midday on Sunday 12th March, by visiting

The winner will be revealed in the Genting Arena at Crufts on Sunday 12th March.

For journalists who would like further press information, images or interview requests contact

Videos for each of the finalists can be embedded from the below links. Contact the press office for raw files.

Joel and Caddie

Nathan and Hudson

Sally and Bowser

Bobby and Charlie


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