Special Report

The Most Heroic Dogs in America

We love dogs for a host of reasons. They’re fun, frisky, loyal, funny, affectionate, compassionate, and comforting. They’re also brave, a noble characteristic people have known about for thousands of years.

There is evidence that dogs have been comrades of soldiers for several millennia, fighting alongside their two-legged warriors, standing guard, and carrying messages.
American Humane, which claims to be America’s first national humane organization, recognizes canine courage on the battlefield and in our hometowns by honoring hero dogs.
This July 4th, as America celebrates its freedom and remembers those who serve to protect our liberties, 24/7 Wall St. is taking the opportunity to recognize our canine friends..

Click here to see a list of the most heroic dogs in America.

Every year, American Humane holds a nationwide vote that recognizes America’s hero dogs in these categories: law enforcement/arson, service, therapy, military, search and rescue, guide/hearing, and emerging hero (for “ordinary” dogs who do extraordinary things).

Many of the dogs have been honored for their work in search and rescue missions following hurricanes, mudslides, and earthquakes, or for helping and protecting soldiers in war-torn places such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is worth noting that these dogs are following in the footsteps of canine heroes such as Sergeant Stubby, Smoky, and Roselle. During World War I, Sergeant Stubby comforted wounded soldiers and sniffed out deadly gas. Smoky gained fame during World War II by dragging a telegraph wire through a 70-foot pipe that was crucial to the Allies’ reconnaissance efforts against the Japanese. Roselle guided a vision-impaired man down 78 floors of Tower One of the World Trade Center during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

To determine the most heroic dogs in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed those canines that won or were nominated for the award for heroic deeds performed between 2011 and 2018, which is presented annually by American Humane. The Washington, D.C.-based organization was founded in 1877 to ensure the safety and well-being of animals. Each year, American Humane recognizes dogs that have performed brave deeds in seven categories. To be considered for the 24/7 Wall St. list, a dog had to have performed a heroic act. 24/7 Wall St. did not want to quantify heroic deeds of dogs — who are all subjects of hundreds of engaging stories — so we compiled our list based on the most compelling stories about these animals.