Top 10 Heroic Service Dogs that Risked Everything

Like the people who daily put their lives on the line to help others, heroic service dogs have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect and save their human companions. 

You might think these dogs are just there to provide emotional support or help with daily tasks, but these furry friends have been known to do some pretty amazing things.

The American Humane organization recognizes the most heroic of these rescue dogs in the Hero Dog Awards for their bravery and outstanding loyalty.

In this article, we'll look at 10 of the most heroic service dogs that have sacrificed their own safety to save their humans from potential danger.

How Does a Service Dog Become a Hero?

There are seven Hero Dog categories:

  • Law enforcement & detection
  • Guide/hearing
  • Military
  • Service
  • Therapy
  • Search and rescue, and
  • Shelter

And within those categories, there are three different levels of recognition, namely gold, silver, and bronze. The level is determined by the number of votes each dog receives from the public. 

The Hero Dog Awards shines a bright light on the fantastic and extraordinary things these dogs do for us daily. It boosts awareness and encourages people to give pups the credit they deserve. 

The more people that vote for their favorite rescue dogs, the more dogs are recognized each year.

While some of the dogs on this list might not have received an award, their stories are just as brave. So without further ado, here is our list of the 10 most heroic service dogs.

1. Brutis (Golden Retriever)

Brutis the heroic service dog


In 2004, this gorgeous Golden Retriever saved his owner’s grandkids from a venomous coral snake, one of North America's most poisonous reptiles.

With his quick thinking and bravery, he snatched the snake and pulled it away before it could do any harm. Although Brutis himself was bitten and barely escaped death, he made a full recovery.

He was then flown to Los Angeles to receive his very own star and a National Hero Dog award. This was a massive moment for Brutis and Golden Retrievers, as they are known to be among the most popular service dog breeds.

2. Chopper

Chopper, the Labrador Retriever, was trained to detect explosive devices in the Afghanistan war from 2013 to 2014. In doing so, this pup was able to save the lives of countless Marines and soldiers.

Sadly, during this time, one of the escorted vehicles was struck by a blast and Chopper suffered head injuries. Despite this, he fully recovered and returned to his duties as a service dog.

Chopper is now a part of the search and rescue group working on explosives at John F. Kennedy International Airport. This just goes to show that service dogs can come in all shapes and sizes, and each one has its own unique capabilities. 

3. Chi Chi

chi chi heroic service dog


Meet Chi Chi, a hospice therapy dog companion that provides love and support to those in their final moments.

Chi Chi was found in a garbage bag in South Korea with injuries that resulted in the amputation of both legs. Despite her own physical disabilities, she is an invaluable therapy dog who comforts those who need it the most.

This pup has brought joy and happiness to many people during their final moments, and she is highly regarded as a hero. Like other therapy dogs, Chi Chi is a gentle and loving dog that knows when to provide comfort.

4. Edo

edo heroic service dog


Edo is a K-9 dog trained by the Los Angeles Police Department to help solve murder cases. In 2016, two murder suspects broke into a home occupied by a father and his three children. As soon as gunshots were fired, Edo entered the house and confronted one of the suspects, putting an end to the attack.

The children had been shot by the suspect but survived because Edo came to their aid. Luckily, both were able to make a full recovery. If it weren't for Edo, the situation could have been much worse, and more lives could have been lost.

5. Gabe

gabe heroic service dog


Gabe is a labrador retriever, a military dog deployed in Iraq from 2006-2008. He was involved in more than 210 combat assignments and, like Chopper, discovered several explosives and weapons.

Gabe was the only war dog at the time and was awarded for his bravery on these dangerous missions. After the war, Gabe visited the wounded troops he served alongside during the war to provide support.

6. Kobuk

kobuk heroic service dog


Kobuk is a search and rescue German Shepherd that helped the police save an elderly woman lost in Main Woods on July 9, 2014.

Ruth Brennan, a 77-year-old woman with diabetes and dementia, found herself lost in the woods for two nights without any food, water, or belongings.

Kobuk, along with a search and rescue team, found Ruth unharmed but dehydrated. As responders administered treatment, Kobuk sat beside her to provide some love and support during this difficult time.

7. Ginny

ginny heroic service dog


Have you ever heard of a dog who loves felines? Ginny, the Schnauzer, certainly fits this description! She is well-known as the cat rescue dog. 

Philip Gonzalez realized how special Ginny was and took her in. She was on an extraordinary mission, saving cats from dangerous situations. 

There are many famous stories about her rescues, including when she jumped down a pipe to save five kittens. She also saved a kitten from breaking glass, injuring her paws in the process. 

She has saved an astounding 900 cats in her lifetime, from alleyways, shelters and buildings to dumpsters, barns, and other places. 

8. Eve

eve heroic service dog


Eve is a Rottweiler who saved a woman from a burning car in 1991.

Katie Vaughn, a 41-year-old paralyzed woman, noticed smoke from the engine compartment. To escape, she tried to assemble her folding wheelchair, but the smoke became too strong and overwhelmed her.

Her Rottweiler saved her! She grabbed Katie and dragged her out of her van before it caught fire. Mrs. Vaughn was not injured, but Eve received burns on her paws.

9. Toby


Debbie Parkhurst was 45 when the incident occurred. She was eating an apple, and a large chunk of it got stuck in her throat. After trying to do a Heimlich maneuver on herself, she was unsuccessful and resorted to beating her chest.

Toby, her two-year-old Golden Retriever, noticed and sprang into action. He quickly got on his hind legs and brought his owner to the ground. The apple dislodged from Mrs. Parkhurst's throat, saving her life.

One of Britain's most famous TV broadcasting networks, the BBC,  broadcasted Toby’s amazing story of how he saved his owner’s life. 

10. Killian

Killian is a Labrador Retriever. He is a treasured family dog that stopped a babysitter from abusing a small baby.

Jordan and Benjamin thought Alexis Khan was the perfect babysitter when they looked at her past experiences and profile. They were so confident in her abilities that they hired her to babysit for their next five months. They didn't know that Khan was a terrible person, but Killian knew.

Khan was a cruel babysitter who would scold and sometimes slap the baby. 

As a result, Killian attempted to attack her once, raising the parent's suspicions. They then hid an iPhone under the sofa and were able to confirm their fears.

Killian's actions led to Alexis Khan being arrested and sentenced. She was also registered as a child abuser. Killian not only saved a baby's life and inadvertently prevented future children from being hurt.

This sums up our top 10 list of dogs who have saved humans.

These stories are unique and heart-warming, showing us that dogs are a man's best friend. We often don't recognize how loyal and protective they can be until it's too late. We should all learn from these stories and be grateful for the furry friends that we have in our lives.

Why not spoil your best friend this Christmas? From harnesses to dog hats and shoes, you'll find something special in the Sparkpaws range.