Your life in their paws: meet Finland’s hero dogs

From tiny Chihuahuas to massive Boerboels - the canine companions who showed why they're our best friends!

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Hero retriever Soni / Credit: Finnish Kennel Club

Finland’s hero dogs are being honoured for their life-saving efforts.

The Finnish Kennel Club has selected 18 top canines to receive awards this year, for warning their owners about sickness, fire, explosions or choking. Some of the dogs also defended their humans or saved them from drowning.

“The Kennel Club is pleased to reward the hero dogs, and there’s quite many this year” says Harri Lehkonen, Chairman of the Kennel Club Board.

“Again, honourable stories points out how many ways a dog can help a person. Such positive messages about the good relationship between dogs and people are more than welcome” he says.

Jack Russel saves boy from slurry tank 

One of the dogs winning an award is 1-year-old Jack Russell terrier Täplä, who saved a 6-year-old boy from drowning in a slurry tank.

The boy had left his house to go to a nearby farm, and decided to explore a slurry tank along the way. He fell in, and couldn’t get out again.

Täplä ran around the tank and attracted the attention of a farm worker who saw the seriousness of the situation and managed to fish the boy out of the slurry before he drowned.

Finnish Spitz fights off a bear

Another act of heroism came from a Finnish Spitz called Piitu, who defended his family from a bear.

A man and his daughter had gone bird hunting in the forest, and when they returned to their car encountered a bear which ran towards them. Piitu rished between the bear and his family and started to bark at the bigger animal, defending his owner and daughter.

Faced with the ferocious Finnish Spitz – a dog originally bred to help with hunting – the bear turned and ran back into the forest.

Hero German Shepard Brada / Credit: Finnish Kennel Club

Lots of dog breeds honoured

This year the kennel club is awarding prizes to many different dog breeds for their heroic actions, like Brada the German Shepard who woke the family in the middle of the night to warn of fire danger.

Golden Retriever Soni found a man unconscious in the forest and alerted his owners; Lennart the Miniature Schnauzer also saved the life of someone outside in the cold during winter.

Iska the spaniel spotted someone who had slipped and fallen into the river, and wouldn’t let her owner continue their bike ride until they went to help. Poodle Milo raised the alarm when his human had an epileptic seizure, while Lily the Chihuahua barked when her human mum started choking on a piece of bread, and alerted the husband to the situation.