These Top Dog contest entrants didn’t make the cut, but we love them anyway

When we announced the Top Dog contest to see what canine (and possibly owner) would be the face of the Readers Voice Awards next year — and win $2,500 for LifeWalk — we didn’t know what kind of results to expect. But with more than 150 owners submitting more than 400 photographs representing at least 250 different dogs, we have to say, by any standard, it was a success.

DOGGONE CUTE | Among the contenders for Top Dog (and their onwers) that didn’t make the finals are, clockwise from upper left: Higgins (Stephanie Vines), unnamed ‘bunny’ dog (David Bruce), Chula (Chris Stewart), Madison Primrose (Ruben Nerio), unnamed Italian greyhound (Todd Keel), Dex (Scott Lonski), Coco (Deborah Lightfoot) and unnamed Chihuahua (Isaac Padilla).

We learned a lot. For instance: Gays love to dress up their dogs in humiliating costumes; they prefer, by and large, smaller dogs (many, many Chihuahuas and Yorkies) and "ugly" dogs (Chinese cresteds, bulldogs and other face-only-a-mother-could-love breeds), and tend to have multiple-pooch households. We loved looking at almost every photo.

And yet, it left us in the uncomfortable position of having to narrow the field. A lot. We selected 15 semi-finalists to come in for professional follow-up photoshoots, from which we will whittle down a top 10. The ones on this page did not figure into that list of 15. Here, then, are the runners-up … each of whom, as you can tell, could have been the face that yells "top dog." •

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 11, 2009.
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