AFM’s 12th Annual Fittest Dogs

By AFM Staff – March 1, 2021
Brian Fitzsimmons

Winger (Golden Retriever)

In his very first season of dock diving in 2020, Winger took home the third highest jumping golden title in the U.S. with a personal best distance of 26’3”. Plus, this stud has a love for acting and has been featured in various commercials and conferences. He’s an all-around, extremely driven and natural athlete! When he’s not busy competing or acting, Winger enjoys hiking and doing anything active — not to mention he could play fetch for days. 

LeBron “Ronnie” (French Bulldog)

He may be small, but boy is he mighty! This little guy has no problem jumping off a 10-foot cliff at Zilker Park. LeBron, named after his dad’s favorite basketball player, is pure muscle. His low-gravity body is agile, dense and built like steel — and can even (occasionally) outshine his Camp Gladiator Trainer mom. When he’s not sniffing, exploring or chasing squirrels, you’ll find him eating coconut oil by the spoonful or Netflixing it up while lying on his back like a baby. 

Squat (Mini Long-Haired Dachshund)

Every morning, this mini dachshund trots gallantly alongside his mom on their two-mile walk. Squat loves to eat his doggy cereal every morning and every night because he’s always working to keep his gainz. He hasn’t missed a day in the gym and is particularly fond of leg day — even though his are particularly short! Along with being impressive at the gym (while occasionally strapped to his mom while she is doing pull-ups), Squat is also super sociable and loves everyone he meets. When he’s not being active, Squat loves to watch his mom and dad exercise and get some quality sleep on their yoga mat. 

Tucker (Labrador)

While he’s only 3 years old, this lab still has the energy of a few-month-old puppy. With such a surplus of energy, Tucker became a sprinter that competes in hunt tests all over the state of Texas. In 2020, he even earned his Senior Title in AKC! Built like a racehorse, Tucker is a speed demon not just on land but in water, too. 

Ace (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel)

While he was bred to be a lap dog, Ace’s owners swear he was a husky in another life — mainly because he is just as active as all of the Austin community put together. Ace loves practicing sprints with his dad and can even do a three, two, one countdown when racing. When he’s not hiking local trails, chasing a good tennis ball or chewing on a healthy snack, you’ll find him exploring this dog-friendly city. In just his first year in Austin, Ace visited over half of Austin’s many dog parks! 

Stormy (Border Collie)

While many dogs love playing with their toys, they don’t pick up after themselves — but this doesn’t apply to Stormy the Border Collie. Not only does this pup know the names of all of her toys, but she returns each one to her toy box when she’s finished playing with it. Among Stormy’s passions, she loves to play with soap bubbles (which do not go in the toy box), and she even plays frisbee every single morning without fail. When accompanying her owner for a stroll, this good girl won’t cross a street or hop off a curb unless her mom or dad allows it. When coming home from a walk, Stormy will play her own sprinting game where she runs 100 yards and then turns back just to do it again.

Ted “Teddy” Danson (Wire-Haired Dachshund)

Humans may not always look majestic and beautiful while running, but this pup sure does and will make you do a double-take. You may not peg this fluffy, wire-haired dachshund as a long-distance runner, but he loves accompanying his mom as she trains to run through the Grand Canyon — and with his hair in the wind, he’s a handsome sight. Plus, he never complains, even after the end of a longer run. Teddy’s favorite way to cool down? A yoga-inspired belly rub. 

Milton (Labrador)

In June 2019, Milton was brought in by Heart of Texas Lab Rescue (HOTLR) with a heap of medical and behavioral problems including depression, malnutrition and wounds stemming from abuse, infection, etc. A wound on his elbow turned out to be cancerous and he needed to have the leg removed immediately. Fast forward to 2021, and Milton is a funny, goofy lab with a big and sweet personality. Milton enjoys his daily walks with his mom, and they’ve even logged over 200 miles of walking, earning a $500 donation prize to Heart of Texas Lab Rescue. Even without his front left leg, Milton loves chasing balls, paddle boarding and spending time on the lake. 

Cheza (Australian Cattle Dog Mix)

Cheza — meaning “play” in Swahili — is one impressive puppy. At just 10 months old, she’s one of the youngest dogs in American Kennel Club history to earn a Performer Trick Dog title. With more than 100 tricks in her repertoire, Cheza’s most awe-inspiring stunts involve her balancing on a Bosu or yoga ball — or both simultaneously! When she’s not being a little trickster, Cheza loves agility, rally obedience, swimming in cold spring water, playing with her best human-friends, Jocelyn and Henry, and long hikes.

PJ (American Staffordshire Terrier)

When he’s not chasing lizards or climbing trees, PJ is a full-time foster brother to his New Hope Animal Rescue pup siblings. When hanging out with the other pups during training, PJ takes on the role as their “personal trainer” while his parents train the other pups. With a triathlete mom, PJ loves accompanying her while training, venturing on an open-water swim, running (at 28 mph) alongside his mom’s bike and pacing her runs. In a family currently fostering their 10th dog, PJ has served as a role model for each and every one of them while nursing them back to health for the last couple of years. 

Sophie Monster (Yorkie)

Don’t let her age fool you — this little pup is full of energy and ready for some trail-running mileage. At 10 years old, this Yorkie loves to run with her mom Sally, who runs with Trail Roots. Regularly, she’ll rack up 6-8 miles, and she loves spending time on the greenbelt! While she is small (only eight pounds), she stays leading the trail-running pack. When she’s not getting her running on the trails, Sophie loves finding food scraps on the floor, rolling around at the beach and riding in the back of her mom’s bike. 

Paik (German Shepherd)

Recently titled in a 12-mile running race with his handler on a bicycle, this pup means business. Paik originally arrived in the U.S. from Germany last fall. He’s a Schutzhund dog (trained in tracking, obedience and protection), and has spent most of his life so far training and competing. Although he’s used to being a working dog, he loves to hang out and is so sweet, loving and funny. When he’s not running around, Paik loves tug-of-war (he’s undefeated), riding in cars and trucks, eating hot dogs and rolling around in the snow (when Austin gets it).


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