AFM’s 14th Annual Fittest Dogs

By AFM Team – March 1, 2023
Brian Fitzsimmons

Louie Sublime

Louie posing.

Louie Sublime is a 3-year-old Dalmatian living his best life soaking up the smells and sights the Greenbelt provides. He’s a frequent visitor of Zilker Park where he’s never met a stranger nor found a ball or toy that wasn’t fair game. Some of his favorite hobbies include chasing seagulls on the beach or reindeer up mountains and learning tricks for a piece of cheese. When Lou Dog isn’t out making new friends or flirting with neighbors, he can always be found snuggled up at home with his mom and dad. Shoutout to WalkATX and K9 Kenny, some of his favorite businesses!

Boa Redhawk

Boa in water.

Boa Redhawk is an expert frolicker and trail-blazing warrior. She befriends all beings on her path, bringing smiles to those around her (squirrels excluded!). She loves to run and play, especially in open spaces where she can stretch her legs and enjoy the fresh air. Boa brings companionship and support to her person. She’s always there to provide a comforting nuzzle or a listening ear. Boa’s boundless energy and enthusiasm for life are contagious and inspiring. She was adopted from APA in the midst of the pandemic.

Crosby & Maggie

Crosby and Maggie running after a ball.

It was love at first sight when Cosby and Maggie met at 5 and 7 months old; they’ve been inseparable since. Their love of running was immediate — they run on and off leash, around Town Lake, and along the Greenbelt trails, rain or shine. They’ve worked out with their mother’s running club and have participated in local races. They run every day, 20 to 40 miles per week; 16 miles is their longest run… so far. Aside from daily runs, swims, squirrel chasing and bunny stalking, their favorite activity is cuddling on top of each other at home with their humans.


Mando posing.

Mando is a 3-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback named after the Mandalorian due to his dark face “mask,” tough build and his parents’ love for all things Star Wars! A fun fact about Rhodesian Ridgebacks is that they were once bred to hunt lions in Africa. While Mando weighs 80 pounds and has a deep bark, he’s also extremely cuddly and loves a good neck and belly rub. He enjoys going on daily walks, spending weekends at breweries and hiking trails around Austin. Don’t let those gray hairs fool you; he still gets the nightly zoomies just like any other young pup!


Xena running.

Named after “Xena: Warrior Princess,” Xena is pound-for-pound the fittest dog around. This beautiful Basenji is 1 year old and 20 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal. She’s a model but don’t let that fool you. She’s also a triple threat of agility, speed and endurance who LOVES playing with other doggies. It doesn’t matter the size, age or breed; if it’s a doggo, it’s a go-go. Just how a fighter prepares for a fight: sparring five rounds with five new/fresh fighters, Xena does this with dogs. It’s truly remarkable.


Oliver catching a frisbee.

Oliver, named after the cat in “Oliver and Company,” is a pandemic puppy turned anxiety support puppy. When he’s not helping mom with her anxiety, he’s working on his frisbee-catching skills, hanging with his siblings, hiking the Greenbelt or at the park playing with his puppy pals. Oliver won the Social Butterfly Award at his daycare in 2021 and is currently working toward his Canine Good Citizen title and getting started with agility training. He’s always up for a new challenge; whether it be a new sport or trick, Oliver goes above and beyond to succeed! 


Rescued during Hurricane Laura, Dakota stepped into her family’s story during the pandemic. With the limitations of social distancing, Kota’s family focused on hiking, which helped her overcome her fear of being in a car. During 2021, Kota and her family did over 100 hikes across six states, and being in a car no longer held her back. She also became an Austin Bark Ranger. Kota loves running on trails; she runs with such speed that it sounds like a horse. Despite going on 5-plus mile walks, she always has the energy for more but has no problem relaxing and napping!


Goose running through water.

While Goose doesn’t look like a standard golden doodle, she has all the energy one would expect. Goose enjoys group fitness at the dog park; she knows how to encourage other dogs with their toys. Goose knows when there are days to play hard and push herself (as well as her friends), but even better, she knows when she needs a rest day. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she’s the studio dog for AFM’s Best New Studio in Austin 2022 — Grit ATX. She encourages people to work their hardest and congratulates them with kisses when they’re done.


Sullivan catching a frisbee.

This fun-loving guy might be almost 8 years old but that doesn’t slow down this German shepherd/border collie mix. Sully hikes five days a week with his mom and the other pack members of Ultimutt Adventures. Sully’s other hobbies include swimming, scent work, playing frisbee and making friends. He’s not only active on the trails but also around Austin, recently winning a local 5K Halloween costume contest dressed as a taco! In spite of his energy, there is not a more gentle protector for any puppies or kids in his vicinity.


Cino with owner.

Cino, short for Cappuccino, is a beloved 4-year-old Shih Tzu. Known as Coach Cino to his mom’s online fitness clients, he adds tips on stretching, mostly the downward dog. Cino performed puppy burpees for a local fundraiser and sent 50 at-risk youth to camp. He co-emceed Emancipet’s fitness event, Pulling For Pets, which provides affordable vet care. Cino was also named People’s Choice at the Texas Mighty Dog Walk, bringing awareness to service animals. While Cino’s “cool in his shades,” he exhibits a warm heart for fellow pets. Spreading joy to the community is the new Fit!


Cheza standing on owner's feet.

Cheza — meaning “play” in Swahili — astonishes with her repertoire of over 200 tricks, and she’s among the handful of dogs in the world who can balance and walk on a ball. Her most extraordinary trick (a foot stall) begins with her mom Heidi lying on her back with her feet up. With one explosive leap, Cheza lands on Heidi’s feet and surveys the world, wagging perpetually. When she’s not dumbfounding humans with her balance, Cheza loves swimming, long hikes, agility, rally obedience, training in human remains detection and spreading joy as a Divine Canines therapy dog. Cheza is also a returning Fittest Dogs Winner from 2021!

Congratulations to all of the winners this year, and thank you to those who submitted!


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