Ten dogs from Bay of Plenty, including a kelpie cross, miniature schnauzer and Siberian husky are in the running to win one of the coveted titles of a national competition.
Now in its sixth year, the Frog Recruitment Top Office Dog competition celebrates Kiwi workplaces – including home offices – where pooches are an integral part of the business.
The winners of New Zealand's annual search for the nation's top office dogs will be announced in a large canine Zoom call on Tuesday
Organisers expect more than 400 'working' canines will put themselves forward for the top prize along with their human carers.
Categories include Top Office Dog, Top Dog with a Job and People's Choice awards, and 2021 has seen a new category included – Top Dog-Friendly Workplace.
The new award honours a Kiwi organisation that puts their people first by recognising the important role a four-legged friend plays in the health and wellbeing of its employees, and one that has welcomed their dogs to work in a well-managed way.
A judging panel consisting of Petstock, Frog Recruitment, and dog trainer and behaviourist Mark Vette will decide the four winners.
Rotorua's Matthew Christensen from Prince's Gate Hotel says his miniature schnauzer Hippo is worthy of a prize because, "Hippo is a top home and office executive supervising every move.
"He runs security at all alert levels, provides understated grumbles to notify everyone of his dissatisfaction.
"Hippo brings fun and smiles to the neighbourhood and chief social director of fun amongst the local pups of the same age no matter their breed."
Research undertaken by Frog Recruitment in New Zealand in April last year found there is a positive impact from having a canine colleague at work, particularly on the mental health of the work-from-home workforce and in a tough Covid-induced lockdown.
Frog Recruitment managing director Shannon Barlow says, "Globally we have long known the positive effects dogs at work have on culture in the workplace, and if it's well-managed, actually increases productivity in the workplace.
"It can have benefits on team cohesion and generally elevate the mood in the workplace.
"Our Frog Recruitment poll last year heard from office and home-office workers that having a dog working near them improved morale and reduced stress through pandemic times.
"This is echoed in this year's entries. The common thread reveals the effect that dogs have on their owners while they work from home or through the pandemic, that having them close has helped their physical and mental health.
"Some entrants have detailed how their dog supported them through the grief of the death of a loved one that has passed away from Covid illness, stress of job loss, and the anxiety caused by separation from friends, family and colleagues."
Public voting for the People's Choice dog is open on www.nztopdog.co.nz and people have until Monday to vote for their favourite pooch.
All entrants receive a $20 PetStock voucher. The winning dogs will receive a trophy, a PetStock prize pack worth $1000, six month's access to Mark Vette's virtual online training school, Doggles and a bow.