The Kansas City Dog Club awards is our club’s way of recognizing and saying thank you to all the dog parks, hiking trails, dog-related organizations, and businesses that help make the Kansas City metro area great for dogs and their human friends.

This is the 2nd year Kansas City Dog Club has hosted an awards bunch to honor Kansas City’s best in doggie-fun for the previous calendar year.

Club members nominated their favorite locations, events and businesses. Nominees were trimmed down to the top 3-5 in each category. Members then voted for the best in each category.

In addition to honoring Kansas City’s best pup-hot-spots, KC Dog Club organizers awarded various human and 4-legged club members with a few fun-loving awards.

And the 2016 Kansas City Dog Club Award winners are…

Best Walk with the Pooches Nominees

We could also call this section of nominees: The best places in Kansas City to walk your dog!

Antioch Park

Antioch Park was the winner of the 2015 Kansas City Dog Club Award for best dog-walk location. This is a great walk with lots of variety along the walk – bridges, spaced stone steps across the water, rose garden, and lots of ducks. Dogs and humans alike love this walk!

Jacob L. Loose Park

Both dogs and humans love Loose Park‘s rose garden and pond. A great walking route around the park, with lots of people eager to pet our pups.

Minor Park, Blue River Greenway Trail

Our walks at Minor Park allowed us to add some variety to our usually paved mid-weeknight walks. The trails at Minor Park gave us options to take a short stroll through the woods and/or walk across the dam at Alex George Lake.

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Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Sculpture Park

What’s not to love about walking your dog through fields of art?! There’s always a lot going on at Nelson-Atkins, especially during the Pokémon GO craze of 2016!

WINNER – Country Club Plaza

Christine Hofmeister leading a KC Dog Club walk at the Country Club Plaza

The Plaza has become KC Dog Club’s winter home for dog walks the past two years. Country Club Plaza is well-lit and there are always lots of people excited to see our weekly “dog parade” November through mid-March – hurry up daylight savings time! Our regular stop at Three Dog Bakery really help push The Plaza over the top to win 2016’s honor!

2016 #kcdogclub Award winner for BEST DOG WALK is @ThePlazaKC! share with the world

Best Hike with the Hounds Nominees

If you’re looking for the best places to hike in Kansas City with your dog, this is the right list for you!

Wudchuk Run & Rancho D-Lux, Swope Park Trails

Did you know Swope Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States? There are lots of great hiking trails at Swope Park, and KC Dog Club members especially like our hikes that combine the WudChuk Run and Rancho D-Lux portions of the trail system. We love all the huge rocks!

Shawnee Mission Park Trails, Orange and Violet Loops

Shawnee Mission Park has miles upon mile of trails, but KC Dog Club members really like the Orange and Violet Loops of the the trail system. Meeting at Shelter #3, the combination of these two loops give multiple opportunities for hikers to cut their expedition short. As well, the Orange Loops begins next to the paved trails – in case the hiking trails are closed due to muddy conditions, the paved trails are a great subsititue.

Cave Spring Trail at William M. Klein Park

Cave Spring Trail is a great trail with many cut-through options. This is the perfect trail for the beginning hiker, the trail can be completed in 45 minutes – but Kansas City Dog Club members recommend heading back in and taking all the little cut-through trails for a “choose your own adventure” experience. 

→ Give your dog the gift of a social life

Wagon Loop, Blue River Parkway Trails

This 3 mile loop is a great hike with varied elevations, but not too difficult for the casual hiker. The  Wagon Loop on the Blue River Parkway Trails is the defending 2015 KC Dog Club Award winner for best hike, it’s not surprising to see a 2016 nomination for this great 3 mile hike in south Kansas City, MO, although losing out this year to a sister trail.

WINNER – Old Railroad Bed Trail, Blue River Parkway Trails

Lauren Caldwell and Bowie, high above the Blue River on the Old Railroad Bed Trail

The Old Railroad Bed Trail is exactly what it sounds like – a trail in south Kansas City, MO where the old railroad used to be. Also part of the Blue River Parkway Trails, the near 4 mile Old Railroad Bed Trail hike captured the affection of KC Dog Club members with it’s vast variety of terrain, crossing the water where the old train bridge used to be, overlooking the “new” railroad, and beautiful views overlooking the Blue River from high above.

It’s no surprise the Old Railroad Bed Trail was the run-away winner for the 2016 KC Dog Club best hiking trial award.

2016 #kcdogclub BEST DOG HIKE Award winner is @KCMOParks Old Railroad Bed Trail! tell your friends

Best Dining with the Dogs Nominees

Do you love to take your dog with you to happy hour? This it the right list for you – Kansas City’s best patios to drink with your dog!

Spin! Pizza, Lee’s Summit

Spin! Pizza is known for their dog-friendliness, regularly hosting CIAO BOW WOW events offering a meal for humans and a meal for fido, all benefiting local dog-rescues. In the KC Dog Club, we love the patio in Lee’s Summit, which has green space (grass) open to the patio. Spin! Pizza has the best sangria in Kansas City – and there’s no place better for a glass or carafe of sangria with your dog than Spin! Pizza in Lee’s Summit

KC Bier Co.

Right on the Trolley Track Trail in Waldo, KC Bier Co. is the perfect place to begin and end summer walks with the club. Great cold beer and awesome snacks on the picnic table filled outdoor area is the perfect way to finish off a dog walk on a hot summer night

Martin City Brewing Co.

Apparently KC Dog Club members love beer, because they nominated multiple breweries for the 2016 Dining with the Dogs award. Martin City Brewing Co. is the perfect spot to stop after our great South KC hikes. Great brews and great bites – and the staff is always happy to see us!

Martin City Pizza & Taproom

The folks at Martin City Brewing Co. may have split their votes – having two great locations in South KC can’t be bad, though! Martin City Pizza & Taproom is another great stop after our South KC hikes. The Club had an especially great time cheering on the Chiefs from the patio – as the hounds barked and cheered with each Chiefs score.

WINNER – Blue Moose Bar & Grill, Prairie Village

Beth Schmitt and Diamond Joe, enjoying a Bloody Mary with brunch on the patio at Blue Moose Bar & Grill

Defending their 2015 KC Dog Club Award for Best Dining with the Dogs, Blue Moose Bar and Grill in Prairie Village is the 2016 award winner, as well. Blue Moose’s brunch buffet combined with the availability of the full menu, the awesomely comfortable patio, and super dog-friendly staff really pushed Blue Moose over the top with club members.

2016 #kcdogclub Award winner for BEST DINING WITH DOGS is @BlueMoosePV! ❤ tell your friends

Best Dog Park Nominees

This is THE list of the best dog parks in Kansas City!

Swope Park Off Leash Dog Park

Swope Dog Park is one of Kansas City’s newer dog parks, opening in 2012. The park had some serious issues with a “muddy bog” shortly after opening, but recent renovations have truly helped this dog park win over KC Dog Club members. Swope Dog Park is a modest sized-park with plenty of spots for humans to sit, a large field, a nice perimeter trail and lots of shaded area. The Club spends our time in the large dog area of the park, but Swope Dog Park also offers a separate area for smaller dogs.

Leawoof Dog Park

Leawoof Dog Park is a nice dog park tucked away at the back of Leawood City Park. Another newer dog park, Leawoof features a large dog park and a small dog park, with plenty of shade and agility equipment for the pooches. A nice bonus with Leawoof Dog Park – if the park happens to be closed due to too much rain, the park sits on the Indian Creek Trail, paved and ready for a nice dog walk.

Penn Valley Off Leash Dog Park

Penn Valley Dog Park is one of the older dog parks in Kansas City. Penn Valley Dog Park also has a large dog area and a small dog area. Penn Valley Dog Park-goers are an eclectic bunch. You’ll definitely meet lots of interesting people at this park.

Wayside Waifs Bark Park

The Bark Park at Wayside Waifs is the only private dog park to receive a nomination in 2016. Bark Park offers areas for large dogs and small dogs. Daily, monthly and yearly memberships are offered for park members. The park recently opened their new Comfort Station, including indoor restrooms, vending machines, a separate picnic area, and a dog-wash and drying station.

WINNER – Shawnee Mission Park Dog Off-Leash Area

Kelly at the Shawnee Mission Dog Park waterfront

For the second year in a row, Shawnee Mission Dog Park takes home the KC Dog Club Award for Best Dog Park. At 53 acres, Shawnee Mission Dog Park is the largest dog park in the Kansas City area. Lots of open space, hiking trails, and waterfront – all rolled into one dog park! What really sets this dog park apart for KC Dog Club members is the waterfront with a rock shore. Unlike other KC area dog parks with ponds and lakes, members really love how little mud there is at the Shawnee Mission Dog Park waterfront.

2016 #kcdogclub Award for BEST DOG PARK - Shawnee Mission Dog Park! @JCPRDparks share on twitter

Best Dog Festival or Dog-centric Event Nominees

Nominees in this category are Kansas City’s best dog events that aren’t purely charity events. However, many of these events did give proceeds to a local dog-centric non-profit organization.

Barktoberfest at Shawnee Mission Park

Barktoberfest, presented by 99.7 The Point, is dubbed as Kansas City’s ONLY pet and music festival. Barktoberfest had lots of vendors and live music all day. The 2016 benefactor was Wayside Waifs. Barktoberfest was the winner of 2015’s Best Dog Festival award.

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Dogtober Fest at Kemper Outdoor Education Center

Dogtober Fest 2016 benefited Kemper Outdoor Education Center, Lee’s Summit Animal Shelter and Independence Animal Shelter. Dogtober Fest includes tons of vendors, info booths from lots of local animal rescue organizations, demonstrations from police dogs, working dogs, and dog training organizations… but the best part – free games and contests for your dog to participate in, starting every fifteen minutes!

Wayside Waifs Bark Park Courtesy Comfort Station Grand Opening

The grand opening of Wayside Waifs’ Bark Park Comfort Station was a celebration of donors and projects completed with donations, rather than a fund-raising event. Wayside Waifs invited donors and local dog-related organizations out for the grand opening ceremony, along with food, drink and free play in the Bark Park.

WINNER – Bar K Pup-Up Party & 5K

Travis Pflanz and Sophie, pooped after running the Bar K 5K

When you’re building a dog park slash coffee shop slash restaurant slash bar – you better know how to throw a party! AND Bar K does! The Bar K Pup-Up Party and 5K event to fund the new private river front dog park at Berkley Riverfront Park was a smash hit with KC Dog Club members and the public, alike! Coupled with a 5k before the beer drinking, the Pup-Up Party had a staffed and fenced dog park, tons of dog-related, and alcohol-related vendors.

2016 #kcdogclub Award for BEST DOG FESTIVAL/EVENT - @barkdogbar PupUp Party 5K! ❤ tell your friends

Best Dog Charity Event or Volunteer Opportunity Nominees

Spay & Neuter Pet Food Pantry

Kansas City Dog Club volunteers each month at Spay & Neuter KC’s Pet Food Pantry. The pet food pantry assists dog owners in need by providing dog food and supplies to help through the tough times. This is a very rewarding volunteer opportunity. KC Dog Club members volunteered nearly 200 hours at the Pet Food Pantry in 2016.

Strutt With Your Mutt, benefiting Wayside Waifs

Strutt With Your Mutt is one of Wayside Waifs’ big yearly fund-raising events. KC Dog Club brought out a big group for Strutt. Club members both ran the 5K and walked the 3K, and visited the wide variety of vendors in attendance.

Dirty Dog Mud Run 5K, benefiting Liberty Dog Park

2016 was the first year for the Dirty Dog Mud Run. This was a great 5K with a pair of mud pits… some our club’s humans didn’t like the mud… even more dogs didn’t. There were lots of great dog-related vendors at the Mud Run in 2016, and KC Dog Club members are looking forward to the 2017 Mud Run.

WINNER – HAMBingo at Hamburger Mary’s

Rob, Kurtis, Jenny and Sarah concentrating, trying to a “hard-on.”

HAMBingo at Hamburger Mary’s defended their 2015 award, winning again in 2016! HAMBingo is a weekly charity Bingo event hosted by Hamburger Mary’s featuring Kansas City’s most FABULOUS drag queens! They have delicious food, drinks, and tons of fun. KC Dog Club attended HAMBingo five times in 2016, benefiting – Retired Greyhounds As Pets (REGAP), Unleashed Pet Rescue, KC Pet Project, Spay & Neuter KC & Pampered POMS Rescue.

2016 #kcdogclub Award for BEST DOG CHARITY EVENT - @MarysKansasCity HAMBingo! share the love, sugar!

Best of Kansas City Dog Club Nominees

Events nominated in this category were great KC Dog Club events that didn’t specifically fall into any of the other categories.

Weiner Dog at Tivoli Cinemas

This dark comedy was a good laugh for most KC Dog Club members, and a jaw-dropper for others. Weiner Dog captured our hearts, before ripping it out.

The Secret Lives of Pets and cocktails at O’Dowd’s Little Dublin

Club members eagerly awaited The Secret Lives of Pets for nearly a year. Many (at the time) new members attended this social outing as their first event with the club. It was a great flick, followed by great food, drink, and conversation on a great night on the rooftop patio of O’Dowd’s.

WINNER – KC Dog Club walking in the Brookside St. Patrick’s Parade

Kansas City Dog Club walking in the 2016 Brookside St. Patrick’s Parade

Brookside’s St. Patrick’s Warm-up Parade was the first time KC Dog Club came together to spread our love for our club to the Kansas City community. Cold and wet weather didn’t keep us away – as walking in the parade was one of the most well-attended KC Dog Club events of 2016. The Club’s participation in the Brookside St. Pat’s parade was the run-away winner in this category, receiving an astounding 74% of the vote!

2016 BEST OF #KCDOGCLUB Award - @BrooksideKCity St Pat's Warm-up Parade! ❤ give us a tweet

Kansas City Dog Club organizers also give out a few fun-loving awards to human and four-legged members

“Can I Pet Your Dog?” Award

WINNER – Little Joe

Little Joe and Kelly at Country Club Plaza

Every where Kansas City Dog Club went all year long – everybody we passed asked to pet Little Joe, the Saint Bernard.

→ Join in on the fun

“The Incredible Journey” Award

WINNER – Pauline Mercado

Pauline Mercado and Bella at Leawoof Dog Park

This award gets its name from the 1963 Disney film. Pauline lives in Ojai, CA and attended 12 club events in 2016!

“Happy Hump Day” Award

WINNER – Shaggy

Shaggy at Swope Dog Park

Every day is Hump Day for Shaggy. Big or small, Shaggy loves ’em all!

“Tricks for Treats” Award

WINNER – Douglas

Douglas doing tricks! “Not Yours!”

No one really knows how many tricks Douglas knows. He seems to have a new trick at every KC Dog event.

“Coming Out of Your Shell” Award

WINNER – Jenny Greenstreet and Shiva

Jenny Greenstreet and Shiva at Lakeside Nature Center

Like dog, like owner – Jenny and Shiva have both really come out of their shell since joining KC Dog Club. Now they both let strangers pet them! HA!

“Eager Retriever” Award

WINNER – Christine Hofmeister

Christine, Panda and Chico at Three Dog Bakery on the Country Club Plaza

There are no beavers in the Dog Club, but there are Retrievers. Christine is always happy to step up to help host KC Dog Club events, take photos of members and help manage KC Dog Club’s social media accounts!

What are your favorite dog-loving Kansas City places?

Let us know in the comments below!