There have been a lot of animal acts on America’s Got Talent over the years. We’ve seen plenty of dogs, with a few cats, birds, pigs, and monkeys thrown into the mix.
Only one animal act has ever won the whole show, but there have been plenty of other furry (or feathered) friends who have come pretty close to the $1 million prize. Let’s ooh and aww over them right now, shall we?
We’ll start with the winners. Richard Olate and his son Nick Olate appeared on America’s Got Talent in Season 7. Their trained dog act wowed the audience and judges — especially Sharon Osbourne, who pretty much lost her mind over the pooches. The dogs’ impressive acrobatics earned them the million bucks.
Sara & Hero
This charming act (featuring Sara Carson and her dog Hero) made it to the Finals of Season 12, but not without Simon Cowell’s support. Howie Mandel and Mel B voted no after their audition, but Simon fought to let them through, ultimately changing Howie’s mind. Sara and Hero returned for AGT: The Champions this year.
Clint Carvalho & His Extreme Parrots
This former Las Vegas performer spent his time rehabbing birds before auditioning for America’s Got Talent Season 7 through an online audition. Clint made the birds come to him from great distances, and had them fly through hoops over the audience. He made it to the Semifinals.
J.R. Johns & His Best Friends
All the way back in Season 1, this dog trainer and his rescued friends made it to the Semifinals with their hilarious and impressive act. Have you ever seen a dog do a handstand on someone’s palm? You will when you watch J.R. Johns.
Ashleigh & Sully
Ashleigh Jade Butler won Season 6 of Britain’s Got Talent with her dog Pudsey. After Pudsey passed away, she returned to television with her other dog Sully to compete in America’s Got Talent: The Champions. Although they didn’t make it past the Preliminaries, there’s no denying their act was impressive.
Tony Hoard & Rory
Tony Hoard and his dog Rory made it to the Semifinals of Season 4 with their heartwarming story and amazing tricks. In the above performance, Rory makes Ultimate Frisbee look like a walk in the park.
Popovich Comedy Pet Theater
Gregory Popovich and his daughter Anastasia made it to the Semifinals in Season 2 with their acrobatic act. Their audition featured some talented cats, but future performances also included dogs and ferrets. It’s hard to find their TV performances on YouTube, but you can get an idea of Gregory’s act in the above video.
The Pompeyo Family
This husband and wife were joined on Season 12 by their 7-year-old daughter and their 18 dogs. Their themed set pieces and impressive tricks sent them to the Quarterfinals, where they were eliminated. However, they returned as a Wild Card to compete in the Semifinals.
This comedian combined ventriloquism with an animal act. In Season 7, Todd talked through his dog Irving, who had a fake mouth attached to his head. Their funny act sent them to the Quarterfinals. Although they were eliminated, they were brought back as a Wild Card for the Semifinals.