AKC Junior Showmanship classes offer youngsters the opportunity to:

  1. Develop their handling skills
  2. Learn about good sportsmanship
  3. Learn about dogs and dog shows

Who may participate

Junior Showmanship classes are open to children from 9 to 18 years old and are divided into Novice and Open classes: All participants in Junior Showmanship classes must have an AKC Junior Showmanship Handler Number. Novice classes are for those children who, at the time entries close, have not won three (3) first-place awards in a Novice class at a licensed or member show. To qualify as a win, more than one child must be in competition in a class. The Novice class gives those children who are beginners a chance to gain experience and confidence apart from the more seasoned youngsters. Open classes are for those children having three or more first-place wins; these are the more experienced Junior Handlers. A beginner can learn how to present their dog more effectively by watching these talented youngsters in the ring.

The classes may further be divided into:

  • Junior: At least 9 years old but under 12 years old on the day of the show.
  • Intermediate: At least 12 years old but under 15 years old on the day of the show.
  • Senior: At least 15 years old but under 18 years old on the day of the show.

Judging criteria

Juniors are judged on their ability to present, or handle, their dogs within the same formats and guidelines as those who compete in the breed ring. The quality of their presentation, not the dog, is judged. Juniors are encouraged to develop their handling abilities, dress appropriately, conduct themselves in a proper manner, and present their dog in a well-groomed condition.

What about the dog?

Any dog entered must be eligible to compete in dog shows or obedience trials. The dog must be owned by the child, a member of the child's family or member of his household. Many times junior showmanship classes are free (if the dog is entered in regular classes) or are offered at the reduced rate.