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page last updated March 19, 2015  

This is a unique opportunity to introduce children, who are the future of the sport, to dog shows. It is also a way for the whole family to become involved in the dog shows and a chance for the children to make new and lasting friendships with others who have the same interest.

Junior showmanship is a competition for all children ages 9 to 18 in which judging is solely on the ability and skills of the junior in handling their dog in the conformation show ring.

The purpose is to teach about the care, handling and presentation of the dogs in the show ring along with good sportsmanship both at winning and losing with those similar in age.

Competition is divided into 3 age groups and two divisions - Junior class for ages 9 to 12, Intermediate class for ages 12 to 15 and Senior ages 15 to 18. These classes are divided into Novice, for those just starting out and Open for the more experienced.

Juniors compete with their peers in each class and division. Winners from those classes go on to compete for Best Junior Showman for that show.

Competition is held at most AKC conformation shows as a non-regular class open to all breeds. Dogs must be eligible to compete in conformation or any number of companion and performance events and have an AKC, PAL or ILP registration Dogs can be shown with full or limited registry and may be spayed or neutered. The dog must be owned or co-owned by the junior showman or their immediate family.

If this is a totally new adventure you would like to experience you will need to do some homework. First is to find a responsible breeder in your area for guidance. This can be from the breeder list on this website or a local all breed clubs in your area. These breeders will be able to help find the right dog for you.  Mentor you on how to groom, care and show your dog. With some practice and a junior handler number you will ready in no time to enter your first show!

If your family is already participating in conformation shows all you will need is a junior handler number   


Read some Juniors stories (written by them)