“Try not to have a good time… this is supposed to be educational.”
– Charles Schulz, famous cartoonist and creator of Peanuts (Snoopy is our favorite character, of course!)
You’ll probably be tempted to quote Charles Schulz when you introduce your child to Junior Showmanship. These events are packed with learning opportunities — but they’re super fun at the same time.
Children have always been an important part of the future of canine sports, dating back to 1920 when the first competition for child handlers was held. Think of Junior Showmanship (also called “Junior Handling”) as a training ground for a life-long journey in dog shows and sports. Children 9 to 18 years old learn basic handling abilities, and how to care for, and present, their dog in a competition. While Juniors are judged by an official AKC Judge, it’s the quality of their presentation that is judged, not the dog.
Participating in Junior Showmanship will teach your child many important life lessons — how to be a good sport, how to put one’s mind to something and master it; and how training can lead to a very special bond with a dog. And who knows? Your kid just might love Junior Showmanship so much it might eventually lead to a possible career path!
The GPCA has an annual award for the Top Junior Handler, awarded at the National Specialty each year.
Visit Lauren Hull’s – A Junior’s Story – A wonderful account of a Junior’s life in the Dog Show World.