American Kennel Club Celebrates Owner/Handlers In The Sport With New Series

More than 80% of the dogs being exhibited in the show ring today are family dogs shown by their...

More than 80% of the dogs being exhibited in the show ring today are family dogs shown by their owners. To celebrate the dedication and enthusiasm of these exhibitors, the American Kennel Club has created a new AKC Owner/Handler Series, a non-titling competition that will showcase owner handled dogs at shows across the country.

“We’re pleased to offer this special competition to celebrate AKC’s owner/handlers, who are the core of our dog sport,” said Robin Stansell, AKC’s Vice President of Event Operations. “We look forward to great competition in 2012 as the AKC Owner/Handler Series visits dog shows all over the country.”

The top-ranked dogs from the AKC Owner/Handler Series will be posted on and the top 10 owner-handled dogs of each breed and variety will be invited to compete at an “end of year” competition show. Rankings of the dogs competing in the series will be compiled based on the Best of Breed, Group and Best in Show placements in this specific series competition. 


The first shows offering the AKC Owner/Handler Series are these January/February events:

  • Dog Fanciers Association of Oregon – Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Oakland County Kennel Club – Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Sahuaro State Kennel Club – Saturday, February 4, 2012

  • Colorado Kennel Club – Sunday, February 19, 2012

  • International Kennel Club of Chicago – Sunday, February 26, 2012


The AKC Owner/Handler competition will be conducted following Best of Breed judging in each breed ring. All dogs in the BOB competition (including WD & WB) will stay in the ring after the judge makes their placements in BOB competition. The ring steward will ask all professional handlers to leave the ring and then the judge will then select the Best Owner Handler (BOH). The dog and its owner will continue to accrue points for any group placements or Bests in Show.

Dogs owned or exhibited by professional handlers are not eligible for this competition.  Professional handlers are defined as any person who belongs or has belonged to a professional handlers’ organization, distributed rate cards, or otherwise advertised or represented themselves as handling dogs for pay.

For more information about the series or to find upcoming shows where the AKC Owner/Handler Series will be offered, visit

If you have questions about hosting these events, please contact the AKC Events department at (919) 816-3514 or