AKC Facts and Stats

What is Junior Showmanship?

  • In the late 1920's a group of dog show exhibitors led by Mr. Leonard Brumby, Sr., of the Westbury Kennel Club decided to develop a special competition for children.
  • The name of the competition was changed from Children's Handling to Junior Showmanship in 1951.
  • In 1971 the American Kennel Club granted official recognition for Junior Showmanship classes at AKC events.
  • Junior Showmanship was established to encourage participation in the sport by young purebred dog enthusiasts, teach good sportsmanship and educate the next generation of the fancy.
  • Juniors are judged on their ability to handle their dogs under the guidelines as those who compete in the conformation ring. The quality of their presentation, not the dog, is judged.
  • Only purebred dogs that are AKC registered are eligible to enter, including Miscellaneous breeds. The dog must be owned by the child, a member of the child's family or member of his household.
  • There are six classes divided by age and the number of wins achieved: Novice Junior, Novice Intermediate, Novice Senior, Open Junior, Open Intermediate and Open Senior.
  • Juniors just starting their handling career, enter in the Novice class until they have won three first place awards at a licensed or member show. After they have achieved these three wins, they advance into the Open class.
  • The Novice and Open classes can then be divided down into Junior, Intermediate and Senior classes. A Junior class is for exhibitors 9 to 12 years old, the Intermediate class is for exhibitors 12-15 years old and the Senior class is for exhibitors 15 to 18 years old.
  • Most kennel clubs offer a Best Junior Handler prize. The exhibitor placed first in each of the six regular Junior Showmanship classes shall automatically be eligible to compete for this prize.
  • In 1997 the AKC formed the National Junior Organization. This organization offers seminars, a newsletter and a junior scholarship program to its members.
  • Annually, the National Junior Organization reaches out to approximately 14,000 juniors.
  • In 1999 the Junior Showmanship Recognition program was established to recognize Juniors who obtain titles on dogs in Companion and Performance Events.

AKC/Eukanuba National Championship

  • This unique event has particular requirements for Juniors to be eligible. Participants must have accomplishments in the show ring and in the classroom.
  • Juniors must have 5 wins in an Open Class, with competition present.
  • Juniors must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 or equivalent for the two semesters completed immediately prior to the closing of entries.
  • The Best Junior Handler at this event receives a $2000 scholarship.
  • Additional information .
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