The 2019 Junior Showmanship Finals at the AKC National Championship took place on Dec. 14 in Orlando, Florida. To qualify, juniors had to have at least five first-place wins in Open Class with competition present between Oct. 11, 2018 and Oct. 9, 2019. In addition, juniors must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 for the past school year.
Nearly 160 Junior Handlers who met these qualifications convened in Orlando to compete for the title of Best Junior Handler.
The Best Junior Handler in Junior Showmanship was Johnathon Wehry, 18, who now competes alongside his younger cousins (ages 9 and 10). Winning the award this year was especially meaningful, as this is the last time Johnathon will compete as a Junior.
It’s taken Johnathon years to perfect his calm demeanor while showing. But he says his trick takes place in the bathroom before shows. “Primping in the bathroom before I get ready to show,” Johnathon says. “Just giving myself pep talks in the bathroom.
Johnathon, who shows a Cocker Spaniel, got involved in both the sport and breeding dogs thanks to his mom.
Junior Showmanship Finals Results
Best Junior: Johnathon Wehry
Second: Caroline Clegg
Third: Emma Rogers
Fourth: Jacob Waters
Missed the Show?
You can rewatch the Junior Showmanship Finals on-demand:
Want to Get Involved?
The AKC Juniors program offers children under 18 an opportunity to develop their handling skills and learn about good sportsmanship, dogs, and dog shows.
Juniors are eligible to compete in Showmanship, Obedience, Agility, Rally, Tracking, Hunt Tests, Herding, Field Trials, Earthdog, Lure Coursing, Coursing Ability, and Coonhound Events. There is no minimum age requirement for sports other than Showmanship (where you must be nine).
If your child is interested in becoming an AKC Junior Handler, the first step is to watch a show and sign up for a class. Juniors under 18 years old can sign up for a Junior Handler number here. This number will be used to track their participation in AKC sports.
Except in Junior Showmanship, Juniors will exhibit in the regular classes and in the field along with all other exhibitors at the trials and tests, where they can obtain the same titles on their dogs and awards as adult handlers if they qualify.
Junior participation in AKC sports will be recognized through the AKC Junior Recognition Program and at the end of the year, AKC will award the Junior Versatility Awards and Scholarships. You can go to this link to learn more about the AKC Junior Recognition Program.
For more information, email your questions to Juniors@akc.org.