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The American Kennel Club® is pleased to announce that Nestle Purina PetCare Company is to become the official dog food sponsor of the AKC Registered Handlers Program (AKC RHP).

The AKC RHP establishes criteria and standards for responsible, knowledgeable professional handlers and their apprentices. All handlers and apprentices enrolled in the AKC RHP have made a commitment to follow the program guidelines and a Code of Ethics set forth by AKC.

The AKC RHP actively sponsors AKC Handling Clinics for adults and junior handlers at major dog shows across the country each year and offers the annual George Ward Scholarship Fund Award, a scholarship which AKC RHP apprentices can apply towards college course studies.

“We are very pleased to have Purina support this program,” said Darrell Hayes, AKC Vice President of Dog Show Judges, who oversees the program. “It will enable us to enhance the program, ultimately benefitting not only enrolled handlers and their clients, but also young handlers attending our clinics.”

“Nestle Purina PetCare is pleased to partner with the AKC in sponsoring the Registered Handlers Program,” said Ann Viklund, Director of Marketing Operations for Nestle Purina Pet Care Co. “This project is a continuation of Purina’s long-standing commitment to the dog show community and all of its constituents, including professional handlers. The clinics offered by the RHP will also enable us to help foster new participants into our much-loved sport of purebred dogs. This is a very exciting project for us, and we look forward to a long and productive collaboration with the AKC.”

More information about the AKC Registered Handlers Program.

For more information about Nestle Purina PetCare Company, visit