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AKC Registered Handlers

AKC Registered Handlers

Registered Handler
Registered Handler
Registered Handler

The RHP Handlers Directory

Professional handlers have historically played an important role in dog sports and events.  Many owners rely on the expertise of professional handlers in the care, conditioning, and presentation of dogs.  For those who use the services of a handler, the experience and education of the professional can mean the difference in the presentation, and most importantly the care and safeguarding of their dog.

True professionals make the welfare of dogs in their care an utmost priority; are fair, honest, and transparent in business practices; and conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner – all standards that the AKC Registered Handlers Program outlines in its Code of Ethics, which is the foundation of the Registered Handlers Program.

SafeSport Training - USA Badminton

All Members are SafeSport certified and is a condition of their membership to the RHP.

If you are a professional handler, membership in the AKC RHP demonstrates to current and prospective clients that you are held to a higher standard through your adherence to its Code of Ethics; and meeting the RHP’s experience, facility, vehicle, and equipment criteria for membership.

If you are seeking to hire a professional handler, the AKC RHP should be your starting point, and here’s how to get started.

The AKC RHP Team

Tim Thomas, Program Director –

Larry Cornelius, Field Coordinator –

Mark Desrosiers, Field Coordinator –

Jane Myers, Field Coordinator –

Marliese Moody, Dog Show Judges Administrative Assistant & Special Projects Manager, Raleigh, NC –

For additional information, please contact:

The American Kennel Club
Handlers Dept.
8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27617-3390
phone: 919-816-3884

  • Program Details & Benefits +

    When a professional handler participates in the Registered Handlers Program, you set a good example for newcomers to the profession and you educate the public about what to look for in a true professional handler. The program offers the following benefits:

    • Public recognition for handlers enrolled in the program.
    • The contact information listed on AKC handler directory.
    • Direct incoming calls from owners seeking handlers.
    • Publication in AKC Gazette.
    • Separate designation in show catalogs for AKC Registered Handlers.
    • Participation in the Apprenticeship program for additional credit.
    • $10,000 Life Insurance Benefit ($6,500 for age 65 and older)
    • 10% product discount from Cherrybrook
    • 10% product discount from Harry O

    To receive an application packet for the Registered Handler Program, e-mail your request to:, call 919-816-3884 or write to: American Kennel Club, Attn: Handlers Department, 8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27617-3390.

    Fees and Process for the Registered Handler Program:

    • Annual dues of $250 to be paid by Jan. 31 (Discounted based upon attendance of RHP ongoing education and participation in RHP activities.)
    • Mandatory ongoing education provided by the RHP throughout the year around the country.
    • Mandatory bi-annual vehicle inspection (to be conducted in “odd”–numbered years, i.e. 2015, 2017)

    We also offer the AKC RHP Initiate Program for upcoming career-driven professional handlers into the program who meet the requirements for membership with suitable facilities, safe and adequate transport vehicle, Care, Custody and Control insurance, etc. If you’re interested in applying under the AKC RHP Initiate Program, applications are available by e-mailing your request to:, calling 919-816-3884 or writing to: American Kennel Club, Attn: Handlers Department, 8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27617-3390.

  • Who Can Participate +

    To apply for the Registered Handler Program, you must have:

    • A minimum of seven years’ experience showing dogs for a fee (documentation may be required). Credit available for years as an RHP Apprentice.
    • Kennel facilities that meet AKC recommended criteria.
    • Completed the RHP membership application.
    • Proof of Kennel ownership or lease.
    • Proof of care, custody and control liability insurance at time of application and proof of renewal each year after becoming a member.
    • Adequate vehicle to transport show dogs.
    • Current rate schedule and handler/client contract
    • Copy of current driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.
    • Three (3) Reference Letters (Business, Client, Veterinarian).
    • Sign the Code of Ethics for Registered Handlers.
    • $100 application fee (non-refundable). $150 balance is due at time of full acceptance. (First member of household).

    Read More About Ongoing Annual Requirements


Royal Canin Sponsorship Logo

AKC Registered Handler Program Sponsored by Royal Canin