The popularity of Junior Showmanship at The Westminster Kennel Club has endured and flourished since 1934 as an important part of the show and a reflection on its role in the great family sport of showing dogs. The fact that the young people are the future of the sport is never more evident than at Westminster, where participants go on to careers in dogs or to carry on family tradition over generations of children and parents.

In this competition, the young people are judged solely on their handling skills independent of the traits of the dog. But while handling, care and responsible ownership are important lessons of Junior Showmanship, so is learning social skills and sportsmanship, as well as the opportunity to bond with one's dog.

Childrens Handling, as it was called in those early years, was first offered for boys and girls under 15 years of age and judged by members of the Professional Handlers Association. In 1951, it became Junior Showmanship.

Today, young people ages 10-18 from all over the country qualify with eight wins in shows during the previous year, and more than 100 youngsters come to New York in February to compete.

Preliminaries are divided into four different sections, two on Monday afternoon and two on Tuesday afternoon. The two preliminary judges each judge one section each night. They select two young handlers from each section to advance, making a total of eight finalists that meet in the ring for the Best Junior title on Tuesday evening.

Through the years, Best Junior has been won by 48 girls and 22 boys; 14 winners have come from New York, nine from California and eight from Pennsylvania. For a complete listing of winners, see the History and Records section.


The Junior Showmanship Finals judge for 2004 is Mrs. Jeannette McGinnis of Upland, CA.

The Junior Showmanship Preliminary judges for 2004 are Mr. Dana P. Cline of Rockford, IL and Mr. Michael Faulkner of Center Cross, VA.


The name of each Best Junior Handler will be inscribed on a brass plate that will be affixed to the base of a bronze statue created by Damara Bolte and donated by the Professional Handlers Association. The Bronze, created in memory of professional handler Tom Tobin, is a figure of an Irish Setter trotting on lead beside the footprints of his handler. This piece will be on display at The Westminster Kennel Club show each year.

The Westminster Kennel Club offers at its show, the Leonard Brumby, Sr. Memorial Trophy to the winner of the Junior Handler competition.

The Professional Handlers' Association, Inc. offers an 8" x 10" S.S. Picture Frame to the winner of the Junior Handler competition in memory of Tom Tobin.


ELIGIBILITY: This is a Limited Class. Juniors may enter the competition if they have placed first in eight or more Open Classes in Junior Showmanship at AKC Licensed or Member shows held between December 2, 2002 and November 30, 2003, and who were at least 10 years old and under 18 years old at the time of each qualifying win (Competition required in Open Class).

NOTE: FOR 2005 SHOW: Juniors must have placed first in 10 or more Open Classes in Junior Showmanship in AKC Licensed or Members Shows held between December 2, 2003 and November 28, 2004.

Entries for dogs entered in breed competition and in Junior Showmanship competition are subject to all the provisions outlined in the premium list and on the entry form as to fee, closing date, eligibility, benching etc. Due to the large entry, a Junior may be judged on a day different from the day their breed is benched. Junior Showmanship dogs are not benched.

Entries for dogs entered in Junior Showmanship ONLY may be mailed in at any time once this year's Premium List has been received. However, all forms must be completed and received by MB-F, Inc. no later than 3 p.m. (ET), December 5, 2003.

Junior Showmanship ONLY dogs do not have to be champions.

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