Opened to ages 9 to 18 years, Junior Showmanship is a great way to children and young adults to the sport of dogs and to responsible dog ownership, while making friends, building confidence and learning discipline and good sportsmanship.
Competition is divided into Novice and Open classes.
- Novice is for Juniors who have not won three first-place awards in a Novice class at a licensed or member show and is designed to give beginners a chance to gain experience and confidence.
- Open is for children having three or more first-place wins.
The classes may further be divided into:
- Junior: At least 9 years old but under 12 years old on the day of the show.
- Intermediate: At least 12 years old but under 15 years old on the day of the show.
- Senior: At least 15 years old but under 18 years old on the day of the show.
Any dog entered must be eligible to compete in dog shows or obedience trials. While the dog himself is not judged, the dog must be owned or co-owned by the Junior Handler or the Junior Handler’s father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, grandfather, or grandmother, including corresponding step and half relations, or by a permanent member of the Junior Handler’s household.
Juniors must be able to control their dogs at all times and are judged on their ability to present, or handle, their dogs within the same formats and guidelines as those who compete in the conformation breed ring. The quality of their presentation, not the dog, is judged. Juniors are encouraged to develop their handling abilities, dress appropriately, conduct themselves in a proper manner, and present their dog in a well-groomed condition.
The best way for prospective junior handlers to see what is involved in junior handling is to watch the Junior Showmanship classes at a dog show. Another way to learn the basics by attending handling classes, often offered by local dog clubs and designed to afford both dog and handler an opportunity to practice in a relaxed atmosphere, yet in a setting similar to an actual show. Many clubs offer weekly handling classes for Juniors, often at no charge. They are informal and take place in a relaxed atmosphere where your child can practice in a setting similar to an actual show. Find a club and class near you.
For more details about Junior Showmanship, visit the American Kennel Club’s Junior Showmanship website, the source for the content on this page.
If you would like to talk to someone who has competed in Junior Showmanship with a Chow Chow, please email the CCCI Corresponding Secretary or the Junior Showmanship Scholarship Chair. They will try to put you in touch with someone who can share his or her experiences.
If you are the owner of a Chow Chow, but do not have eligible or interested children of your own, think about working with a friend’s or neighbor’s child who might enjoy and benefit from participating. Juniors are important to the future of the sport of dogs and responsible dog ownership. Get involved and encourage others to do so.