Kids Zone

Junior Handlers - The Future of the Breed

Our children not only preserve the sport, they learn about the breed and become the preservation breeders of the future.  The Kids Zone will show you how!

  • Does your child have a love for Bulldogs?

  • Do you to want to empower him or her with life-long skills about being responsible and a good sport – whether winning or losing?

  • Put your child on the path of Junior Showmanship (also called “Junior Handling”), a sport for young people where they show off their dog handling skills.

  • Children 9 to 18 years old learn basic handling abilities, and how to care for, and present their dogs in a competition.

  • Think of Junior Showmanship as a training ground for a life-long journey in dog shows and sports.

Participating in Junior Showmanship will teach your child many important life lessons.

  • How to be a good sport

  • How to put one’s mind to something and master it

  • How training can lead to a very special bond with a dog.

We can help you put your child on the road to the Kids Zone!

If you or your child hasn’t actually seen a Junior Showmanship competition in person, we highly recommend that you observe one. You will see how children take part and interact with each other, the strong friendships they’ve developed, and how they handle their wins and losses. We are confident you’ll be impressed by their knowledge, attitudes and willingness to share their experiences with those new to the sport.

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.

Instructors teach dog-handling skills, and introduce your child to the world of dog shows, and the elements of good sportsmanship. Anyone aged 9 and under 18 who has an AKC junior showmanship handler number is eligible to take a class. (Need a number? Fill out this form Junior Number Request and send to juniors@akc.org.)

Most clubs offer two types of classes for each age range:

  • Novice classes are for beginners to gain experience and confidence in the ring. To qualify, participants can’t have won more than two first-place awards at a licensed or member show at the time entries close. And to qualify as a win, more than one child must be in the competition.
  • Open classes are for more seasoned young handlers to compete against each other. To qualify, participants must have won three or more first-place awards.

Once your child has found a love for dog handling, it’s time for his/her first competition. Unlike events for adults, your dog isn’t the main focus in a Junior Showmanship competition—your child is. Judges look at the quality of their presentation in the ring and how well he/she handles and presents your dog, using the same guidelines as adults who compete in the ring. To enter, speak with your local AKC club and find an event near you.

To learn more about Junior Showmanship requirements and rewards visit the AKC Website

AKC Junior Information