For many years the Collie Club of Colorado has enjoyed many active, successful junior handler members. Our club encourages youth to become members and to participate in the wide variety of activities open to them through the American Kennel Club. While the Collie Club of Colorado does not have a membership for youth only, parents are encouraged to apply for a family membership in order to better support their children in this positive and rewarding sport. Additional membership information can be found on the Membership page.
Showing dogs gives Junior Handlers a diverse set of life skills. Among the obvious are, sportsmanship and developing knowledge of ring procedures, grooming and showing techniques specific to the dog he or she is showing. They also develop a close bond with the dog to foster team work, and responsibility for arriving at the ring on time. Junior Showmanship can also be an apprenticeship which prepares youth for careers in dog handling, raising, and training.
The less obvious benefits to showing dogs are of the social variety. Junior Handlers meet people of all ages and backgrounds from around the country while attending dog shows. Many life long friendships are formed for Junior Handlers with other Junior Handlers of the same age and class division, older and younger Junior Handlers in other class divisions, adult mentors showing the same breed as the Junior Handler, adult mentors of other breeds, Judges, Professional Handlers and many more. Junior Handlers also gain a higher level of maturity than youth of the same age
Junior Showmanship is open to youth from 9 to 18 years old and is divided into two classes, Novice and Open. All participants in Junior Showmanship must have a Junior Showmanship Handler Number provided by AKC. Novice classes are for those youth who have not won three (3) first-place awards, with competition, in a Novice class at a show. The Novice class gives beginners a chance to gain experience and confidence separate from experienced Junior Handlers. Open classes are for youth who have had three first-place wins.
Both Novice and Open classes are divided into age groups.
- 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.
While the most common activity for Junior Handlers to participate in is Conformation, AKC and the Collie Club of Colorado encourage youth to participate in a variety of performance events with their dogs. Youth who earn titles in obedience, herding, agility and tracking are honored each year by the Collie Club of Colorado at the annual Christmas party.