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CKC Junior Handling National Championships: Celebrating Our Future

November 28, 2018
All-Competitors.jpgCKC’s Junior Handling National Championships celebrates the accomplishments and talent of dedicated Junior Handlers from across the country. Bringing together the top Juniors in both Conformation and Obedience, the Junior Nationals is more than a competition – it is an opportunity for some of our most promising, up and coming handlers to see and be seen by fellow canine aficionados in different parts of our spectacular country. Friendships that begin at this event can last a lifetime, bonding contestants as they laugh and learn together, supporting one another as they prepare for the challenge of their respective rings. Mr. Richard Paquette, Chair of the CKC Junior Kennel Club, states that “the true quality of a Junior Handler can be measured in their sportsmanship,” and the CKC Junior Handling National Championships aims to foster an atmosphere of camaraderie, cohesion, and above all, fun. Our goal is to encourage our Juniors to take their passion to the next level, and we hope that passion – deeply rooted in the bond which links humankind to the dog – lasts a lifetime.

The Battle River Canine Association played host to this year’s Junior Nationals, held in beautiful Camrose, Alberta. Here, finalists enjoyed a packed weekend full of fun, costumes, and some of that famous western hospitality. Competition was rigorous – contestants had defeated other top Juniors in their respective Zone Finals in order to secure a place at the Junior Nationals. Ultimately, Kayla Penney of Chilliwack, BC, representing Zone 12 (British Columbia Interior and Yukon) was crowned the Best Overall Junior in Conformation, whilst Thomas Adams of Fredericton, NB, representing Zone 2 (New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) came out on top in Obedience. Interestingly, both Kayla and Thomas come from “doggy” backgrounds, as Kayla’s grandpa had Golden Retrievers and Thomas’ mother is a well-known figure in the world of Dalmatians. Both youngsters found their own “heart breeds” though; Kayla decided on the same breed as our Prime Minister has, a Portuguese Water Dog called “Kash,” and Thomas fell for the versatility of the Belgian Shepherd with his dog “Chaos,” also recently discovering the appeal of the Golden Retriever with young “Race.” We congratulate our winners and wish them continued success in all their future endeavours in and out of the ring.
Best-Conformation-JH-1.jpg Best-Obedience-JH-1.jpg
Best Overall Conformation (winner)
Kayla Penney - Zone 12
Photo Credit: Cathy French Photography
Best Overall Obedience (winner)
Thomas Adams - Zone 2
Photo Credit: Cathy French Photography

For any CKC Junior Handlers that are keen for a chance to participate in the 2019 Junior Nationals, there is still time to earn an invitation to the Zone Finals to qualify for Nationals. CKC’s Event Calendar has a complete list of Junior Handling events across the country. Just remember, Conformation participants must complete at least three (3) Junior Handling competitions in the calendar year to be eligible for an invitation to your Zone Finals.

This year’s Junior Nationals provided the platform for a very special announcement about the Junior Handling program. Something everyone involved in almost any aspect of the world of purebred dogs can agree upon is the need for young people to become actively involved. We want to ensure a healthy and vibrant future for the breeds we cherish, and we want knowledgeable, passionate, and dedicated young people to be the face of that future. In support of that future, CKC is proud to present a brand new digital tool kit for novice Junior Handlers. Any interested youth, anywhere in Canada, can now learn about dog sport with access to video tutorials made just for them by none other than internationally renowned Canadian handler and former Junior, Allison Foley;  Enter the Ring: Junior Handling 101 is an amazing resource for kids, including a full kit of supporting materials covering all the details from Gaiting Pattern PDF’s to a handy “What to Wear” section. This is a great addition to the many recognized clubs already offering workshops for novice and junior handlers. 

Juniors-with-Flags.jpgMrs. Shannon Scheer, CKC Junior Kennel Club Rep for the Nationals’ host Zone, has been dedicated to Junior Handling for 30 years, “without the CKC having made Junior Handling an official event, I am not sure where our dog fancy would be in the next 10 years.” A prime example of the power of Junior Handling – Shannon was once a Junior herself and just as her mentors helped her, she now shares her expertise with the next generation of the CKC community. The everyday actions of CKC members is what makes this program accessible to Juniors; just read the Zone Finalists’ biographies to see how many of Canada’s top Junior Handlers started their journey with borrowed dogs, volunteer support, and confidence built on the kindness of their local CKC community. Jan Osterbauer, Chair of this year’s Junior Nationals, provides inspiration for all our members: “I have also had the fun and joy of having Junior Handlers work with my young Beardie puppies and raising them to become Champions.” Every member who takes a moment to lend a hand to Juniors and adult newcomers should feel very proud when they see the quality and integrity of the Juniors at CKC events. If you aren’t a Juniors supporter already, reach out to your local club or Juniors Zone Rep to express your interest.

No account of the event could be complete without a mention of and Canadian Dog Fancier for their unwavering support of the CKC Junior Handling National Championships, continuing to go above and beyond year after year. 100% of the proceeds of’s multi-year Junior Nationals sponsorship has reached Junior Handlers through their annual jackets and bursaries while the team at Canadian Dog Fancier continue to provide a stunning program and cherished keepsake for attendees.
Runner-Up-Obedience.jpg Runner-Up-Conformation.jpg
Runner Up Obedience 
Allison Goosney - Zone 10
Photo Credit: Cathy French Photography
Runner Up Conformation
Melodie-Ann Guerit - Zone 3
Photo Credit: Cathy French Photography
Cathy-French-Photography-2018-JN-3rd-Place-Faith-Cordeiro-1.jpg Cathy-French-Photography-2018-JN-4th-Place-Conformation-Emily-MacKay-1.jpg
3rd Place Conformation
Faith Cordeiro - Zone 4B
Photo Credit: Cathy French Photography
4th Place Conformation 
Emily MacKay - Zone 1B
Photo Credit: Cathy French Photography

For more pictures from the event click here.

The CKC would like to thank for generously sponsoring the bursaries provided to the Best Overall Juniors in Conformation and Obedience. The Conformation Champion receives $2500 that they can use towards their journey to Birmingham, UK as they represent the Canadian Kennel Club at the International Junior Handling Competition hosted by Crufts.

The opinions expressed by authors on the Canadian Kennel Club Blog and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Canadian Kennel Club or any of its employees.

Les opinions et les commentaires exprimés dans le blogue du Club Canin Canadien sont ceux des auteurs et ils ne reflètent pas les opinions du Club Canin Canadien ni de ses employés.

Author InformationInformation sur l’auteur

Neil Trilokekar

Neil Trilokekar

Neil Trilokekar has been dog crazy for as long as he can remember. He grew up in India with his parents’ English Cocker Spaniels, and his first dogs of his own were a Standard Smooth Dachshund and a German Shepherd Dog. While still living in India, he met the breeds he still loves most to this day: the Caravan Hound, Saluki, Lhasa Apso, and Tibetan Mastiff (Do Khyi). Moving to Canada in the late 1990s, he became involved in Junior Handling and by the early 2000s was writing dog-related articles, which have appeared in dog publications around the world. With a background in anthropology, Neil’s passion is traveling to these breeds’ native areas and observing them “in situ” – on their land, with their people. He hopes to encourage the preservation of all primitive and aboriginal dogs “as received,” as they represent important pieces of the human story. 

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12/14/2019 1:24:29 AM

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nice post! thank so much
10/1/2019 2:57:06 AM

Lovely Article!! Always happy to keep up with the Juniors.After all they are our Future!!
3/30/2019 2:25:27 PM

Congratulations to all the juniors and volunteers that execute these important events. Best of luck at Crufts!
1/17/2019 5:34:44 PM

great article about the future of dogs! Love this keep it up
1/9/2019 9:47:01 PM

Kayla Penney
Congratulations to all the junior handlers who competed at the nationals in Alberta! This article is wonderful. Dog handling is my passion. I can’t wait to compete at crufts and meet new junior handlers. Anyone who has an interest in junior handling, I encourage them to look into this really fun sport. I look forward to seeing all the amazing juniors around the world, I wish you all the best of luck!
1/9/2019 9:13:25 PM

Terrina Maciborski
Lovely article. Juniors are truly to be cherished and nurtured to become incredible well rounded dog people. Sportsmanship and manners are by far the most important to possess as without them it will not matter if you have all the talent in the world. We have tremendous juniors that constantly remind adults about the importance of sportsmanship and genuinely encouraging each other. Good luck at Crufts.
1/9/2019 2:24:19 PM

Erin Moore
Congratulations. I know first hand how exciting it is to compete in the Nationals, having done so in 1996 at the Credit Valley Dog shows at the Sky Dome in Toronto. Was that ever a great show or what!?, plus the Christmas shopping was amazing and the huge entries of close to 2000 per day!
1/7/2019 5:05:08 PM

Pierre Talbot
Congratulations to the parents, friends and volunteers that encourage our youth in the dog sport. Well done Kayla and Thomas. It will be an honour to represent Canada at Crufts and such a marvellous experience. Believe, Enjoy and Have fun!
1/6/2019 1:41:45 PM

Jean Delisle
Excellent article Neil. Juniors are truly our future. And a chance to represent Canada is such a great motivation. Thank you all and to the sponsors.
1/6/2019 12:09:30 PM

Thank you all for your efforts in supporting our juniors.
1/6/2019 10:03:37 AM

Donna Cullen
Encouraging juniors by making Junior Handling an official class has helped ensure the future of our sport. Congratulations to all the participants in the Junior Handling Nationals and best wishes on your continued success.
1/6/2019 7:46:20 AM

Lisa Dickie
Congratulations on representing Canada at Crufts this year! I will be cheering you on from here
1/5/2019 7:12:02 PM

Dean Goudie
What a great line up of juniors... I've always enjoyed teaching Junior Handling, judging juniors & attending the Nationals many times with my Mentee Alexandra Ornholt
1/5/2019 5:30:37 PM

Sue-Ellyn Rempel
The last few years I’ve come to appreciate all the hard work that our Juniors do.
And to those that arrange classes, bring in different people to work with the kids and to the owners that bring dogs for the kids to work with.
We have children coming to classes that do not own a purebred dog to show...but I know that one day they will.
1/5/2019 4:33:39 PM

Tannis Postma
What a great article to read, congratulations to all the past winners and to all the future stars of Canada. Junior handling is very important to our sport and us as the “older” handlers (owner or professional) should always remind ourselves how we act in and outside the ring is being watched by our future handlers. Having the Nationals at lunch at Battle River Canine Assoc. was amazing so many people watching, supporting and cheering. Good luck at Crufts to this years winner, Kayla, we will all be cheering for you from the edge of our seats!
1/5/2019 2:04:52 PM

Great article! The Junior Nationals are always a lot of fun, and it’s amazing to see the dog show community get together.Huge congratulations to Kayla, and thank you to all of the sponsors and organizers, especially Jan Osterbauer, Shannon Scheer, And Richard Paquette!
1/5/2019 1:30:46 PM

Janis Oehlschlager
Great article! How wonderful to have such great and continual support in place for a very important part of the dog world and the very future of its growth and relevance!
1/5/2019 1:24:20 PM

Wendy Anderson
Excellent article!! Awesome representation of juniors in Canada!!
1/5/2019 1:00:27 PM

Deanna Penney
Great article, this was an amazing experience. To see the hard work and dedication from everyone who put the nationals together and how helpful and supportive everyone was, thank you. Also, huge Congrats to all the juniors who participated in this years nationals.
1/5/2019 12:44:41 PM

Gina Steinicke-Hill
Excellent article! So much work goes into putting on the National Competition! Although I wasn’t able to attend this year I send congratulations to all participants and winners! Excellent article!
1/2/2019 8:20:29 PM

Fiona ni'Giollarua
it was a real thrill to be able to watch the Juniors at Camrose. Very well organized. However, as it is a National Sports event, the National Anthem should have been sung after the particpants entered and were introduced, but before proceeding to the event's activities. There were many comments from the spectators in our immediate vicinity to that effect. Perhaps at the next National the anthem could be piped through the venue's sound system, or a local dignitary could sing it. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all of the parents, clubs judges, volunteers and kids who make such a competition possible
1/2/2019 7:43:29 PM

Shannon Scheer
As the AB Jr Zone Rep it was a proud moment to once again host the National Jr Championships. Thank you to the Battle River Canine Assoc for being our host club. Thank you to Cathy French Photography for all of our great photos. It was a pleasure to meet all of Canada's finest competitors and their parents.
1/2/2019 11:56:39 AM

Great article! Sad I wasn’t able to attend the Junior Handling Nationals this year as I think it’s a must to show support for the future of the dog show sport!
1/1/2019 7:54:24 PM

Richard Paquette
Awesome article Neil. Thank you very much. Once again it was a pleasure to MC this exciting event. Watch for the announcement of the video that was done to showcase this exciting and important event.
12/4/2018 11:34:16 AM

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