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The Journal Gazette

  • In the July 2016 photo provided by Alysha Towell, sixteen-year-old Cortlund Towel touches his forehead against his dog Merlyn's head at the Houston World Dog Show in Houston, Texas.  (Alysha Towell via AP)

  • In this Sept. 2017 photo provided by Alysha Towell, eleven-year-old Fenric Towell kneels with his Lakeland terrier, Missy, on lead, at Purina Farms in Grey Summit, Mo.  (Alysha Towell via AP)

  • In this Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, photo, Fenric Towell poses for a photo with his lakeland terrier Missy during the meet the breeds companion event to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • In this 2017 photo provided Diana Han, junior dog handler Molly Forsyth, of Davis, Calif., shows a 9-year-old saluki named Sebastian at a dog show in Roseville, Calif. (Diana Ham/Nor Cal Bulldogger via AP)

  • In this Feb. 13, 2017, file photo, Raina McCloskey, from Delta, Pa., shows Briar, a borzoi, during the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Monday, February 12, 2018 11:50 am

Dog show's young handlers take a grown-up sport in stride

JENNIFER PELTZ | Associated Press


NEW YORK – This week's Westminster Kennel Club competition is best known for the dog crowned best in show, but it's also a showcase for young handlers who sometimes go up against grown-ups.

Ninety-five of the nation's top junior handlers are invited to a special competition where the 9-to-18-year-olds are judged on their presentation, not their dogs' particulars.

But many also exhibit their dogs in the breed judging that goes toward best in show. There's no age minimum for handlers in the breed rings, and kids as young as 7 have competed there.

Judging at America's most prestigious dog show began Monday. Nearly 2,900 dogs are entered, and the best in show will be chosen Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.