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Juniors- Where to Start


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My 10 yr old wants to start getting involved in AKC events. She has an AKC registered Cairn, her Jr #, we've been to a couple shows (working class though) and plan on going to the Terrier Assoc of Oregon show in Jan.

I want her to come to some local club mtgs with me but knowing how shy she is I am thinking something like a 4-H club would be up her alley more. Or, are there kids at club events typically? I am unsure if there are even local 4-H clubs available to us but am hopeful to find something where she can dabble in different events, find a mentor and bond with kids over a similar interest.

Also- I purchased her dog being somewhat green and not realizing that she would potentially want to show her. I assume, based on what I've read, that Jrs are primarily evaluated on their knowledge and handling of the dog, not necessarily the dogs conformation to the standard? Is this somewhat accurate?

Any other thoughts on how to get started? Or what events might be best for a somewhat shy 10 year old?


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Good for you and your daughter. There are far too few junior handlers and especially in our breed in this area. We've had a few over the years but inevitably they grow up! How that happens yet I stay the same age is some kind of miracle :P


There was even some debate about whether we should offer Junior Showmanship at our July specialty this year.  Some years we have; some years we haven't. The argument against is we don't get any entries. The argument for is we need juniors to get involved and we need to offer the class in order to provide the opportunity. I believe that we are offering it this year, so hope to see at least one Junior entered!


You are right that it is the handler being judged in Junior Showmanship not the dog's conformation. Sometimes someone will co-own a retired champion with a junior so that the junior has a ring-wise dog to work with if the junior's dog is proving to be a detriment for any reason (again, usually related to the dog's behavior or experience not so much its conformation). In the PDX area overall though I think the junior scene is reasonably active even if there are precious few Cairn juniors. A reasonably local junior has become a welcome sight both in and out of the Jr ring and doing very well. Go Caleb go.


I personally don't know anything about the 4-H scene in this area. If you talk to some of the folks at the Rose City classic (or the club Christmas party … hint hint) you can likely get better answers than I can provide on that front. 


I notice that earthdog entries have a place for a Junior number, so keep your eye out for tests by the Greater Portland Dachshund Club, Oregon Trail's End Earthdog Club. If you are able/willing to travel a little, there are some delightful sites on Whidbey Island where Puget Sound Earthdog Club and Cascade Dachshund Club offer tests as well.  Maybe Fury will want to give some rats a piece of his mind :P  Local Cairns are also found at Nosework tests, agility trials, obedience trials and even tracking tests. And breeders are often wanting to ensure their pups are socialized to people of all ages, including 10 year olds :)


I'm somewhat shy too but terriers have a way of bringing us all out of our shell a lil' bit :) You are lucky that you live an area where there are lots of very active Cairn folks. Just by attending events and shows and hanging out I strongly suspect your daughter will soon find herself helping out in may ways if she is willing. Having a job to do is a great way for us shy folk to destress as it gives us something to focus on.  I tend to think our club is pretty welcoming overall and I would guess somewhat likely to want to "adopt" a junior interested in Cairns. I'm not showing any dogs in conformation these days (everyone is either finished or retired) but if there's anything I can do I will be happy to help.

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Thanks Brad! You keep offering up a wealth of good information. :) My daughter lit up when she read about the earthdog trials. We were both laughing as we read the IQ description online, as neither of us can imagine Fury needing any type of encouragement for working the quarry. It would be interesting to see how she actually performs vs. how well we think that she will.


I love a good adventure too, especially one that potentially offers up some photography &/or hiking opportunities, so appreciate the extra tidbit about Whidbey Island. 


Silly question probably but I imagine that club meetings, including the holiday party, are typically attended without our canine counter parts? I am envisioning Fury making off with the main dish as I type this... ;)

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We found two local 4-H clubs by calling the extension office and then talking to the club leaders. :)

It sounds like one is primarily focused on obedience and rally and the other on conformation. The latter has a leader that grew up showing in AKC events. She takes her kids to AKC events and sits ringside with them.

We are planning on going to both club meetings to check out the fit. They start the 2nd week of December and my daughter is super excited. :)

We started looking at outfits too and she REALLY wants to tie a Scottish theme into hers. I'm not sure if that would be okay but we already found a potential online which is basically the plaid kilted skirt & wool suit jacket. I figure, if anything, she might be able to work in a plaid scarf.

We are going to try to make the CRCTC holiday party. We have obedience training at Puparazzi that morning followed by a holiday party geared towards children with food allergies. If anything, we may show up a little late with dessert in hand. :)

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