What About the Kids?

AKC GAZETTE March 2019
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column

The younger generation is the future of the entire sport of purebred dogs. Whether for specific breeds or local and national clubs, we need the youngsters to step forward as they mature and take control of the reins. This isn’t a new concept, but what should promulgate this is to consider: What is your canine organization doing to encourage children and young people to want to become an integral part of this aspect of life we hold in such high regard?


The CWCCA has long recognized the intrinsic value of making the fledgling Cardigan community feel welcome and part of the club’s numerous activities. Many of us started at a tender age and remember those first canine events with friends and family, and how they helped to form our love of the sport. The CWCCA takes the promotion of the future Cardigan fanciers very seriously. The club has developed a number of programs that provide for a fun and educational introduction to the sport and allow for those who continue to possibly benefit financially as well. Interested young people under 18 receive a free membership to the CWCCA. For those who participate in Junior Showmanship at the national and some regional specialties, each junior may receive a gift bag. These wonderful gifts are possible thanks to the financial generosity of contributing club members. In addition, each year the Top Junior accolade is awarded for those who participate in AKC Junior Showmanship competition.


The big news is that each year, those junior members who are graduating high school seniors are eligible for a $2,000 scholarship. Have we heightened your interest yet? That kind of money can go a long way in helping out with college tuition. In addition they provide a Junior Assistance Grant of $500 to every junior member who competes in Junior Showmanship at the coveted Westminster Kennel Club event or the AKC National Championship. This wonderful opportunity is also available for juniors who compete in junior performance events at the AKC National show, or any of the AKC performance invitationals. In addition, for those up to age 25 there is a scholarship offered to assist in returning to college or continuing your education.


Another new concept that is gaining popularity fast is the introduction of the Pee Wee children’s handling class at dog shows. Having experienced judging this firsthand at the 2018 national specialty, it is truly an awwww-inspiring part of the day! Watching these youngsters happily parade around the ring with their special canine friends and a beaming parent closely overseeing the cavalcade is tremendous fun for all. It truly gives the intense competition of the day a well-deserved break in the action. It is so much fun to let down your stress level and just enjoy some oh-so-cute times at the event.

You are strongly encouraged to see what your canine club is doing to promote the younger generation’s participation in our sport. There are lots of ideas for contests at your shows. You can have the local news take video of the kids in conformation, or get the children to cheer for the agility dogs. We owe it to our breed to get and keep up the interest of our youngest fanciers in order to safeguard the future of the sport we dearly love. The CWCCA is very proud of the proactive approach they have taken to make juniors and upcoming young participants feel welcomed at their events.

When you see the smile on the faces of the younger exhibitors working so hard to do their very best, it is heartwarming to know that your favorite breed is going to carry on to another generation of dog lovers.


-David L. Anthony 

First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, March 2019.

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