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The Current Top Three Junior Handlers

Today I want to take the time to recognize the current top junior handlers in our sport. Three young ladies from three different areas of the country have been working hard with their dogs to make it to where they are thus far this year, and I’d like to share with you a little bit more about each of them.

It’s not often that our top juniors are put in the spotlight. Usually all the focus is on the top dogs in our sport (you can read about the top dogs here), so I thought it would be nice to have the best of both worlds this time and give the top juniors their moment in the spotlight.

Nicki Short is from Portland, Ore., and she’s currently in the top spot. Her wins total 290 defeated so far this year with her Cardigan Welsh Corgi as her partner in crime. Nicki is currently qualified for AKC/Eukanuba and is just one Best Junior Handler award away from qualifying for Westminster.

Nicki Short and her junior dog pictured here at Westminster Kennel Club 2013. Photo courtesy of Nicki Short.

The current Number 2 junior handler overall is Megan Honari from Washington state. Meagan ended 2012 as the Number 1 junior handler and has already qualified for both AKC/Eukanuba and Westminster 2014. Currently, she is also the Number 1 Sporting junior and the Number 1 Golden Retriever junior handler! She is currently above Nicki in the number of first place wins and Best Junior Handlers award, but has fewer points for handlers defeated, which places her in second place.

Meagan Honari is pictured in the juniors ring at Westminster Kennel Club 2013. Photo courtesy of Kayla Bertagnolli

Even closer than the first and second top junior handlers is our third handler, Caroline Clegg from Goshen, Ohio. Caroline is currently behind the Number 2 spot by only two points! She was in the top spot just a month ago, but still maintains her position in the top three at this time. Meagan is also qualified for both AKC/Eukanuba and Westminster.

Caroline Clegg in the juniors ring at Westminster Kennel Club 2013. Photo courtesy of Kayla Bertagnolli

I find it interesting that two of the top juniors both show what seems to be a very popular juniors breed, the Golden Retriever. More than 50 percent of the Top 10 Golden Retriever handlers have already qualified for AKC/Eukanuba – or have surpassed that – proving that Goldens are great junior dogs.

Numbers-wise, these three young ladies are quite close, but I would also like to recognize the remaining Top 10 juniors:

  • • KayCee Klang
  • • Savannah Livingston
  • • Lindsay Marie Gorder
  • • Raina Moss
  • • Mallary Quin Ross
  • • Emily Goldstein
  • • Kristen O Brien

Congrats to all of these wonderful handlers. I, along with many other supporters of junior handlers, am sure to be excited to see what the following months have in store!

Dogs Freakin’ Rule!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"
  • rachelgeordie
    Rachel Romano Kelly August 8, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    I want to offer my congratulations to all the juniors who are working hard toward their goals. I am always glad to see Junior Handlers, the future of our sport, getting some recognition. As a former junior, parent of a junior, and AKC Juniors judge I would, however, like to see less emphasis on statistics. I think the ideal statistics, if there is such a thing, would be ONLY counting points from Saturday/Sunday shows. This would level the playing field for those Juniors who attend public schools (& some private schools for that matter) and cannot go to weekday shows. Another option would be to track stats like baseball “batting averages” instead. I believe sometimes our Juniors are enticed to attend shows to gather points toward higher rankings when school should be their primary focus.

  • Mary Clegg August 9, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    Thank you Kayla for the mention! It meant a lot to Caroline (age 12) to send this out to family

  • nancy cody August 14, 2013 at 6:20 AM

    Way to go nicki! we are very proud of you I know its a lot of work and time but when you do such a great job its worth it…..love ya, auntie nancy

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