Dog show’s young handlers take a grown-up sport in strid

NEW YORK (AP) — 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.