In February each year the Scottish Kennel Club hosts the final of the Junior Handler of the Year in conjunction with the SKC Top Dog competition.
Handlers aged 6-16 years have the opportunity to qualify for the prestigious event by winning one of 10 qualifying heats held at Scottish open shows throughout the preceding year. This is a handling competition and as such is judged on the handling ability of the junior and does not involve any judging of the dog. The handler's skill, competence and attitude will be assessed through demonstrating basic ringcraft moves and patterns requested by the judge.
Note: To be eligible to compete in the final, the junior must be resident in Scotland and win 1st place in one of the qualifying heats. Once a handler has qualified for the final, they are ineligible to compete in further heats. In the event that the 1st placed handler is ineligible (or unable?) to attend the final, the next highest placed Scottish resident from that heat will be offered the position in the final.
Throughout the year the Scottish Kennel Club hold a number of training events, some of which focus primarily on handling skills for the show ring, to which all juniors are welcome to attend. Details of these events will be sent to all paid-up SKC junior members and posted on the website.
At the final the 20 qualifiers are judged within their age groups (6-11 & 12-16 years). Two finalists are selected from each category, who then challenge for the Top spot and remaining placings.