JRTCA Youth Division

The concept of young people participating in events designed exclusively for them is not new. There is a great need for these types of events which offer things for our youth to do with their terriers.

JRTCA Youth Division
Our youth are the future of the breed which we are all struggling so fiercely to protect. They need to know they will be ultimately responsible for the well being of this great working dog and they can help its preservation. And it's our job to teach them!

JRTCA Youth DivisionThe concept of young people participating in events designed exclusively for them is not new. Young terrier enthusiasts have been competing and learning about terriers at local trials for years. Many JRTCA sanctioned trials have offered non-sanctioned Youth Divisions, in all parts of the country. There is a great need for these types of events which offer things for our youth to do with their terriers, particularly as it also provides a chance to learn. So many times, parents tend to drag their children along to dog shows and you will see a large contingent of kids running throughout the trial site during the day. Now there is something fun and educational for them to do.

Child and Youth Handbook and Study Guide

This booklet is intended to give all youth (and their parents) entering a JRTCA child or youth class at a sanctioned trial a better idea of what to expect of the competition.

We would like to take the opportunity to welcome you to a new year of JRT fun with new faces, new challenges and lots of good times. There are just a few rules.

  1. Have Fun
  2. Learn to be responsible dog handlers
  3. Always show Good Sportsmanship
  4. Preserve, Protect and Work the Jack Russell Terrier
  5. Have fun

If and when you have any questions about the Youth Division or about any of the Youth Division classes, you should know that any of the JRTCA judges will be happy to talk with you, help you and answer any of your questions. Talk to breeders and other seasoned exhibitors who will gladly visit with you and share their knowledge about Jack Russells. That is what we are here for... to help you and to answer your questions. If we do not know the answer to your question, we will find it!


  • Make sure you get your registration packet(s) and check the information
  • Pay attention and be on time for your class
  • Keep your dog on the left side of you
  • Always keep a baggie in your pocket to pick up after your dog
  • Know your JRT facts
  • Exhibit good sportsmanship
  • Listen to and follow directions
  • Be knowledgeable
  • Enjoy yourself and your terrier
  • SMILE!

Remember, ribbons last for a day -- good sportsmanship and memories last a lifetime!

Download the 2017 Jack Russell Terrier Club of America Child and Youth Handbook and Study Guide

Judging Youth Classes

Youth DivisionFirst and foremost, the terrier is NEVER judged. The quality and performance of a youth's dog is not considered when placing in a class. Various questions are asked about the Jack Russell. What are they bred for? Where did the breed originate? What is the judge looking for when they examine a terrier? What is G-T-G, etc... The youths are scored based on their ability to handle their terrier and how they answer the judge's questions.

Attitude is also important. Exhibitors should understand that their terrier is working for them and deserves praise and encouragement. They need to have a good working knowledge of rules and requirements for each class. Considerations need to be given to those exhibitors who have difficult or uncooperative terriers and for the age of each child.

Familiarity with certain types of equipment which are required in the different divisions is necessary, i.e., buckle collar and leash for Agility. In some classes, they must be responsible for a score sheet and checking in with a steward. They must know about retrieving their terriers after running G-T-G.

Competitors are expected to be on time, neat and workman-like, listen to and follow directions and show a genuine effort to communicate and work with their terrier. Highest scores are for those who try the hardest for their age and skill level. In the event of a tie, answers given for bonus questions will determine the winner.

Above all, these classes should be fun learning experiences for the youth, combining competitive friendship, achievement, pride in a job well done and encouraging a respectful communicating bond with their working terrier.

Youth Division Rules

  1. The sanctioned Youth Division is open to JRTCA child and/or youth members in the following age brackets: Child Handler (ages 5 thru 9) and Youth Handler (ages 10 thru 16). A child/youth exhibitor's age is determined as of January 1st of the current calendar year.
  2. All exhibitors in the Youth Division must be current JRTCA members, either under a Family membership or under an individual Youth membership.
  3. Youths or their families applying for a JRTCA membership at a Sanctioned Trial will be allowed to enter classes at that trial.
  4. Child Handlers may handle an adult terrier or a 6-12 month old terrier. Youth handlers may only handle an adult terrier.
  5. Except in the case of an injured or ill terrier (refer to Rule 6), Youth Handlers must handle the SAME terrier, which must be an ADULT terrier, in all Youth Handler classes. No puppies are permitted in any Youth Handler classes.
  6. In the rare instance that a Youth Handler's dog is injured or medically unable to continue in any remaining events at a given trial, the youth may continue to compete with another dog. In this case, the following procedure is to be followed:
    • Prior to any terrier substitution, the Youth Handler must notify the Trial Chairperson. The Trial Chairperson must see and evaluate the terrier.
    • The youth may use another ADULT terrier, which must be the SAME ADULT terrier (no puppies allowed), used for the remaining Youth Division events.
    • Only one terrier substitution may be made, per handler, for each trial. (In the case of the JRTCA National Trial, the three day format equals one trial.)
    • All placement points earned by the handler prior to the substitution will remain in place. No placement points will be earned by the handler following the substitution.

    NOTE: An injured or ill terrier should be attended to as soon as possible. A licensed veterinarian or technician should be consulted at the trial site if available.

  7. Terriers owned or co-owned by the judge of any Youth Division classes are not eligible. Terriers owned or co-owned by the Trial Chairperson, or any member of their household, may be entered in the Youth Division.
  8. Spayed or neutered terriers may be exhibited in the Youth Division.
  9. Terriers competing in Youth GTG, if entered in regular GTG class, must compete in the regular GTG class prior to competing in the Youth GTG class. Terriers competing in Youth Agility, as well as regular Agility, must compete in the class order upon which the judge decides. It is important to inform the judge that the terrier is competing in Youth Handler as well as regular classes.
  10. The Sanctioned Youth Division consists of the following classes:
    • Child Handler - In the Conformation ring (may not be combined with Youth Handler). Must be offered at all JRTCA Sanctioned Trials.
    • Youth Handler - In the Conformation ring (may not be combined with Child Handler). Must be offered at all JRTCA Sanctioned Trials.
    • Youth Working Judge's Choice - No terrier to accompany Youth to the class. "Optional."
    • Youth Go-To-Ground - Must be offered at all JRTCA Sanctioned Trials.
    • Youth Off-/On-Lead - May choose to participate off- or on-lead. Optional
    • Youth Obedience - "Optional" class.
  11. Placement will be made on an accumulation of points based on the following:
    1. Ability to follow directions. Brief instructions should be provided prior to the competition.
    2. Control and handling of the terrier. Considerations will be given.
    3. Encouragement of the terrier while working.
    4. Knowledge of the rules and requirements of each class.
    5. Awareness of class schedule and arriving on time.
    6. Prompt retrieval of the terrier after competition.
    7. Having terrier ready to compete (collar off for GTG, proper collar and leash for conformation, agility, etc.)
    8. Knowledge of the terrier, structure, purpose, origin, etc.
    9. Checking in with the Steward and being responsible for individual score sheet.

    The score sheets for each individual class are to be used by the judge to calculate the class placements. The judge, at his/her discretion, may give the exhibitor his/her score sheet at the end of the class.

  12. Points for placement in each individual class are as follows: 8 points = 1st place, 6 points = 2nd place, 5 points = 3rd place, 4 points = 4th place, 3 points = 5th place, 2 points = 6th place, 1 point = participation
  13. Youth Handlers are eligible for the Youth High Score/Reserve High Score. This must be offered at all JRTCA Sanctioned Trials.
    • The Youth High Score is awarded to the exhibitor accumulating the most points in a minimum of two classes, which must be, Youth Handler and Youth GTG.
    • Youth Handlers may choose to participate in Youth Agility, Youth Obedience and Youth Working Judge's Choice events if offered at the trial. However, participation in these classes is not required in order for the Youth to be eligible for the High Score Award.
    • When Youth Handlers choose to participate in Youth Agility, Youth Obedience or Youth Working Judge's Choice events, the points accumulated by the Youth in these events must be included toward the High Score Award.
    • The Youth Reserve High Score is awarded to the runner-up. (That is the Youth with the second highest total points accumulated.)
    • A tie will be broken with the final decision made by a Conformation Judge other than the Judge of the day. The tie-breaker takes place in the conformation ring and is determined at the Judge's discretion by the exhibitor's handling/presentation of his/her terrier, by the answers to the Judge's questions, or by a combination of the two.

    NOTE: If there is no other available Conformation Judge on the grounds, then the Judge of the day will determine the tie-breaker.

  14. A judge may not judge a Youth Division class in which his or her child relative participates. When this situation/conflict arises, a different judge must be selected to judge the entire class at a particular trial.
  15. All questions should be referred to the Youth Sub-Committee.