The USASA Juniors Program is designed to promote and encourage Juniors to participate in AKC events with their Australian Shepherds. USASA believes our Juniors are important to the future of our breed, our Club, the sport of purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership.

The Juniors Program encourages, supports and recognizes our Junior members for their achievements in Junior Showmanship and Performance events at AKC sanctioned shows and trials. We provide educational and training support including an annual clinic for Juniors at our National Specialty focusing on breed history, good sportsmanship and handling techniques. We also encourage and reward academic achievement through our Optimum Club.

The USASA Juniors Program is only open to USASA Junior Members.  All questions, reports, report cards, general information, etc., can be directed to the appropriate USASA Committee Member listed below

Click here to download Juniors Program Brochure

Junior Handling Year End Awards

USASA supports Junior Members competing in Junior Showmanship competition.

TOP TEN: Annual awards to the top 10 Juniors in the 3 age classes (Junior, Intermediate, Senior). The Novice & Open classes are combined.

TOP DIVISION WINNER: Annual award to the top first place Open Junior Handler in the 3 age classes.

TOP JUNIOR HANDLER OF THE YEAR: Annual award to the top overall Junior Handler from all classes based on highest amount of points.

SPECIAL AWARDS: Additional annual awards given should a Junior be recognized as AKC’s Top Herding Junior Handler for the year or for any Junior awarded Best Junior Handler at any AKC invitational show (e.g. AKC National Championship, Westminster, etc.).

Junior Performance Year End Awards

USASA supports Junior Members in all of the AKC performance events:  Agility, Obedience, Herding, Rally, Tracking, and Coursing Ability Test.

TOP TEN: Annual awards to the top 10 Juniors in the 6 separate divisions (Agility, Obedience, Herding, Rally, Tracking and Coursing Ability Test).

TOP DIVISION WINNER: Annual award to the top first place Junior in each of the 6 separate divisions.

TOP PERFORMANCE JUNIOR OF THE YEAR: Annual award to the top overall Performance Junior of all classes based on the highest number of points.

SPECIAL AWARDS: A special Above and Beyond Award may be given to a Junior for special accomplishments. Refer to the Junior Program Companion guide for more details.

Overall Junior of the Year Award

USASA supports Junior Members who compete in both Junior Showmanship and Performance events.

The Overall Junior of the Year award is presented to the Junior who has earned the highest overall points in both Performance and Junior Showmanship. Minimum requirements must be met.

AKC National Championship Invitational Qualifiers Reward

Any USASA junior who qualifies for the AKC National Championship Invitational in conformation or performance events has an opportunity to earn money to help with his or her expenses to attend the show.

Optimum Club

USASA also recognizes and supports those Junior Members who balance academic achievement with achievements in Junior Handling and Performance events.

Awards are given to Juniors who maintain at least a B/3.000 average or higher for each grading period for the year and receive a minimum of 100 Junior Handling Points and/ or receive a minimum of 10 Titled Performance Points during the year.

Refer to the Junior Program Companion guide for more information.

Supporting the Juniors Program

The Juniors Program could not be successful without the support of the people who donate not only their time but their talents and generosity. We have many very generous members who donate incredible auction items as well as monetary contributions. All proceeds from the annual auction at the USASA National Specialty Banquet are used to help pay for the Junior Program awards. USASA makes additional contributions.

The United States Australian Shepherd Foundation also provides a Scholarship Program for Juniors. Visit the Foundation’s website (https://www.usasfoundation.org/) for more information.

The USASA Juniors Program is for you! … Juniors who own, love and compete with Australian Shepherds in AKC sanctioned shows and trials.

In the USASA JUNIORS PROGRAM OVERVIEW section we summarize the goals and rewards of our Program. This is a great Program, so make sure you read this section and understand everything it has to offer. Refer to the Junior Program Companion guide for more details.

If you are not already a USASA Junior Member, please contact us today on how to join!

The Juniors Program holds its annual junior meeting and seminar each year in conjunction with the USASA National Specialty. We encourage all junior handlers to attend as it is an educational event as well as a hands-on handling seminar. It’s also a great time to get together and meet each other and share your experiences, ideas and stories. The annual Banquet is a great time and tickets are discounted for USASA Junior Members.

After working hard all year with your Australian Shepherd in conformation or performance events, you will be rewarded with some great prizes if you meet the qualification rules. Over the years we have awarded prizes such as grooming tables, force-air dryers, ringside grooming bags, tack boxes, iPods, camcorders and jackets just to name a few … and we always have great rosettes. We reward those who also keep their grade point average above a 3.0 through our Optimum Club.

If you are a Junior Member, reach out to other juniors handling Aussies at AKC shows or trials. Introduce yourself and let them know about the Juniors Program and what it has to offer.

Be a role model and encourage your fellow handlers!

Make sure you join/like the USASA Junior Facebook page.  This is a great way to meet other juniors, post brags, ask questions or get the latest news.  If you haven’t “liked” our page, do so now and stay in touch!

Following Are Some Important Links:

To connect with a Junior Committee Member:

All questions related to USASA Juniors Committee, Awards, and Programming may be directed to:
Ben Swanson
USASA Juniors Committee Chair and Performance Coordinator
2980 Hunley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

USASA Junior Committee Field Representative:
Hayden Hadley
Junior Committee Member
7133 Steer Lane
Crowley, TX 76036

Board of Directors Contact Liaison:
Yvette LeBlanc

Please direct all general inquiries to Ben Swanson at:


United States Australian Shepherd Association