Held on the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells on Saturday February 29th 2020.

Welsh Junior Handler of the Year have seen many young handlers go forth to huge successes, and today was no exception. It is gifted with generous sponsorship from Myatoks Rosettes, Agria Pet Insurance, Lilly Kitchen, Sweetpee UK, JR Pet Products, Fish 4 Dogs, Carlita Secrets and Our Dogs and its organising team wish to thank them for this generosity.


Min Witheyman

I have been handling competitively from the age of 6 although I shows first dog at the age of 3. I have handled dogs from every group, but my main breeds are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen.

I won my handling class at Crufts twice in 2011 and 2016, in 2018 I got shortlisted to the semi-final of the junior handling at the World dog show in Amsterdam. I have been in the UK Junior Handler Of The Year finals four times, twice with a SCWT where I placed 6th and 4th, once with a Rottweiler where I came 4th and once with a PBGV where I won in 2018.

At Crufts 2019 I represented the UK in the International Junior Handling competition where I chose a Pointer and got shortlisted to the top 10 under judge Jason Hoke from the USA. In 2019, I mainly focused on breed showing my SCWT puppy to win 2 RCCs and 1 CC as well as a championship show puppy group 1 and 4 and 2 open show BPIS and 2 RBPIS awards. I also handled Our Dogs top Wheaten terrier puppy 2019.

I have just returned from Canada and America where I assisted a professional dog handler. Whilst I was abroad, I won winners dog and bitch at the SCWT Florida Speciality Show as well as making up a puppy Samoyed.

6 TO 11 Years Winners

Was won by eight-year-old Elen Hewitt from Llanwit Major handling her Jack Russell.

2nd was six-year-old Darcie Hewitt from Llanwit Major handling a German spitz

3rd was nine-year-old Regan Webb from Coytrahen handling a Belgian shepherd

12 – 16 Years Winners

Was won by thirteen-year-old Leonie Watthey from Gwynedd handling a cocker spaniel

2nd was fifteen-year-old Bunny Mathias from Ceredigion handling a Lakeland terrier

17 – 24 Years Winners

Was won by twenty three-year-old Melissa Rout from Bridgend handling a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

2nd was twenty-year-old Lyndsey Jones Flintshire handling a Japanese spitz

3rd was eighteen-year-old Alice May Hocking Denbighire handling a great dane

4th was twenty one year old Brenda Jenkins from Rhondda Cynon Taff handling a Jack Russell terrier.

Overall Title Holder Interview with Melissa Rout

Melissa Rout has taken the title for the third time in her handling career. Melissa has been handling show dogs since she was nine years old, mainly Cavalier King Charles Spaniels but also Kooikerhondje.

Melissa was runner up UK Handler of the year in 2013 handling homebred CKCS ‘Harry’ Tillymist Heez Harry Beau and took Welsh Junior Handler Of The Year in both 2013 and 2014.

Melissa has successfully handled ‘Evie’ Tillymist Sheez A Dream to a Challenge Certificate and made up her Kooikerhondje to Irish Champion, thus creating breed history being the first of its breed to take a group placing in Ireland.

Looking back over the last fourteen years Melissa told Our Dogs that she has had an amazing handling career.

Melissa wishes to say a huge Thank you to Carly Mills-Jones and her organizing team and sponsors for organizing this event which allows the welsh handlers to show off their skills.

Next year’s competition will be on Saturday February 27th 2021, Further details, updated rules and qualifying information, can be obtained on the competition’s website; https://welshjunioroftheyear.com