A Spotlight on Junior Handler Alessandra Wagner

At only 15 years old, Alessandra Wagner is already a seasoned participant in the world of dog shows. Hailing from Seward, Nebraska, Wagner has been showing dogs for over ten years, qualifying for the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin five times and winning more than 30 Best Junior Handler Awards through the AKC Junior Showmanship program.

Wagner has held the title of the number one Toy Fox Terrier Junior Handler since 2018. This achievement, she says, “meant a lot to me. It’s taken a ton of hard work and hasn’t been easy.”

Early Success

Wagner’s mother has been showing dogs for nearly 35 years. Wagner herself started showing dogs at the age of four. Participating in both Junior Showmanship and Conformation, she primarily shows her Toy Fox Terrier GRCHS TNT’S Mind Your Own Biscuits RATI CGC TKN, known as “KC.” With Wagner as her handler, KC has earned titles of Grand Champion, Bronze Grand Champion, and Silver Grand Champion.

Photo courtesy of Wagner family
Alessandra Wagner and English Springer Spaniel Echo’s I Ain’t Lyin, known as “Abe”

Wagner has also achieved the National Owner Handler Series (NOHS) bronze and silver levels of recognition with KC. In addition to KC, Wagner co-owns and shows several other dogs, including the Australian Cattle Dog CH Twin Springs Sweet Love of TLC, known as “Zoey,” the young Toy Fox Terrier TNT N TOCUTE’s Till You Can’t, known as “CJ,” and the English Springer Spaniel Echo’s I Ain’t Lyin, known as “Abe.” Wagner has completed Championship titles on seven Toy Fox Terriers to date.

Showing a Unique Breed

As a high school sophomore, Wagner is actively involved in her local 4H group shows and participates in events with her dogs and rabbits. Beyond showing in the breed ring, Wagner and her canine companions engage in Fast CAT, Barn Hunt, Agility, Rally, and Obedience. Conformation remains Wagner’s favorite dog sport due to the friendships she has forged in and out of the ring. “My favorite part of showing dogs is all the amazing bonds I’ve created with the dogs I show and the people I’ve met along the way,” Wagner explains. She receives support from her mom, stepdad, and mentor Sue Sunnenberg, who serves as a grandmother figure in her life.

During her time in the ring, Wagner has been the sole junior handler to exhibit Toy Fox Terriers year-round. Handling a unique breed has helped her stand out, as she is recognized as the young girl who primarily shows Toy Fox Terriers. Wagner considers her proudest moment so far as “going Select Dog at the 2022 Toy Fox Terrier National with my Toy Fox Terrier KC.”

It’s All About Community

Support from adults and peers in the sport has been crucial for Wagner. She emphasizes the tremendous encouragement, coaching, and support she has received not only from her family but also from many other handlers. Wagner finds the guidance, coaching, encouragement, and support from fellow handlers of all ages to be invaluable. “I truly cannot thank all my supporters enough,” she adds.

Photo courtesy of Wagner family
Alessandra Wagner and Toy Fox Terrier “KC”

Before aging out of Junior Showmanship, Wagner aims to inspire more kids and teens, especially with Toy Fox Terriers, to get involved. “I only have three years left in Juniors,” she says, “and I would be more than heartbroken to see no Toy Fox Terrier juniors that show year-round.” Wagner encourages prospective Junior Handlers to get involved and stay committed, even during challenging times or fierce competition. “Stay committed and no matter how many haters there are, don’t listen to them, do you, be you, and stay strong!” she urges.

Considering a future as a professional Handler, Wagner plans to nurture the next generation of exceptional show dogs. In 2022, the first two litters that she co-bred were born. Wagner describes the experience as “very cool” and is proud to continue her family’s breeding program.

– Additional information about the article created by SkzWorldTour.

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A Spotlight on Junior Handler Alessandra Wagner