Professional Handlers' Association, Inc. 


General Information


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What is the PHA?

The Professional Handlers' Association is an organization of interested handlers dedicated to the purpose of representing handlers and to the betterment of dog activities throughout the country. We attempt to maintain and improve good working relationships between handlers and their clients and between handlers and the American Kennel Club.

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How is the PHA governed?

The Professional Handlers Association ia a membership organized with a Constitution and By-Laws that fully delineate the powers, privileges and benefits of its members. Each member in good standing is able to vote for the election of the Board of Govenors who are, in turn, responsible to the members.

The policy of the Association is set by the Board of Govenors and implemented by the Officers. The Association has committees and zone representatives who perform various functions required of the Association.

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What does the Association do?

The Professional Handlers' Association is the most active handler's association in existence. Among other things -

    the PHA members throughout the entire United States; the PHA members in all important matters with the American Kennel Club; the PHA members at all dog shows and functions regarding show dogs.
    a central office where PHA members and dog fanciers may write for assistance and information.
    a newsletter following each meeting which contains current news and interest to all members.
    a list of PHA members throughout the country who are available to the dog fancy in their area and a brochure explaining the Rules Applying to Membership.
    open forums, seminars, lectures, and sponsor club functions; we have zone meetings throughout the country so that you can meet members and discuss any and all problems.
    to the betterment of the dog name for everyone. We offer our services and help to every dog club in the United States. We will help judge matches, give talks at local meetings, set up grooming areas, organize parking and any other service that will help the entire dog game to be a better and more enjoyable sport for everyone.
    membership in an association that is a fully organized group of professional dog people having over sixty years experience in offering service to the dog world in the true sense of the word.

An association that has by word, deed and action earned the respect that it has held for many years, not only in this country, but throughout the world wherever dog people assemble.

Membership in the PHA conveys to the dog-owning public an immediate stamp of professionalism, integrity and confidence that they are not engaging just an individual for service, but an individual backed by an association. They know that the Association will do all in its power to see that members adhere to the Code of Ethics of Membership. If not, the Association will act to correct the situation and protect the client from misconduct.

The current benefits of prestige, protection and the prospect of other future advantages offered to you as a member of a large group will be realized more and more with each passing year.

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What are the benefits of membership?

every member of the Professional Handlers' Association in good standing is entitled to all benefits, privileges and services of the Association.

All members in good standing may vote for the Board of Govenors.

All members are provided and authorized to display the PHA decal on their crates and wear the PHA pin.

All members are covered by a life insurance policy.

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What are the requirements for membership?

  1. An applicant must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age and in good standing with the American Kennel Club.
  2. An applicant must have ten (10) years active involvement with show dogs and must have handled professionally for five (5) years.
  3. Any person interested in joining the PHA must have three (3) written letters of recommendation for membership from three (3) members in good standing with the PHA. Recommendations do not have to be from the same zone, but may not come from the same household.
  4. An applicant shall file a LETTER OF INTENT (furnished by the Secretary and/or Executive Vice-President of the PHA) and submit the LETTER OF INTENT with the required fee, which is non-refundable. The LETTER OF INTENT will remain on file for one (1) year to permit observations and comments by PHA members and/or other interested parties. This LETTER OF INTENT will only be valid for two (2) years from the date of receipt by the PHA.
  5. When the LETTER OF INTENT is received by the Secretary and/or Executive Vice-Presindent, the applicant will be contacted by a Zone Representative for inspection of kennel facilities. Kennel inspection will be done by appointment and is done to determine whether the kennel facility of the applicant conforms to PHA requirements.
  6. During the period of time that the LETTER OF INTENT is on file with the Secretary and/or Executive Vice-President of the PHA, it will be necessary for the applicant to contact, either by telephone or in person, the Zone Govenor and arrange to meet in person with at least four (4) Zone Representatives for the purpose of evaluation. The Zone Representatives will send a personal evaluation of the applicant to the Secretary and/or Executive Vice-President.
  7. One (1) year after receipt of the LETTER OF INTENT and all other pertinent information is received along with the completed kennel inspection, the individual seeking membership will be advised regarding the forwarding of an Application for Membership.
  8. Initiation fees, as prescribed by the Board of Govenors, are to be submitted with the application and will be refunded if the membership is denied. DUES ARE PAYABLE AFTER NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE.
  9. The LETTER OF INTENT and APPLICATION must have all questions answered with all forms and photos requested included when filed with the Association.

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What are the Kennel Facility Requirements?

  1. A kennel is an area used exclusively for housing, conditioning, and caring for dogs. This are shall provide for a safe and sanitary environment with proper facilities for bathing, grooming and cleanup. It shall have electricity, running water, and floors of an impervious material. The kennel should provide adequate climate control and ventilation, bearing in mind the geographic location of the facility.
  2. The kennel shall consist of enough permanent outside runs and inside pens to adequately accommodate the number of dogs the handler houses. The runs should be large enough to provide adequate exercise with fencing that is fixed and of substantial strength to prevent escape. The indoor pens should be of a (minimum) size in which a dog can stand up and lie down without touching the sides or top of the pens.
  3. Cages carried in a vehicle to shows and returned to a "kennel space" do not constitute a kennel. Cages left in a vehicle do not constitute a kennel.
  4. Adequate facilities for twenty-four (24) hours a day living must be on the kennel property to provide supervision of the kennel.
  5. Inspection will take place immediately upon any change of address.
  6. Transportation (kennel on the road) must be a vehicle adequate for the safe, comfortable ad humane transportation of the dogs a handler is showing.

LEASING OF OUTSIDE KENNEL FACILITIES TO MERELY SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PHA MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED PROPER KENNEL FACILITIES BY THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS. Each leased facility will be inspected and approved on an individual basis only if the leased kennel space or facility meets PHA requirements. The leased facility must be used on a full-time basis in accordance with the terms of the lease agreement by the member and no other facilities may be used.

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What is PHA's Code of Ethics?

EVERYONE accepted into membership of the PHA agrees in writing to be governed by the following RULES:

  1. I will familiarize myself with the Code of Ethics and regulations of the PHA and AKC. I will abide by these Code of Ethics and protect the image of the PHA to the utmost of my ability.
  2. I will not accept dogs from any other members' clients until that member has been apprised of the situation.
  3. I will conduct myself in a professional manner at all times. I will be courteous and sportsmanlike whenever showing dogs no matter what the outcome might be. I will not, in any manner or action, publicly belittle or berate any judge for their decision.
  4. I will not maliciously criticize or discuss the abilities or ineptitude of my fellow handlers nor the quality of dogs he/she may be showing.
  5. I will deal with my clients in a professional, business-like and moral manner. I will advise them of all show results via tear sheets, when available, and tender to them within a reasonable period, all ribbons and trophies won.
  6. I will dedicate myself to strive continuously to improve my knowledge and skill in the practice of my profession for the benefit of those who employ me and to properly maintain adequate and sufficient equipment to perform my duties. I will properly care for the dogs entrusted to me.
  7. As a member of the PHA, I agree to maintain a high level of professional ethics and to fully support the purpose, intent and rules of the Association. I fully comprehend that it is this exceptionally high level of ethics that sets me apart from non-members and pledge to conduct myself in a manner which commands respect for myself and the Association.
  8. I am advised by the Association to enter into a written agreement with all clients, which will describe all areas of responsibility both on my part and theirs. I will provide a list of fees for my services, which are fair and just and shall be commensurate with the services rendered. An itemized bill will be rendered on a regular basis.
    I understand that if I choose not to enter into a written agreement with my clients, I cannot ask the Board to settle disputes.
  9. I willingly agree to be subject to Zone and/or Board hearings, arbitrations and judgments should I not comply with these rules. I will fully accept the decision of such hearings without rebuttal.
  10. As a member of PHA, I agree to wear the emblem of the Association at dog shows and dog-related activities.

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How do I join?

To become a member of this active and dedicated association, provided you meet the Requirements for Membership, send your letter requesting a LETTER OF INTENT along with three (3) letters of recommendation from three active members in good standing to:


17017 Norbrook Drive

Onley, MAryland 20832

Telephone Number for the PHA is 301-924-0089

(The PROFESSIONAL HANDLERS' ASSOCIATION, INC., while striving to maintain among its members the highest standards of conduct in the handling of dogs in all aspects, is not responsible in any way for the individual acts of its members.)

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