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Accolades for Diego Garcia – AKC RHP Handler of the Year

L/R: AKC Vice President, Judging Operations, Tim Thomas, Mark Desrosiers, Diego Garcia, Mary Dukes, Larry Cornelius

L/R: AKC Vice President, Judging Operations, Tim Thomas, Mark Desrosiers, Diego Garcia, Mary Dukes, Larry Cornelius

“It’s not the will to win that matters. Everyone has that.
It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” —Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant


Diego Garcia was actually born into the dog world in his native country of Argentina, as his parents were Boxer breeders long before he came along. As a young boy, his passion was to enter the show ring himself. He dreamed about it, reading dog magazines every night. His favorite was the BOXER REVIEW.

By age 12, Diego secured his first client who allowed him to show their beautiful Boxer bitch. He fondly recalls his mother taking him shopping for a new pair of shoes to wear for the dog show.

When Judge Betty Leininger traveled to Argentina to judge a Boxer Specialty, she observed the talents of the then 19-year-old Diego in the ring and was quite impressed. After the show, she asked Diego if she could speak with his father. The young man’s world was about to change.

Mr. Garcia secured a ticket to the United States for Diego to begin working for Michael Shephard in Texas. After spending six months there, he dreamed that one day America would become his home.

At age 27, with only a suitcase, Diego returned to the United States. He had the “will!

Now he was ready to “prepare.” The handlers’ methods of showing in Argentina and in our country were quite different. Here, we run slower and use more gentle techniques in handling our dogs. Diego had to slow down, change his posture, and basically rethink his handling techniques.

Diego shared with me, “I remember when I was in the same ring with James Moses, he kept talking to his dog and that was very impressive! I wanted to be one who would show with passion and dignity and good sportsmanship.

Diego Garcia
Always smiling Diego and Eve Garcia

America is truly the land of opportunity, and United States Citizen Diego Garcia is proof that here dreams come true! He is now recognized as one of the top Professional Handlers in this country. His handsome looks, big smile, and charming personality have afforded Diego and his beautiful wife, Eve, a world of new friends, success, and a new hometown in Lillington, North Carolina.

Congratulations to Diego Garcia for being selected as the AKC Registered Handlers Program’s Handler of the Year for 2022. He was presented the award by American Kennel Club Vice President, Judging Operations, Timothy Thomas during the AKC National Championship Show in Orlando, Florida. Other members of the team present were AKC Field Coordinators Larry Cornelius, Mark Desrosiers, and Mary Dukes.


Members of the AKC RHP include:

  • Jason W. Bailey
  • Elizabeth Barrett
  • Doug G. Belter
  • Adam Bernardin
  • Katie Berndardin
  • Kerry M. Boyd
  • Robert R. C. Carusi
  • Paul D. Catterson
  • Marianne “Tuni” Conti
  • Geoff S. Dawson
  • James R. Dickson
  • Kaki Fisher
  • Robert A. Fisher
  • Lisa M. Gallizzo
  • Diego F. Garcia
  • Sara J. Gregware
  • Deanna “Dee” B. Hanna
  • Stephanie J. Hentschel
  • Shane A. Hooper
  • Lydia Hovanski
  • Erin H. Karst
  • Ania G. Kelly
  • Laura L. King
  • Tara Krieger Hartman
  • Peter S. Kubacz
  • Ernesto Lara
  • Angelo L. Lloyd
  • Karen M. Mammano
  • Lisa A. Miller
  • Kathryn A. Mines
  • Roslyn Mintz-Fosco
  • Elizabeth Leesa A. Molina
  • Lori A. Mowery
  • Frank J. Murphy
  • Patricia Murray
  • Dave Musto
  • Kathy Musto
  • Mary Norton-Augustus
  • Kimberly A. Pastella-Calvacca
  • A. Clark Pennypacker
  • Matthew S. Perchick
  • Sarah Perchick
  • Adam Peterson
  • Madeline Peterson
  • Bekki L. Pina
  • Gabriel Rangel
  • Ivonne Rangel
  • Annmarie C. Ruggieri
  • Lori G. Sargent LVT
  • Celso Schneider
  • Tara J. Schultz
  • Dave A. Slattum
  • Valerie A. Stanert
  • Clifford W. Steele
  • Hiram T. Stewart
  • Greg O. Strong
  • Debbie Struff
  • Christina Ulberg
  • Meagan A. Ulfers
  • Alissa A. Welling
  • Linda M. Whitney
  • Kellie Williams
  • Linda Williams

For more information about the AKC RHP, contact: [email protected], 919-816-3884