Interview with Breeder/Owner Handler Mara Flood – Purebred Collie and Australian Cattle Dog Breeds
When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs? To your breed?
In the late 1980s, my older sisters were active breeder/owner-handlers. My first AKC champion, in 1994, was an Australian Cattle Dog.
My first Collie was acquired from Canada in 2010.
How many years in dogs? How many as an Owner Handler?
I have been involved in competitive horses and dog sports since I was 12 years old, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that I became solely dedicated to AKC Conformation dog sports.
I have been an Owner Handler for 20-plus years and a breeder for 12-plus years.
Do you attend show handling classes? Have you attended any handling seminars?
Yes, I attend handling classes as often as our show schedule allows. My daughter and I have attended several handling seminars. They were invaluable to us both, especially to my daughter—a new Junior Handler.
Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? Are rankings important to you?
I do not compete in NOHS.
How important is the Bred-By Class to you? How important are specialties?
Both are VERY important to me.
Who have been your mentor(s) as an Owner Handler? As a Breeder?
My sisters, Debra Corr of DJs Chinese Shar-Pei and Zaneta Pronsky of A Storm Alaskan Malamutes, have been my mentors as an Owner Handler and a Breeder. In my breed, both Rose Robischon of Galatean Collies and Candace Ardizzone of Travler Collies have been mentors.
How important is the Breeder/Bred-By Class to the future of the dog sport?
The Breeder is very important. I would like to see more Bred-By Groups offered at shows, and more shows offering a Best Bred-By out of all classes, including BOV/BOB.
What are your goals as a Breeder/Owner Handler? Is there a milestone that has eluded you?
My goals are to produce and present the best Collie I can; to keep improving my breeding program; and to continue to learn from other breeders, handlers, and judges alike.