Interview with Marie Markovich, Breeder of Markos Collies
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What is your breed? What is your kennel name? Do you have a website? How long have you been in dogs? How long have you been breeding dogs? Who are some of your best-known dogs?
Marie Markovich: I fell in love with Collies watching Lassie on TV. While living in San Diego in the mid-1970s, I spent one year reading the AKC Breed Standard daily, and books on history, breeding, grooming and showing. Confidence came after sitting ringside with the Standard at Collie specialties, and picking most often the same winners as the judge picked. Specialties had hugh entries then.
Next, I approached a well-known Collie breeder-judge, Mrs. Ross Durham, about leasing one of her champion girls, MBISS CH Rosslane Amelia, for a litter. She asked, “Who are you and why and who would you breed her to?” After her long drill, telling her my desire to breed quality by the Standard with form and function to win the Herding Group, she agreed. Three pups were born. I whelped and kept two, moving them back to my hometown of Tacoma, Washington. Both of them finished quickly, and that started Markos Collies.
Two of my best-known dogs are Am. Can. CH MARKOS California Dreamer and CH MARKOS A Star Is Born. CH Markos California Dreamer was the foundation of now over 100-plus Champions here and in multiple countries, including three CCA National AOMs. Also, numerous Group Winners, MBISS, Top 10, Westminster Winner, AKC Puppies of Achievement, Select CCA National, and two dogs ranked No. 1: 1999 MBISS Am./Int. CH Markos Locklaren Encore (Rough) and 2023 MBIS MBRIS MBISS GCHG Markos Top Gun (Smooth).
I’ve also been CCA Breeder of the Year. I usually breed one litter a year. “Quality not Quantity” has always been my motto.
As a Breeder, can you share your thoughts on your breed today? Is breed type strong? Are there things to be concerned about? Are there any health-related issues? Have you worked with breeders overseas? Are pet homes typically available for your breed?
Marie Markovich: Today, I don’t see the consistent, standard breed type. I see less substance in bone and structure. Also, too many straight fronts, which is not conducive for the Group ring, requiring form and function, and smooth reach and drive. I have worked with a number of foreign breeders from Japan, who put on amazing shows, to Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and the Philippines. I enjoy placing a potential show puppy in a good family home with children, sharing 4-H, Junior Handling, etc. These are the future Collie owners and I have had many of those children contact me after marriage and children to have Collies for themselves and their children to grow up with, as Collies are perfect guardians of children.
As an Exhibitor, can you comment on recent entries in your breed? Are majors available in your area? Does your breed often participate in Companion and Performance events? How can newcomers in your breed be encouraged to join the sport of dogs?
Marie Markovich: There are more majors from fall through winter/early spring when more dogs are in full coat. Now there are many performance venues where Collies love competing, including Fast CAT.
What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole and how can we address them? And finally, what are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in your breed and in the dog show community as a whole over the past decade?
Marie Markovich: The biggest challenge today for newbies, I’m told, is the cost of our sport. The positive is for the all-breed clubs to do what our all-breed cluster does. We have Pee Wee events, where the kids are not old enough for Junior Showmanship but they compete under a volunteer judge. Then, we have a party for them afterwards. They and our Juniors look forward to this each year, as we encourage our future show participants. Everyone wins.