The Breeder/Owner Handler Debra Ferguson

The Breeder/Owner Handler Debra Ferguson

Interview with Breeder/Owner Handler Debra Ferguson

When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs?
Debra Ferguson: I found my first Poodle in a snowbank in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1966. I bought co-ownership of my first registered Poodle two years later. My father wanted to know which end I bought, the eating end or the pooping end. I cried for a week.

How many years in dogs? How many as an Owner Handler? As a Breeder?
Debra Ferguson: I started out as a Junior Handler in Alaska. Had my first litter as a young adult.

Do you attend show handling classes? Have you attended any handling seminars?
Debra Ferguson: I have been attending handling classes since I was a teenager. I am still attending handling classes 50 years later. I’ve attended many handling seminars.

Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media?
Debra Ferguson: Yes… must keep up to date. Virtual learning, however, does not give the opportunity for your teacher to mentor you.

Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? Are rankings important to you?
Debra Ferguson: I have competed in the NOHS, and yes, the ranking is always important.

How important is the Bred-By Class to you? How important are specialities?
Debra Ferguson: I have finished many champions in the Bred-By Class. I have had several SBIS.

Is it a challenge to compete with your breed(s) as a Breeder/Owner Handler?
Debra Ferguson: Of course it is a challenge to compete in any breed, and it is harder for a Breeder/Owner Handler to compete against Handlers because, frankly, Handlers are better trained and they usually train their dogs better than some Owner Handlers. And they have a larger selection to pick from.

Are you intimidated by Professional Handlers? By the Judges?
Debra Ferguson: Professional handlers get to pick from the best of the best, whereas a breeder picks from the brood box. And because handlers can do a better job with a dog, my handler is currently showing my best dog. I am showing the second-best dog. Fortunately for me, both are very good examples of the breed. I won an award of Merit and Bred-By at the AKC National in 2021.

Who has been your mentor(s) as an Owner Handler? As a Breeder?
Debra Ferguson: L’Dyne Brennan, Tim Brazier, Dana Plonkey, Wendell Sammet; some of the greatest names in the Poodle world. I was very lucky.

How important is the Breeder/Owner Handler to the future of the dog sport?
Debra Ferguson: Breeder/Owner Handlers are the lifeblood of