SANDRA KATZEN has competed in the sport of dog agility since 1990 and founded Vortex Agility in 2001. She was one of the four co-founders of the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) in 1993, and served as its Vice President from
1993 to 1997. She has also served as Chairperson of the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) Agility Committee from 1991 to 1997, and has served as President, Vice President, and Secretary for the ASCA-WA Affiliate.

Sandra has been a certified judge with the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) since 1992 and judged for the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) from 1993 to 2009. She is a judge and course reviewer for ASCA and a judge for UK Agility International (UKI). She was asked to be the judge at the very first national championships of the Australian Dog Agility Council, held in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, in 2002. In 2003 she was invited to return to judge the championships in Australia and teach a series of workshops. She has also taught seminars in Hawaii and, in May of 2013, traveled to Geet, Belgium to judge an ASCA trial and teach seminars.

Sandra is also active in the sport of sheepdog trialing, and has in the past competed in obedience and disk dog competitions.


KODI the Australian Shepherd was Sandra’s first agility dog. Kodi was a, let’s say “spirited” dog, and after many trials and tribulations (and after being told to give it all up more than once!) Sandra and Kodi came together as a team, and won the 20-inch Elite division in the 1996 NADAC Championships. Kodi was the 7th dog to earn a NATCH (NADAC’s championship title), the first dog to earn an ATCH (championship title in ASCA), and earned an ADCH (championship title in USDAA). She also earned herding and obedience titles in ASCA.
NIFTY was a fun-loving border collie who earned championship
titles in USDAA and NADAC. Although he was not as driven as Kodi (few dogs were), he was an especially honest dog — he did exactly what he was told to do — so taught Sandra much about commitment in handling. A career highlight: Nifty competed in a number of trials with a “guest handler” who was not mobile enough to run the course, so used an electric cart. Nifty was up to the task (few dogs were).
TREK, Sandra’s red tri border collie, was one of those few dogs as driven as Kodi. She was famous for her bowing, sprinter-in-the-start-blocks stance at the start line and for her relentless quest for perfection, both in her own performance and that of her handler. She earned championship titles in USDAA, NADAC, and ASCA, and won first place in her class at  Northwest Regional of USDAA, one year in the regular division and the next year as a veteran.

ZEPHYR the border collie, who Sandra took in to place with someone else, somehow ended up as part of the household. He has earned championship titles in USDAA and NADAC, and also competes in ASCA, CPE, and UKI. His career high point was at the 2012 CPE Nationals, where he placed 1st in his division in Regular and 6th overall in Games, running with Sandra’s housemate Gordon Frazier, who had by then been upgraded from “guest handler” to official owner.

LARK the border collie is Sandra’s current go-to agility dog, who has had her own set of trials and tribulations — in her case an issue with sound sensitivity. Lark developed a fear of certain loud noises, including whistles, that understandably affected her agility performance. But with time and patience Sandra worked through the problem, and Lark now competes at the top of her class — even in Snooker!

PIXI is currently taking a hiatus from agility competition as she and Sandra work toward being a consistent team on the agility course. But Pixi is kept busy training and competing as a sheepdog, an arena in which she and Sandra are on solid ground.

CIOBAIR, daughter of Pixi, is the newest member of Sandra’s pack. She began her formal agility training in February 2013 and is taking to it quite nicely. Also, she is cute as a button.


Sandra and her dogs

Sandra and Pixi running an ASCA Jumpers course.