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Buddies Breeder – Tina Quest

In this blog, we chat to South Devon based, Buddies breeder, Tina Quest. Tina and her husband originally bred German Shepherds, but have now been breeding Tibetan Spaniels for 21 years. We asked Tina a few questions to find out more about this fabulous breed.

Why this breed?

‘Where to start? There are so many reasons to own a ‘Tibbie’.

They are a very affectionate, people friendly breed, totally devoted to their families and people they call friends. They look appealing, not too big (so you can have more!) but they are very ‘big dog like’. By that, I mean no one has ever told them that they are a small dog, and they have a BIG personality.

Tibbies are very intelligent. They don’t believe in ‘slavish devotion’, in fact, we humans are put on this earth to serve. I like the fact that they are independent by nature, they are not silly or scatty, but sensible, thoughtful dogs. They are never happier than with their owners. They don’t care if you want to go on a 12-mile hike, or spend the day on the sofa, so long as they are with you. Tibbies are friendly and tolerant towards children and other animals, although they can, and do bark at bigger dogs – they have absolutely no fear.’

What is the best thing about the breed?

‘Their gorgeous temperament and their intelligent minds. I love the fact that they think for themselves and make their own amusement. A friend, who has one of my puppies, made me smile when she sent me a message saying that ‘she had planted a planter full of spring flowers, only to discover later the same day that her puppy had dug out all the plants and replaced them with one of her slippers and a pigs ear!’. That just sums up typical Tibbie mischievous behaviour! They are very aware of their owner’s mood and seem to know if you are feeling unwell or just a bit ‘down’ and are then extra affectionate. You can’t help but smile with a Tibbie around.’

What is the worst thing about the breed?

‘Tibbies were originally bred as watchdogs, and they are inclined to bark if there is something they think you should know. They make great housedogs, but the barking can be irritating when you are trying to have a quiet moment. Oh, and the constant moulting that seems to go on all year round. We call Tibbie hair ‘The Third Condiment’ – salt, pepper and a dog hair, as there always seems to be some in whatever we are eating! Tibbie owners joke saying food just doesn’t taste the same without a dog hair in it. But these are small prices to pay for the honour of owning these very special dogs.’

What is the best thing about being a breeder?

‘I absolutely love being a breeder. To see new life come into the world makes me feel humble. Mother nature is a great creator. Tibbie bitches make excellent mothers, very natural and confident even with their first birth.

The sound of tiny pups suckling is my favourite sound in the whole world. I adore puppies and there’s nowhere I’m happier than sat in a puppy pen, with a litter of pups. I also love the joy that I see on new owners faces when they collect their new baby. Although I’m always sad to see them go, I know that each one will bring so much happiness to their new families.’

What is the worst thing about being a breeder?

The lack of sleep in the first two weeks. My husband and I sleep in shifts so that one of us is with the Mum and pups 24/7 for the first two weeks, so it’s a bit like having a newborn human baby, we are always tired. But that soon passes, and we have found over the years that the bitches are much more relaxed knowing we are right there with them.’

How many litters do you have each year?

‘Tibbies tend to come in season every 9-12 months, so as breeders we don’t get as many opportunities for litters as other breeds. Some years we have only have one litter, others three. Average litter size for the breed is four pups, but often there is only one, so Tibbies are not easy to come by. According to Kennel Club registrations, there are only around 150 Tibetan Spaniel puppies born in the whole of the UK annually.’

If you could have any other breed, what would it be?

‘I’ve always admired Tibetan Mastiffs, but I am too old now to cope with a large dog’s needs. Imagine having to bath and dry a Tibetan Mastiff? When I was young I had two Afghan Hounds, another oriental breed. I absolutely love the breed, but again Afgan Hounds are not for the faint-hearted, coat care is a real labour of love.’

How long have you been with Buddies?

‘I’m new to Buddies, but I like the way the company listens to breeders, and I look forward to working with such a forward-thinking company.’

Tell us about your achievements.

‘My kennel name is Chenrezi, a Tibetan name for Buddha. Chenrezi Tibetan Spaniels are well known in the dog show world. We have bred four UK champions, and two European champions. We were the Tibetan Spaniel Association’s top breeders in 2015 & 2016.

In 2017, our breeder team of four bitches were Reserve in the final of the Eukanuba Breeders Competition at Crufts, from ALL breeds. An achievement never before or since repeated in our breed.

We exhibit our Tibbies all over the UK and in Europe and won the BENELUX title at the World Dog Show last year, in Amsterdam.

We currently have 15 Tibetan Spaniels living here with us, family pets first and foremost and much-loved members of our family. Our retired show or breeding dogs are never rehomed, as is the practice in some breeding establishments. We love our oldies just as much as our latest superstars. This January we were granted a five-star breeders licence, inspectors said we were ‘outstanding’ which made me very happy.’

Here at Buddies, we love chatting to our breeders and learning about their love for their breed. If you would like to feature your breed, email us at Hello@Buddies.co.uk.

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