Celena and Dallas Quinney of Quinney’s Boxers are located in South Texas where their family has been breeding and competing with Boxers since 2011. It is a family endeavor and their children, William, Todd, and Charlotte, are invaluable to their breeding program as they spend countless hours in the whelping box and socializing puppies. At shows you will find them visiting with other exhibitors ringside and offering a helping hand when needed. Charlotte has begun showing in Juniors, and Celena and Dallas are excited to see where her journey takes her. Their goal in breeding is to produce correct Boxers that are able to compete in multiple disciplines while still being cherished family members.
AKC: How did you get started in breeding dogs?
Celena: Working with dogs and breeding isn’t so much what I do as who I am. My path as a breeder began as a child growing up in a large family that had a plethora of animals, mainly dogs, cats, and horses, with a few other species thrown in here and there. It’s hard to pick one thing that has determined the course of your life, but I guess I would have to say the defining moment that turned my passion for animals towards AKC conformation breeding and showing was when I discovered an AKC Complete Breed Guide in the library when I was around 11 years old. It introduced me to the world of dog shows, sports and breed standards, and my understanding and vision with regard to dogs has never been the same.
I fell in love with the working group, in particular Boxers and Rottweilers. The seed to breed and show my own dogs was planted then, but it wasn’t until I was an adult and quit my job to stay home to raise my children that it was able to grow and blossom. Even then, my becoming a breeder and exhibitor might not have been realized if it hadn’t been for my husband, Dallas. He encouraged me to go after that dream, supported me along the way and has always believed that I would succeed.
AKC: What is the most important thing to know about your breed?
Celena: First, they crave affection and love their humans most of all. Hence, they need to be included in family life. Second, while Boxers are people-oriented, and normally patient and gentle with children, they are also typically higher energy until around 2 years of age; a family needs to be prepared to accommodate that through proper training and exercise.
AKC: What is your favorite question to ask of potential puppy buyers?
Celena: What drew you to a Boxer and what is your vision for your relationship with your new puppy?
AKC: What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?
Celena: I look for owners who want their dog to be a member of their family – not just an animal in the back yard or a show ring bauble. It is also very important for me that potential owners appreciate that I will have a vested interest in their puppy for their entire life and be willing to listen to advice that I give them.
AKC: What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?
Celena: Learn your breed standard backwards and forwards. You cannot possibly breed a correct dog if you don’t know what that is. Don’t expect that information to magically come to you. You have to go out and find it. Research is your greatest friend. Read everything you can get your hands on: your breed standard, internet articles, interviews, books, scientific papers, etc. Learn proper anatomy and structure terminology so you understand what you are reading, seeing, and being taught. Study correct illustrations and pictures until your eye is naturally drawn to what is correct. Use the show ring as a learning tool as well as a social outing. Watch the pros and how they handle. Listen to the experienced breeders in your breed. Lastly, be humble. None of us will ever know it all and should always have a teachable spirit.
AKC: Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?
Celena: Our primary focus is the AKC conformation ring. Conformation shows were originally designed to evaluate breeding stock and that is how we look at them still. Our goal is to prove our breeding program via the ring. Many of the puppies that we have bred have gone on to compete in other AKC venues with their owners, including agility, rally, Fast CAT, coursing and scent work.
AKC: What do you like best about breeding dogs?
Celena: My favorite thing about breeding is taking a dog that I bred and showing it to its championship myself. There is just something special about it when you envision the breeding, put the work in to make it happen, have that puppy born into your hands, raise and train it, and then take it into the ring and win together!
AKC: Do you have a favorite breeding story?
Celena: My favorite breeding story would have to be my very first whelping experience. As I mentioned earlier, I grew up with many animals and my passion for breeding began there. At 12 years old I had my very first dog that was all “mine.” She was just a farm Collie and was going to have a litter of puppies. I was extremely excited and very nervous! I wanted to be involved, to make sure everything went well and that none of my puppies died. I had no idea what to do to ensure that result, though, so off to the library I went (no internet back then).
I read everything I could find on whelping puppies and determined that I would whelp them myself. Of course, she had other plans and when the time came for her to whelp, she went into the crawl space under the house despite all my preparations. So, being 12, I just crawled under the house with her and took my book, towels and scissors with me. God was gracious and spared me a traumatic experience. Everything went beautifully, and my girl delivered eight puppies naturally with no help needed from me. She was a sweet, patient dog and allowed me to open sacks, dry puppies and cut the cords on all of her babies. It was an experience that has stayed with me my whole life.