An introduction to Dr Mike Tempest

Author - Diane Stewart-Ritchie

Happy New Year to all – friends of, fellow exhibitors, Irish Setter enthusiasts, breeders, and generally those who have a keen interest in dogs.

Over the next weeks we will share with you a series of six interesting articles about Genetics. Yes, I hear you say…….Oh how interesting, but it’s hard to grasp with all those technical terms and different formats. Well, yes I agree that it can be rather overwhelming whether you are brand new to this game or a seasoned campaigner. In order to help us all get a decent working knowledge of this chosen subject, I have recruited a very knowledgeable and dear friend.

I have known our author, Dr Mike Tempest for well over 25 years. He shares with us all a deep love for the pedigree dog, whether it be showing, working, obedience or agility. Dogs are Mikes passion.

I would like to share with you a bit about the author of these next works. I do hope you enjoy the series, GRASSROOTS GENETICS, by Dr Mike Tempest which is kindly reproduced here courtesy of and with permission from Show Dogs Ireland.


An introduction to Dr Mike Tempest

Dr Mike Tempest is that rare combination of an animal scientist and a dog breeder (and an exhibitor in partnership with his wife Judi). He graduated from Leeds University in 1966 with an honours degree in Animal Science, and then went on to complete his doctorate on the effect of genotype x nutrition interactions on the growth and body composition of lambs.

Mike then moved to Harper Adams Agricultural College (now Harper Adams University) in Shropshire where he became Head of Animal Production, and later Head of Animal Research. He started a programme of research in sheep production in which ewes lambed every eight months (as opposed to once a year in spring), and which necessitated devising a nutritional regime to support that. He was used by commercial sheep feed manufacturers to speak on ewe nutrition at many sheep farmer meetings the length and breadth of the UK, and presented papers at international scientific conferences, the most notable one being in Alberta (Canada) where he was assessed by conference delegates as the top speaker. He was also part of a US Feed Grains Council development programme in Greece, Syria and Jordan, speaking at a sheep farmers’ conference in Aleppo, and visiting the King of Jordan’s sheep farm near Amman. He also became involved in beef production research, being the first scientist to research the Belgian Blue breed outside of its country of development, and he was invited to Belgium to speak about its own breed! On top of all of this, while he lived in England, he was a breeder of pedigree Charollais and Beltex sheep, achieving what is still the record price for a pen of three Charollais ewe lambs at the breed’s Premier Sale at Stoneleigh.

Mike left Harper Adams to become Technical Director of the Livestock & Meat Commission for Northern Ireland, a role requiring him to give technical support to meat producers, processors and consumers. He also accompanied producers and processors on several study tours to New Zealand (for sheep and beef) and to Argentina and Brazil to investigate their beef breeds and production methods.

Mike started in dogs in 1969 with Afghan Hounds winning up to Reserve CC level in the UK, then with Irish Water Spaniels breeding a dog that won three CCs, but as one judge awarded it two CCs (the second at Crufts) it couldn’t become a champion. However, his main dedication has been to Tibetan Terriers, in which in two partnerships he has owned and/or bred 91 champions worldwide. His main interest is in breeding, which he regards as a challenge to see what different breeding combinations will produce! He has given many talks on genetics to dog clubs, but now concentrates on writing, and wrote a monthly “Breeding Matters” column for Dog World, and is also Breed Note writer for Our Dogs.


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