Since the mid-to-late 1980s I read and re-read all the very early material, bought all the Dexter books available, picked the brains of Dexter heavyweights of various and conflicting persuasions across the globe, scoured the herdbooks of various nationalities, I see Dexter pedigrees and family trees in my head when I close my eyes at night.
The stuff that I read over the years was all the same wonderful, romantic, hypothetical and anecdotal stories that everybody else with severe Dexteritis has read. What I don’t get is how come some people can read exactly the same sources, exactly the same “possibilities” and “probabilities”, then impose their own version of truth on those stories, rather than accepting the mystery that is actually written in early documents.
The authors of the old documents do not claim to know exactly when and how the Dexter came to be. Some suggest the truth might be such-and-such a story. Others say the truth is believed to be some other story … or perhaps it could possibly be yet another totally different story. The history of the Dexter has evolved out of the mists of time, yet now, 150 years or so later, we have “experts” declaring that their own private interpretation of the earlier documents is absolute gospel.
The authors of the old documents describe short dumpy cattle. They do not claim that the animal must carry a dwarf gene to make them short and dumpy.
What I don’t get is how come some Dexter breeders want to take “breed” out of the Dexter herd.
Some say that if two dwarf Dexters produce a non-dwarf calf, then that calf is not a Dexter, because they believe that only the dwarf is a real Dexter.
I can only relate to that concept when I use the palomino horse as an analogy. Two palominos can produce a palomino, or they can produce a chestnut foal, or they can produce a cremello foal. The chestnut or cremello foals are not considered to be palomino. That is because palomino is a colour, not a breed. If all offspring from palomino to palomino matings were considered to be palomino, then the palomino would be called a breed.
Only if all offspring from two Dexters are called Dexter can Dexter be called a breed. If two dwarf Dexters have a non-dwarf calf and that calf is then not considered by its breeders to be Dexter, then those breeders cannot realistically consider their Dexters to be a breed.
To each his own, that’s their business. The gene pool is kept healthier by the variation within human preference. I see short dumpy cattle in our paddocks, as described by the early authors. I do not see written anywhere that those cattle have to have a dwarf gene to make them short and dumpy.
It would be so much friendlier if early documents could be valued for what they are, ie intriguing hypothetical, fable and fantasy, great stuff, not to have hard and fast rules, and stultifying criteria, read into them where there are none!