I am planning on buying my first Dexter heifer this week. She is not registered and I plan on milking her. She is short legged. The owner has not said if she has been tested for Chondrodysplasia carrier. Is this something that I should insist on? If she is a carrier will she have bulldog calves? If she is bred to a non-carrier will she have normal calves? Could someone please explain this to me. I have been reading on the internet, but am still confused. Thank you
Short legged and chondro carrier go together. They mean the same thing. A DNA test is available to tell the borderline cattle apart, but for the most part you can tell. The tall, long legged ones are virtually all non-carriers and the small, short legged ones are almost always crriers.
You will not risk a bulldog calf so long as your heifer is bred to a non-carrier. Ask if she's already bred and if the sire is also short legged. If so, you could be at risk.
I like the looks and demeanor of the short legged ones. I'd have all shorties if it weren't for the bulldog possibility. I try to keep non-carrier cows and my beloved short legged bull. He's my pride and joy.
You'll probably want to breed your new heifer to a long legged non-carrier bull. There's plenty to choose from. The ADCA has a list on it's web site of AI bulls. Or you can probably find a good bull nearby to breed your heifer. Maybe the man you're buying from has a long legged Dexter bull you can use.
Don't take the risk of using a large breed bull over her. She could be injured during breeding or have a calf too large to deliver.
Did you get a look at her grandmother? The milking ability is not apparent in a heifer. You look at her father's mother to see what her udder and teats will be like. Her own mother lends to the milking ability, too, but not as much as the father and his mother.
That wouldn't always apply in the UK (and I think Australia, not totally sure on that one). Herds like Woodmagic (and now others) have bred short non-carriers. Woodmagic's are short, not just small. They are also stocky and beefy which doesn't always come out in the photos. I had the pleasure of visiting Woodmagic just a few weeks ago and meeting Beryl Rutherford for the first time. We too have bred a few short ('ish) non-carriers, but not as stocky yet....ask me again in twenty years time . If it can be achieved you can breed short animals without having a long-leg every other calf, and no chance of bulldogs at all, with good predictability.
In a way it's a shame the word short was ever used to describe a condition because it makes it difficult to describe your animals that are simply short, without having to explain that they aren't carriers.
Every Dexter I own has some Woodmagic in the pedigree. That may explain why all of Brenn's calves turn out to be shorter than their mothers, even the non-carriers. He must carry some tendency other than chondro to make them small.
I suppose that short, non-carrier Dexters could justifiably be called miniature Dexters, since they are smaller versions of the larger Dexters.
Post by kansasdexters on Mar 16, 2009 6:38:33 GMT -5
Take a look at Hiyu Woodlark, her photo is posted on DexterCattle2's front page and in the ADCA Online Pedigree. Woodlark tested as a HN, homozygous normal, non-carrier of Chondrodysplasia. She is 40-inches tall, measured at the hip and she is a very substantial cow with short legs.
I would not describe her as being a "miniature" Dexter. She is 50% Woodmagic breeding and it really shows in the shape of her head and proportions of her body (long, deep, wide body). She turned 15 years old this year.
Like many traits, stature is determined by more than one gene. The chondro gene can affect stature significantly, but its effect is amplified or diminished based on the presence or absence of other "modifier" genes that can also affect bone growth. That's why we see some Chondro-carriers that have an exaggerated dwarf-like appearance and others that are very well proportioned. That's also why we see some chondro non-carriers that are tall and rangy looking and others that are very well proportioned. There is a range of sizes and shapes in both chondro-carriers and in chondro non-carriers.
Remember that the chondro gene is only one gene out of the thousands of genes that influence the outcome of an animal's phenotype.