I had a Dexter owner inquire as to white on Dexters and the rules regarding it. Maybe it is time for an updated discussion and thoughts on this.
White has been in Dexters since foundation. The first standards called for only red or black cattle. One has to assume that duns ( which also appear to have been in the breed since the beginning), especially the light colored duns and animals with white markings beyond the navel line/udder were culled, or not presented at the shows since white was not "permitted".
There have been many, many. cows with white markings. Some quite excessive.
There have been times in history when the numbers in the breed have dropped to levels that raised concern. Had the animals with the white markings been accepted perhaps the breed would have had greater numbers.
It seems to me, with the number of animals showing white, either a spot here or there, or extensive white has increased, and I wonder if the breed, as they did with dun, shouldn't go ahead and recognize white markings in the breed?
The breed was defined in 1890 by the Royal Dublin Society.
Compact Beefy frame 100% Short beefy legs, no long legs Red or Black (tiny bit of white ok) Horns optional
Nothing can change that fact.
Dun has two definitions
1. Genotype 2. Phenotype
Genotypic duns can be very very red Some genotypic duns are very brown
Genotypic red-colored duns were allowed in 1890. Brown colored duns (phenotypically dun), were not allowed.
Any changes made to breed standards away from the 1890 original standard were typically made by mediocre breeders who were unable to follow the original standard.
The worst change to standards was the change allowing "long legs"
The word Dexter meant "short legs". It's a key defining trait. The standard required 100% short beefy legs. A leggy Dexter with long legs isn't really a Dexter. Smart breeders can select toward 100% short beefy legs.
If you want real Dexters, follow the original 1890 Irish Dexter Standard.
No mention of horns in the 1890 Irish Dexter standard, horns were optional. That's how "Harley Poll" (a foundation polled Dexter born in 1894) was registered.
No mention of two different body types associated with the chondrodysplasia dwarfism cartilage disease is found anywhere in the original 1890 Irish Standard. True Dexters breed true for their shortness.
The Royal Dublin Society did publish a paper stating that Chondrodysplasia was an unfortunate malformation disease and that could be eliminated by smart breeders who could cull the disease and select toward true Dexters that breed true for their shortness.
It was not-so-smart breeders in modern breed associations that added the concept of Dexters having two different body types to modern standards. I wonder what year they first added that to the standard... 1960's?