Sunday, January 25, 2009

Original Article 23, Pt II: "Dexters in Canada"

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"History of the Dexter Breed in Canada" Part II
by Carol Davidson
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In 1988, Jane Paynter’s agent offered Saturn of Knotting semen to the Board of the newly formed CDCA, but the offer was turned down. Carol Davidson, another early breeder, learned of it and imported a limited quantity which she offered directly to Canadian members. Saturn’s influence can be seen in the offspring of Riverhill Saturn’s Galaxy, a mating planned by Carol and Cathy Nelson who owned the dam, Cranworth Sally, a very small non-dwarf cow giving over four gallons of milk/day.
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Saturn of Knotting
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Riverhill Saturn's Galaxy
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Also in the 1980s, Pat Freeman purchased stock from the Crowes, and imported cows from the Old Orchard herd in the U.S. Her Braco herd is well known, and semen collected from Braco Shoeshine is available in Canada and overseas.
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While doing Herd Book research in 1988, Carol Davidson found a forgotten line of Dexters in the U.S. that related directly back to major early English herds that had died out in England. She arranged to purchase two heifers from this closed herd, and a few years later, to acquire the bulk of the remainder of the herd from Mr. Kellogg. This brought the Bedford line of old English Grinsteads and Atlantics to Canada, and her revised Hiyu herd became based on this new U.S. (old English) line.
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In 1989, Winona Crapp imported an English bull, Cobthorn Constable, from Andrew Sheppy. Both Winona and Andrew were interested in rare breeds. Constable was primarily of Woodmagic descent, with some Parndon and other old English lines in the background. Winona used the bull for several years and successfully sold offspring across Canada, but unfortunately beefed him just before BSE became an issue and he would have had to be slaughtered.
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By 1992, Eric and Marilyn Meyer had established their World of Miniatures farm west of Calgary, and started buying up Canadian Dexters and importing Dexters wholesale from the U.S. They had a contract with the P-Bar Dexter ranch, and bought a large herd from Mrs. Gnaedinger in Illinois. Eric was a ‘rare and exotic’ dealer, who held annual auctions, and greatly facilitated the spread of Dexters, especially in Western provinces.
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Gary Sparrow became interested in Dexters, and imported from the Oregon herd of Gary Pritchard (Pisgah), who specialized in breeding very small animals. The ‘Sparrow’s Nest’ logo of tiny Dexters in a twig bird’s nest became well known throughout the Prairies.
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In 1993, Carol Davidson, jointly with an American breeder, imported semen from an English polled bull, Saltaire Platinum. As soon as it was known the semen was in Canada, the CDCA moved to limit registrations to horned Dexters. This decision was reversed in 2004 and polled Dexters are now accepted in the Canadian registry; they are proving very popular. On a subsequent trip to England and Ireland in 1994, Carol arranged to purchase and collect semen from another old line. Cornahir Outlaw was a red Irish bull, descended from the English Shadwell genetics, and brought much-needed new red genes to North America.
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Saltaire Platinum, English polled bull
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Carol next set her sights on the very successful British bull, Apple Joe, and arranged to import semen from him early in 1998. Apple Joe was the Grand Champion bull at the Dexter Congress Show later that year, and a limited quantity of his semen arrived in Canada in the Spring of 1999. It has been sold on to Donna Rudd who, because the bull was put down not long after collection and there is now no further export-qualified semen available, has an exclusive on his genetics in North America.
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Two Hiyu bulls, Salty Rambler IV (a horned son of Saltaire Platinum) and Renown Magician, were added to the AI semen list in 2001. Both bulls were evaluated using the Australian 'Supergene' system, and scored Excellent, providing new genetics of proven quality to North American breeders.
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