UK Guernsey Cattle

Guernsey Cross Breeding PDF Print E-mail

Guernsey Cross Breeding

For the last ten years or so there has been a register of Cross Bred female offspring of Guernsey cattle maintained by the EGCS, the old rules for Grading Up stated that a non-pedigree animal needed to be of "Guernsey type" to be accepted by the Society, two generations of Guernsey sired progeny were then required before the third generation ( at least 87.5%)

Guernsey was accepted as Full pedigree. By creating a register of first crosses by any and all of the other Red breeds, but mainly Red Holstein it was hoped to be able to measure the impact of the crosses. At the same time the Grading Up rules were changed and the daughters of the first cross sired by a Pedigree Guernsey bull are now entered into the Grading register and still require a further two generations of Guernsey progeny before being given Pedigree status( 93.75%).

Other Red breeds in the UK established an "Open" herdbook and it is common to see progeny of the same "red and white" sire competing in three different breed rings, the short term effect has been to "improve" the commercial attributes of those red breeds for Production and for Type, but at the expense of the traditional points of difference which set those breeds apart.

All pedigree breed societies in the UK operate under EU rules as to what defines "pedigree" and the 87.5% purity mentioned above is defined by the EU. They have restrospectively introduced rules that allow a full sister to be pedigree but won't accept a full brother, which is causing problems for the "open" herd books as now all pedigree certificates have to show the percentage of the original breed.

One of the "open" breeds has been forced to change its show rules twice firstly that competing cows should have only 25% of the original breeds genetics, to the current position that competing cows must carry at least 50% of the original genetics.

I was at a meeting yesterday when a breeder who has been prominent in the Guernsey showring over the last 10 years and who has started cross breeding asked that the Guernsey show ring should be open to Cross Breds. Is that a sensible course of action.?


The question of cross breds being exhibited in the Guernsey show ring was discussed at the November EGCS Council meeting but they were not persuaded that this was a good idea.


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