Odd things happen when you cross belted galloways with riggit galloways. The belt is a domineering trait, and the rigg is easily masked. So when I laid the two breeds together in 2018, I emerged with belted galloway calves – every hint of a rigg had been annihilated in favour of a bold black and white belt. It was an impressive experiment, and it helped to explain how easily riggit genetics were suppressed by other patterns during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries – crossed with something stronger, riggits are simply steamrollered into nonexistence.

In rolling the dice again, I’ve achieved something similarly bizarre – a calf which lies almost precisely halfway between the two breeds – a heifer with both a rigg and a belt. This is no great novelty; I hear that these “middle-ground” mongrel beasts are sometimes called beggits or rigglies, but this is the first one I’ve seen – and she cuts a very odd figure in a field of black and sombre shapes.

It will be interesting to see what she looks like in a month or two, but already I’m looking at selling her off along with her mother as part of a general move away from belted galloways. Perhaps these markings will be a turn-off to potential buyers, but I stand by the quality of the beast which lies under the skin – she’ll be a good heifer, regardless of her markings.

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