The Official Website of
The Scots Dumpy Club


 

A Little About the Scots Dumpy

Scots Dumpies are a very ancient native breed of Scotland. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests that they existed 700 years ago. In the early 20th century they were known by many different names such as “Creepies,” “Bakies” and “Daidies.” The names themselves conjure up a charming picture. Many people are put off the idea of keeping Dumpies as the dwarfing gene which produces its unique short legs also produces infertility and chicks “dying in shell”. The genetics are complicated but can be summarised in the following paragraph.

Any standardised colour is allowed and as a result, there are a variety of colours seen. The most common are black and cuckoo, while white and blue are increasing in popularity. Perhaps the most unusual feature of the Dumpy is its genetic make-up. Like the Dexter cow and the Japanese bantam, the Dumpy has a semi-lethal "Creeper" gene that shortens its legs in a single dose (heterozygous) or causes the embryo to die during incubation in a double dose (homozygous). However, since the Creeper gene is dominant to the normal leg length, those birds with a single dose appear with short legs. This produces interesting results when breeding!

From the above table you can see that from the point of view of genetics it does not matter whether you cross two short-legged birds or a short legged and a long-legged bird in terms of the number of short legged progeny. Instead, there is an increase in the number of birds with long legs at the expense of those dead in shell. Although there are no actual records to show this, long-legged females seem to lay more eggs than those with short legs, and are often bigger birds overall. This is probably because the Creeper gene stunts growth overall, with the limbs affected more than other parts of the body.
Perhaps the challenge of producing the perfect short-legged “waddling” Scots Dumpy is what attracts many people to the breed.

Dumpies were seen at poultry shows throughout the latter half of the 19th century, but their general appearance and plumage is not as striking as many other breeds and a steep decline began to take place. This beautiful bird, tragically nearly disappeared for good a hundred or so years ago. However, in the 1970s a dedicated band of breeders in Scotland succeeded in getting the breed established once again and thankfully since then it has gone from strength to strength.

If you want a few chickens to keep in your back garden then it is well worth considering the Scots Dumpy for a number of reasons. Their short legs mean they won’t scratch up your garden. They are excellent egg producers. They are superb broodies and excellent mothers. They are very beautiful, and they are also docile, but be warned they are an excellent alarm clock and the cocks are more inclined to crow at the first sign of dawn than other breeds. If you have difficulty breeding all short-legged birds, the long legged ones which you will inevitably produce, make an excellent table bird.

In 1993 an enthusiastic band of Scots Dumpy breeders decided to form their own breed club. Up until then Scots Dumpies had been under the auspices of the Rare Poultry Society. Now the Club is in its seventeenth year with a healthy membership of between 70 and 100 members. Although only a relatively small number show birds, at Club Shows held every year at the Scottish National entries can exceed 30 birds. It is important to keep the enthusiasm for this beautiful breed going in England and Ireland as well as encouraging and promoting a growing number of inquiries emerging from abroad.