Robert Downey Jr. hit theaters this week in the remake of Dr. Dolittle that is getting some underwhelming reviews. We thought it was a good time to remind people about the best Dr. Doolittle. It's not Eddy Murphy from 1998, or Rex Harrison from 1967, and we're not going to discuss the book from 1920. No, our Dr. Doolittle is from 1975. He was the first celebrity llama stud, producing over 300 crias.
Dr. Doolittle was made famous by Richard and Kay Patterson, of Sisters Oregon. He arrived inutero when his dam Fluffy was purchased from Catskill game farm. His sire was unknown, as records were not kept at Catskill. He was never shorn, as was the custom at that time. Wool was "in"; the longer the better. Doolittle helped to set that trend and grew in popularity because of his prepotence in passing heavy wool on to his offspring.
When we interviewed Kay Temple for a future issue of American Llama we asked her to list her most important herdsires and Doolittle was the first name that came to mind. In The History and Philosophy of Patterson Llamas, written in 1994, Kay described him this way, "Doolittle looked white but was what is now called a very dilute appaloosa. He had 'Dagwood Bumstead' sprouts of wool over his eyes, on top of his head, and fringe on his ears. The most prepotent sire of all and kingpin of the breed, Doolittle put wool on all of his 311 offspring. "
He passed away young, at just 8 years of age, but not before making a lasting mark on the llama industry. His son Eclipse would go on to produce 336 offspring. Other prolific herdsires include: Doc PL, Doofus, Mr. Mcgoo, John L Lewis, and The Professor.
To read more about Kay's journey with llamas be sure to check out issue five of American Llama Magazine, arriving September 2020