History of Dexter Cattle
Dexters are one of the smallest breeds of cattle and are a dual purpose breed believed to have originated in Ireland. Dexters became popular with small landowners in Ireland and England, who were able to use them for meat, milk and labor as oxen. They require less pasture and feed than other breeds, and survive well on limited acreage.
The first American imports of Miniature Dexter Cattle arrived in 1905 and the registry was founded in 1911. Dexters are now mainly distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada, Ireland, South Africa and the United States.
The American Dexter possesses many desirable characteristics. It is a very hardy animal, thriving in both hot and cold climates with little difficulty. It is tractable and easily trained, either as a pasture animal (kind on fencing) or a show animal (great with children and young adults). It is a thrifty animal and capable of thriving on a half acre per head of good pasture, given the typical Dexter's small size.
Registered cows measure between 36 and 42 inches in shoulder height at three years of age, and weigh approximately 750 pounds. Bulls are slightly larger at 38 to 44 inches shoulder height, and weigh in around 1000 pounds. The breed comes in three colors, predominately black, but also in red and dun.
A milking cow can produce more milk for its weight than any other breed. The daily yield averages 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 gallons with a butterfat content of 4 to 5 percent. Yields of cream up to one quart per gallon are possible. The cream can be skimmed for butter or ice cream.
Beef animals mature in 18 months and
result in small cuts of high quality lean meat, graded choice, with little
waste. The expectable average dress out is 50 to 60 percent and the beef is
slightly darker red than that of other breeds.
Dexter Cattle Links:
Registries and Breed Associations
American Dexter Cattle Association (ADCA)
4150 Merino Ave
Watertown MN 55388
ADCA Region 7- Texas & Lousiana