About the Breed: The Dexter has always attracted attention for being the worlds smallest cattle breed. They have a gentle, curious, accepting nature. Bred from the Kerry Irish dairy cow, they were consider to be a dwarf version, however blood typing shows that the two breeds are genetically distinct. The Dexter originated in southern Ireland during the early 1800's and was later promoted by Mr. Dexter, gaining it's name. The breed became popular with smallholders in Ireland and England, who appreciated its efficiency in producing both milk and beef on limited acreage. Dexter's were imported to North America in 1910 and recognized as an individual breed.
Production: The belief that this is an ornamental breed, as sometimes marketed, has obscured the value as a productive, multi‑purpose animal used for milk, beef and oxen, of easy management due it its size. They are hardy, forage‑efficient browsers and can rid pastures of some pest plants. The milk produced is high in solids, making it ideal for butter and cheese production while the beef is lean and high in quality. Calving for these cows is relativity worry free, even for first timers. No matter the type they are protective mothers with excellent maternal qualities above all else.
Description: Originally horned, although naturally pulled are becoming more popular, Dexter's can be found in black, red, dun or red-dun. White markings can occur. Only a minimal amount is accepted around the utter and belly area. Although always described as solid and compact there are two different body confirmations within the breed and are often bred together. The Long-legged type are size proportionate in every dimension but are usually larger, while the short-legged type are smaller with shorter legs, however are known to produce high percentages of stillborn or nonviable calves.