SVF Foundation

Dexter Cattle

Dexter Cattle

Although the exact origin of the Dexter is unknown, most believe they are descended from Kerry cattle, a relatively small-framed dairy breed. The Dexter originated in southern Ireland in harsh conditions that fostered the development of a short, extremely hardy, dual-purpose breed.

The first recorded importation of Dexters into America was in 1905, when a herd was shipped from England and ended up with several breeders across the US.

Interest in Dexter cattle has spiked in recent years. This short, dual-purpose breed is one of the world's smallest bovines. Dexters require less pasture and space than other breeds and can thrive in hot as well as cold climates. Fertility is high and calves are dropped in the field without difficulty.

Breed Associations

Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America

American Dexter Cattle Association

Dexter Cattle American Legacy

Breed Story

The smallest bovine SVF has ever worked with was O’Mearas Flann, a little Dexter bull from Maine. “Flann Man,” as he was called, was 37 inches high and destined for a bull stud in Virginia for semen collection. He was too short to mount the cows, however, so the bull stud actually had to build him a box to stand on! Flann quickly became a barn favorite at the bull stud, where they still tell the story of the little Dexter bull.

About the Breed

Cow graphic

Origin:
Southern Ireland

Distribution:
Worldwide

Uses:
Milk, meat and draught power

Status:
Recovering

Quick Fact:
Dexter cattle are always solid in color, never spotted or striped. Their coats are black, red or dun and can be sleek or shaggy.

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