The Dexter breed originated in southwestern Ireland, being brought to England in 1882 by Mr. Dexter. It is one of the oldest Cattle Breed Societies, and has many famous past and present members.
The Dexter is a small breed with mature cows weighing between 300kg and 400kg and mature bulls weighing about 450 kg. The Dexter has two distinct body types and leg lengths.
The traditional short leg Dexter as the the name indicates is shorter in the leg, usually having a stocky and compact body. The non short leg Dexter is again as the name indicates longer in the leg, a taller animal and often longer in the body. Both are of equal merit and both produce excellent milk and beef.
The Dexter coat is a whole colour, either Black, Red or Dun. In females the breed standard allows a minimum amount of white on the udder and up to the naval, also a little is permitted in the tassel of the tail. In males the breed standard allows a little white on the organ of generation and up to the naval, again a little white is allowed in the tassel of the tail. White is not allowed elsewhere on Dexter cattle.
Most Dexters have horns but there also some polled (hornless) bloodlines.
The Dexter is recognised as a dual purpose cow suitable for both beef and milk production, although most owners often concentrate on either one or the other, with Northern Ireland breeders focusing predominantly on beef production.
Text above is the property of The NI Dexter Cattle Group