Facts about Dexter Cattle
Dexters are the smallest British breed of cattle and are established as a dual purpose breed with the average weight of cow being some 350kgs and standing approx 36" to 42" at the shoulder.
The breed comes in three colors, predominately black, but also in red and dun. Being a mountain breed, they are extremely hardy and can live outside all year round. Their size and versatility makes them an ideal smallholders cow.
They are efficient food converters; the ratio of their milk and beef production to food consumed is very impressive. Their milk yield is bound to be appreciable lower than that of cows of larger breeds, but when compared it is only fair to remember that food intake is less, and because of their small size two can be kept in place of one larger animal.
The breed is early maturing and beef of excellent quality, and flavor with good marbling can be produced economically. Dexter steers can be finished off grass at 18 to 24 months old.
Dexters are noted for their longevity and should breed regularly for 14 years or more. Calving problems are rare, with calves being quick on their feet, full of character and with a lively, inquisitive temperament.
Mature Dexter cows can be successfully crossed with most native beef breeds and will produce an excellent commercial offspring.
Obviously choose a bull with an easy calving record and the cow at calving should be fit, but not overweight.
The success of the Dexter over the last 20 to 25 years is quite outstanding. The Dexter’s ability to adapt to varying and extreme climatic conditions and different systems of management is typical of the breed. They have established themselves well in many parts of the world. Animals have been exported not only to the USA and South Africa, but also to Canada, Jamaica, Argentina, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and Australia. Several of these countries now have their own breed societies, which only goes to show how well this breed has become established. Truly the small cow with a big future.