Dexter cattle are from the southern part of Ireland where they were bred by small land holders and roamed about the shelter-less mountainous districts in an almost wild state of nature. The Dexters imported to the United States between 1905 and 1915.
These gentle, hardy and easy to handle animals are one of the world's smallest bovines. They require less pasture and feed than other breeds. They thrive in hot as well as cold climates and do well outdoors year round, needing only a windbreak, shelter and fresh water. Fertility is high and calves are dropped in the field without difficulty. They are dual purpose, being raised for both milk and meat.
According to the guidelines, the ideal three year old Dexter bull measures 38 to 44 inches at the shoulder and weighs less than 1000 pounds. The ideal three-year-old Dexter cow measures between 36 to 42 inches at the shoulder, and weighs less than 750 pounds. They can be polled or horned and come in the colors of Black, Red or Dun.
A milking cow can produce more milk for its weight than any other breed. The daily yield averages 1 to 3 gallons per day 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 18-24 months and result in small cuts of high quality lean meat, graded choice, with little waste. The average dress out is 50 to 60 percent and the beef is slightly darker red than that of other breeds.