Dexter cattle originated here in Ireland. The breed is descended from predominately black cattle used by the Celts.
It is widely believed that the breed was named after a Mr Dexter who spent time selecting the best hardy mountain cattle in Tipperary. Dexter cattle were subsequently brought over to England in the late 1800s.
By the turn of the 20th century, the Dexter was the ‘show cattle’ choice of the English gentry. However, by the 1970s numbers had slumped and Dexter cattle were an endangered breed. Times have changed for the better once again and this small, dual purpose breed has enjoyed a renaissance. Dexter cattle can now be found across Europe and further afield in America, Australia, Cuba, New Zealand and parts of Africa.
Dexter cattle characteristics
Dexter cattle are either predominately black, red or dun. Most are horned but some naturally polled animals are available.
Dexter cows have a good temperament and milk well. Milk yields for Dexters kept as dairy cows is around 3000 – 3600 litres per lactation. However, yields in excess of 4000 litres are possible. The milk is high in butterfat (4%+) and protein (3.5%+) and is often compared to that of the Jersey.
Dexter cattle meat
When used in beef production, the Dexter is early maturing. Steers can finish on grass at under 2 years of age. The beef is excellent in terms of both quality and flavour. It is well marbled which adds to the tenderness of the meat. Carcass yields in excess of 56% can be achieved.
The Dexter is a small breed and they are sometimes kept as pets. Cows reach around 300 kilos in weight, mature bulls around 450 kilos. The breed is known for its easy calving. Calves weigh between 11 and 16 kilos at birth.
Dexter cattle are economic
The Dexter is also known for its longevity. They can breed regularly for 14+ years and live to up to 25 years of age. The breed is efficient, hardy and versatile. Dexters are good foragers and able to live on low quality vegetation.
If you are interested in purchasing Dexter cattle, please get in touch.
Dexter cattle for sale and many other breeds
David Clarke Livestock supply other breeds of beef and dairy cattle.
To discuss your requirements, please contact our friendly team on 00353 87 257 6434.