All About Dexter Cattle


The average Dexter is smaller than the average Angus or Hereford, thus consume less feed.

Research conducted by Hillside Dexters on daily weight gain in feed lots, with local Canadian feed and climate, have yielded surprising results.


Dexters come in two body types, defined as long and short legged because the cannon bones differ in length by 1 1/2 inches (4 cm).

The "Long leg" is a small, regular cow proportioned animal.  The Short leg is a slightly smaller, heavy set animal with breeding restrictions.

The calves shown to the left are an example of the long legged Dexter. The long legged Dexter is the preferred animal of HIllside Dexters for several reasons. Hillside Dexters does not deal with the short legged Dexter.

Bulls are 38 to 44 inches at the shoulder and weigh approximately 1,000 pounds.

Cows are 36 to 42 inches at the shoulder and weigh approximately 800 pounds.

Pure bred Dexters can be one of three solid colors; Black, dun or red.  Black and dun are the most common, while true red's are relatively rare.

Dexters are horned.  Dehorning is allowed, without show penalty, for transport and handling reasons.

Dexters are known for their ease of calving; You can hang up your calf puller forever.

Calves weigh approximately 50 pounds at birth.  Weaned weight, generally after 7 months, 350 to 400 pounds.

Both sexes will grow until 5 or 6 years old.

The Long leg type live past 20 years and continue to calve up to age of 16 to 18 years.

Dexter Bulls are excellent for crossing with first-time calving heifers of the larger breeds.  Calving problems are reduced, and you end up with a live animal of good size dressing weight.

The docile nature of the Dexter carries over when crossbred with other cattle breeds.

If you choose to use artificial insemination, there is a large selection of readily available imported and domestic semen.


Dexters are very docile and a milking Dexter, or crossbred, can be handled by a child.

The milk production of a Dexter depends on the animal, her condition, feed ration and the care given to her.  Generally you can expect 2 gallons a day.

The milk is rich, about 4% butter fat. The fat globules are very small and separate from the milk in 24 hours.  It digest easily, makes excellent cream and cottage cheese, and is still sweet and rich, even after the cream is removed.

Several large British herds have been kept for commercial milk production.  Milk production records are available from the British Dexter Society.  


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