Irish Dexter Cattle, a heritage breed
Irish Dexter cattle are a small breed that originated from southern Ireland and can trace their roots to the black cattle of the early Celts. They are normally black in color, but they can also be red or dun (blond).
The development of the Dexter breed is credited to a Mr Dexter, an agent of Lord Hawarden who came to Ireland in 1750 and made his home in Co Tipperary. Mr Dexter selected the best of the hardy mountain cattle of the area to develop and refine this robust breed.
Dexter cattle are the smallest purebred cattle in the world and both males and females are naturally horned. This breed can live in any climate and they are very gentle animals. An excellent source for lean and tender cuts of meat, ours are grass-fed and grass-finished, which makes for richly colored, tender steaks that cook quickly.
Even though Dexter Cattle are considered small to other breeds their typical height is 36 to 44 inches and they weigh between 700 and 900 pounds. Dexters normally give birth without any assistance to calves that weigh about 45 pounds when they are born.
While Dexters originated in Ireland, they all but disappeared there after they were exported to England in 1882. Rare even in England, small herds were exported to Canada and the United States shortly thereafter. Enthusiasts of the Dexter breed have worked diligently to increase the numbers and genetic strength of the breed. At Beauchamp Farms, we now have about 60 Dexters, most are traditional Dexters that are closer to the original lineage from Ireland and some have more recent roots in Canada.