Learning about Dexter Cattle

Dexter Cattle are known as an old heritage breed that came to the United States around 1900 to 1914. At the American Dexter Cattle Association Annual Expo, we learned more about these cows.

"They are an Irish breed, originally from southern Ireland," American Dexter Cattle Association President Lesa Reid said. "They are a tri-purpose breed. People keep them for beef, milk and draft. They are one of the smallest, if not the smallest breed of cattle in the world."

Dexter Cattle are known to be very thrifty and hearty, and they eat less than half of what a normal cow would. "In Ireland where they became a normal cow breed officially, it's very rocky. The terrain is not cattle friendly, and the climate can be harsh. So the people that raised them, preferred smaller, heartier animals that could thrive on something that wasn't extremely bountiful. Dexter Cattle eat weeds and other items, maybe a little more like a goat than other cattle do," Reid said.

The Dexter Cattle breed almost became extinct. But with an upsurge in homesteading, movements like 'grow your own food', and small acreage farming, people are realizing that Dexter Cattle are a good fit for that. You can find Dexter Cattle anywhere in the United States. "They pretty much thrive in any climate, and under all kinds of terrian, and different farming conditions," Reid said.

The American Dexter Cattle Association Annual Expo is an example of the kinds of national shows that come to the Lancaster Event Center. These are shows that the public is encouraged to attend.