The first gathering and listing of the Dexter cattle breed dates to the early 1890's in Ireland and was published by the Farmer's Gazette. A few years later the Royal Dublin Society began a yearly herd book for the Dexter breed and shortly thereafter English owners became captivated by the Dexter breed and in 1900 began the first Dexter group in England with the first herd book published in 1900.
Dexters began (and should remain) as a unique and wonderful breed of DWARF cattle. They provided meat and milk to the small holder in Ireland and were prized for their unique qualities which included small size, large milk production, ease of calving, maximum extraction of nutrients from all types of forage, and a strong immune system all bundled in a captivating personaltiy which won the hearts of owners.
The Dexter had a unique and readily identifable . . . . appearance. A Dexter in the midst of a field of Jersey, Aryshire, Guernsey, Irish Moil, Shorthorn, or other breeds could be identified on sight. It is important that this be noted and that the original Dexter phenotype be encouraged for breeding. It IS different. It does NOT fit the political correct confirmation of today's breeds. That is what makes a Dexter DIFFERENT. ( And better!).
Otto Jensen of the Tak-Sca-Du-Hav herd had a fully functioning dairy herd of Dexters which numbered around 40 cows. He stated the following in an article published nationally that he bred to have the Dexters in his dairy be 36-38 inches in height.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. . . . . . LOOK AT THE OLD PHOTOS. LOOK AT THE MODERN PHOTOS. ARE YOU GUILTY OF BREEDING ANIMALS THAT ARE DRIFTING SO FAR FROM THE ORIGINAL DEXTER PHENOTYPE? IF SO, PLEASE . . . . . STOP. . . . . . NOW!
Go to the historical pages. Look through the many Dexter photos. Note the unique phenotype/confirmation. Those ARE Dexters. Look at the size of the animal standing by the owner. Be part of the solution to saving our unique breed, not part of the problem.
Below are several English herd book photos of winning Dexters from the early 1900's, some standing with a human handler. Note their size! Below them is a photo of an ADCA winning Dexter from 2013 standing with it's human owners and another bull being used for breeding standing with a human. Could the comparison be any more descriptive of the LACK of LEADERSHIP in our breed? These bulls is are HUGE! They have to exceed the breed standard. Show animals SHOULD be required to meet the breed standard ( and the breed standard should be published and well defined). It is impossible to preserve a breed when genetic drift this drastic is permitted.
The single most important factor in this lack of leadership is not just the drastic change taking place in our DWARF breed of cattle. . . it is the ultimate consequence of a leadership run amok with polled and size and no direction for the breed. . . . . and make no mistake about the end result of this lack of leadership and direction. . . . it WILL cost us a wonderful breed of cattle, unique among all others. Our breed survived because of their dwarf size, and the characteristics connected to dwarfism. There is NO doubt changes have already taken place in descendents of these upgraded imports. Unless there is leadership and awareness our special characteristics will be lost. . . . and once changed so drastically our breed will NOT compete with modern commercial breeds and slowly the breed will drift into oblivion. If you love the Dexter breed. . . . . . you need to put DEXTER cattle in your pastures that fit the original breed description and phenotype. And you need to have the courage to speak out and demand the breed be preserved in their original phenotype. The breed needs US to preserve their LEGACY!
Here is a link to the 1949 video of the renowned Grinstead herd of DWARF Dexter cattle.