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The Dexter cattle breed is a dual use breed that produces rich milk and lean, high quality beef. Considered by many ranchers as a useful and productive, multi-purpose animal, Dexter cattle originated in Southern Ireland in the early 1800s. Due to their size, the Dexter became popular with small land holders in Ireland and in England who appreciated the cattle’s efficiency in producing both milk and beef on limited acreage. They made their way to North America a little over 100 years ago, and have been a favorite of ranchers and farmers across the United States.


A distinctively smaller and more compact breed, Dexter cattle have two primary body types: the first is the appearance of cattle with normal bodies and very short legs, the second are cattle that are proportionately small in every dimension. They stand about 40” tall and weigh anywhere from 700 pounds to 1,000 pounds. Most Dexters are black, though red and dun are also found, and the cattle have black-tipped white horns that arc upward.

Many steak houses and restaurants that sell Dexter beef consider it some of the most tender and intensely flavored beef you can eat. Di Smith’s nationally renowned “Moomin” herd of Dexter cattle in England attributes its great flavor to natural feed and the animal’s size, “Because the Dexter is smaller, you get very fine graining, which will help keep flavor. It’s just more intense – it’s like a good wine.”

Ranchers like the Dexter because they are hardy, forage-efficient cattle that are easy to maintain and produce an excellent product. The animals thrive in hot as well as cold climates, and do well outdoors all year round. A combination of favorable factors make the Dexter cattle breed an excellent choice for ranchers; their docile nature makes them easy to handle compared to other breeds, they need less feed due to their smaller stature, and the quality of the meat produced is very high.

If you are looking for lean, tender, and very flavorful beef, Dexter beef is an excellent choice. For more information about grass fed Dexter cattle and the great tasting meat they provide, contact Rafter W Ranch in Simla, CO at (719) 541-1002 or shop now in our online store.

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