The Dexter breed
The Dexter breed originated in the South West of Ireland. They are the smallest native breed of cattle in the British Isles at just over a metre high at the shoulder and weighing approximately a third (300kg.) of modern cattle breeds. Dexters were first introduced into England in 1882 by a Mr. Sutton of Kidmoor Grange, Oxfordshire who purchased 10 animals from Ireland.
They were so successful that by 1892 had became a recognised registered breed. In more recent times farming methods changed and by the 1970’s the Dexter breed became so endangered that it was included into the Rare Breeds register. (At this time it was said that they could only be found in Dublin zoo.) Luckily since then it has seen remarkable success thanks to its remarkable ability to adapt and can now be found thriving in many parts of the world.
Our community herd lives permanently outdoors but fortunately the Dexter breed is exceptionally hardy and can thrive on the poorer quality grasses. This is a rare quality that has been bred into them over many previous generations whilst on their native rugged west coast of Ireland.
Being small in stature they have the agility access even the steepest slopes of Brill Common. They are a friendly non-intimidating breed making them an ideal choice for interacting with the general public, our volunteers and other animals - particularly dogs.
A red Dexter
A hardy breed
Grazing steep slopes on