Dexter cattle are a minority breed of cattle and until fairly recently, were in fact considered as a rare breed. They are the smallest native breed, and originated in the South of Ireland in the 1800s as an ideal "cottagers cow", producing plenty of milk for the house and a calf to be reared for beef each year.
The animals vary in size, but are about half the size of a traditional Hereford and probably one third the size of something like a black and white Fresian milking cow. Dexters come in two different types: short leg and long leg.
Dexters are a dual purpose breed, providing dairy and beef. They are a slower maturing beef breed and best reared on a purely grass diet to about 3 years of age.