Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Dexter

Contributor(s): CABI, Vetstream Ltd, John Tulloch

CABI logoUniversity of Liverpool logo

Introduction

Biological Data

Normal

Weight

  •  Less than 455kg, though the weight quoted for mature bulls in 1961 was less than 400kg.
  • A 3-year-old Dexter cow should weigh less than 340kg. 
  • A typical weight for a mature cow is 300kg.

Height

  • British breed standards (2017) are:
    • Bulls: 42-48inches (106-121cm) at rump.
    • Cow: 38-44 inches ( 96-111cm).

  • Breed standards adopted by the American Dexter Cattle Association stipulate that a 3-year-old bull/cow should stand:
    • 38–44 inches (96.5–112 cm) at the withers (bull).
    • 36–42 inches (91.5–107 cm) high (cow).
      • A study of the breed indicated that the average height at the withers of mature Dexter cows was 103.5 cm.

Colors and distinguishing features

  • Dexter cattle are often segregated into long-legged and short-legged types, and it is classified as a dwarf breed.
  • The simple and widely accepted interpretation of the genetics of the breed is that it is an incomplete dominance effect and that interbreeding short-legged animals produces calves of which 25% will be homozygous long-legged and 50% heterozygous short-legged.
    • The remaining 25% will be homozygous ‘bulldog’ mutants, which are born dead and deformed. However, this interpretation fails to recognize that there is not a clear distinction between short-legged and long-legged animals, but rather a smooth population curve within the range for height.
  • The extreme dwarf type can often be identified by characteristics such as a short body and high tail head, heavy head and forequarters, turned-out elbows and twisted fetlock joints, a tendency to arthritis and difficulties in conceiving and calving.

Breed History and Information

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Societies

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login


ADDED