native home of the Dexter is in the southern part
of Ireland where they were bred by small land holders
and roamed about the shelter less mountainous districts
in an almost wild state of nature. The first recorded
knowledge of Dexters in America is when more than
two hundred Dexters were imported to the US between
1905 and 1915. In recent years there has been a worldwide
surge of interest in Dexter cattle. They thrive in
hot as well as cold climates and do well outdoors
year round, needing only a windbreak, shelter and
fresh water. Fertility is high and calves are dropped
in the field without difficulty. They are dual purpose,
being raised for both milk and meat. Dexters are also
the perfect old-fashioned family cow. Pound for pound,
Dexters cost less to get to the table, economically
turning forage into rich milk and quality, lean meat.
According to the guidelines, the ideal three year old
Dexter bull measures 38 to 44 inches at the shoulder
and weighs less than 1000 pounds. The ideal three year
old Dexter cow measures between 36 to 42 inches at the
shoulder, and weighs less than 750 pounds. There are
two varieties of Dexters, short legged and long legged.
Milk and beef production and other characteristics are
generally the same for both types.
Dexters come in Black, Red or Dun. Dexters are horned
or polled, with some people preferring to dehorn them.
A milking cow can produce more milk for its weight than
any other breed. The daily yield averages 1 to 3 gallons
per day with a butterfat content of 4 to 5 percent.
Yields of cream up to one quart per gallon are possible.
The cream can be skimmed for butter or ice cream.
Beef animals mature in 18 to 24 months and result in
small cuts of high quality lean meat, graded choice,
with little waste. The expectable average dress out
is 50 to 60 percent and the beef is slightly darker
red than that of other breeds.
No other bovine can satisfy such a diverse market.
All animals in the ADCA registry were entered in accordance
with the regulations, procedures, and information that
existed at the time of entry.
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of Dexter Cattle in America
native home of the Dexter is in the south and southwestern
parts of Ireland where they were kept by small landholders
and roamed about the mountainous districts in an almost
wild state of nature.
origin of the Dexter is quite obscure. The common assumption
has been that the Dexter breed was derived from the
Kerry breed or that it was a cross between the Kerry
and some other breed, perhaps the Devon. It has also
been claimed that a “Mr. Dexter”, agent
to Lord Hawarden, was responsible for developing this
Irish breed by selection from the “best of the
mountain cattle of the district”.
January 1887, the “Farmer’s Gazette”
of Dublin published the first register of “Pure
Kerry Cattle and Dexters” in Ireland. This first
Register included 46 Kerry bulls, 100 Kerry cows, and
only 10 Dexter cows. It did not include any Dexter bulls.
The Royal Dublin Society acquired rights from the publishers
of the Farmer’s Gazette for this Register. In
1890, the cattle with the original numbers assigned
to them, were thus included in Volume One of the “Kerry
and Dexter Herd Book”, as published by the Royal
Dublin Society in Ireland. The Royal Dublin Society,
Volume One included 118 Kerry bulls, 942 Kerry cows,
26 Dexter bulls and 210 Dexter cows. By January 1912,
the Royal Dublin Society had published fourteen volumes
with the following number of animal registrations: 678
Kerry bulls, 3,565 Kerry cows, 565 Dexter bulls, and
2,349 Dexter cows.
English Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society was organized
in 1892 in England. Previous to that date, breeders
of Kerry and Dexter cattle were obliged to register
their cattle in the books of the Royal Dublin Society
of Ireland. Volume One of the English Herd Book was
published in 1900 and Volume Two was published in 1902.
By January 1912, eleven volumes of the English Herd
Book had been published and the following number of
animals registered: 238 Kerry bulls, 1,334 Kerry cows,
455 Dexter bulls, and 1,820 Dexter cows. In 1924, the
English Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society changed its
purpose to the exclusive one of promoting Dexter cattle
and adopted the title of the “Dexter Cattle Society”
in Volume 25 of their Herd Book. Herd Book Volume 27,
in 1926, showed that 986 bulls and 3,896 cows had been
recorded since the foundation of the English herd book
introduction of Dexters to America probably occurred
long ago, when there was no distinction made between
Kerries and Dexters in importations. The first recorded
knowledge of Dexters in America occurred when over two
hundred Dexters and Kerries were imported to the United
States between 1905 and 1915. A large percentage of
these were imported to Elmendorf Farm (Elmendorf Herd)
in Lexington, Kentucky, Howard Gould (Castlegould Herd)
of Port Washington, New York, and Mrs. James J. Hill
(North Oaks Herd) of Gladstone, Minnesota.
1910, Professor Charles S. Plumb of Ohio State University,
sought by correspondence to ascertain information on
the ownership and size of Kerry and Dexter herds in
America. He sent letters to every person whom he could
find owning these cattle. Less than 20 herds were located,
but some of these were large and were actively engaged
in development. There was interest in forming an organization,
however it was not expedient to have a meeting. Consequently,
the interested breeders formed an organization by means
of correspondence and a mail vote and it became officially
known as the “American Kerry and Dexter Cattle
Club” in July 1911 when G.M. Carnochan of New
York, New York was elected President; C.H. Berryman,
Mgr. Elmendorf Farm in Lexington, Kentucky was elected
Vice President; Charles S. Plumb of Columbus, Ohio was
elected Secretary-Treasurer. At that time, they also
formed an Executive Committee consisting of G.M. Carnochan,
C.H. Berryman, C.S. Plumb, Maurice Molloy - agent of
Castlegould in Port Washington, New York, and B. Nason
Hamlin of Boston, Massachusetts. They also adopted Articles
of Association by mail vote. The membership fee was
set at $10.00.
American Kerry and Dexter Cattle Club kept Kerry cattle
registrations separate from Dexter cattle registrations,
each forming an independent group. The offspring of
a cross of Kerry and Dexter was regarded as a “cross
bred” and was ineligible for registration. The
American registration record through January 1, 1919
included 16 Kerry bulls, 61 Kerry cows, 52 Dexter bulls,
and 240 Dexter cows.
James J. Hill of Gladstone, Minnesota imported Dexters
in 1914 and established the North Oaks Herd. Mr. H.C.
Lawton was employed as the “Superintendent Breeder
of Dexters” for this herd. Additional animals
were later purchased by Mrs. Hill from Mrs. Clarence
Moore of Washington, D.C. and from Elmendorf Farm.
Whitelaw Reid owned the Ophir Herd in Purchase, New
York. It was a small herd of both Dexters and Kerries.
F.E. Stevens of Glen Falls, New York was actively breeding
Kerry cattle prior to the formation of the American
Kerry and Dexter Cattle Club in 1911.
1914, August A. Busch of St. Louis, Missouri purchased
Dexters from C.D. Gregg of St. Louis and established
the Grant’s Farm Herd. Additional animals were
purchased by August Busch in 1915 from Elmendorf Farm
in Lexington, Kentucky. The Elmendorf Herd was dispersed
1917, James N. Hill of New York, New York purchased
a small herd of Dexters from Elmendorf Farm and established
the Big Tree Herd in New York.
1917, E.F. Simms of Houston, Texas purchased a small
herd of Dexters from Elmendorf Farm and established
the Xalapa Herd in Paris, Kentucky.
1917, William R. Bush of Benson, Vermont purchased a
small herd of Dexters from Elmendorf Farm and established
the Mountain View Herd in Vermont.
1917, the Castlegould Herd was sold to Daniel Guggenheim
of Port Washington, New York. Guggenheim changed the
herd name from Castlegould to Hempstead House. Several
years later, a part of the Hempstead House Herd was
sold to Mrs. Louisa Satterlee (Dover House Farm) of
last registration record (all registrations and transfers
up to and including December 31, 1920) of the American
Kerry and Dexter Cattle Club were published in a Herd
Book in 1921 and included 63 Dexter bulls and 260 Dexter
cows. Soon after the publication of this Herd Book,
the club ceased to operate and its records were put
in the care of the Animal Husbandry Department of Ohio
1940, the American Kerry and Dexter Club was reorganized
by John Logsdon of Decorah, Iowa and Roy A. Cook, Secretary
of the American Milking Shorthorn Association. Mr. Cook
served as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Kerry
and Dexter Club until his death in 1949 and he published
a second printing of Volume I of the American Kerry
and Dexter Club Herd Book with entries of 471 Dexters,
including those of the first printing from 1921. In
1950, Mrs. Daisy Moore was elected Secretary-Treasurer
and continued such duties until September 1982. In 1957,
the name American Kerry and Dexter Club was changed
to American Dexter Cattle Association. There had been
no Kerry registrations since 1920.
other herds got their Dexters directly from herds created
by the original importations to America. Foundation
stock for the Clove Brook Herd (last owned by Jan van
Heerden, son-in-law of Mabel Ingalls) was obtained from
Mrs. Ingalls’ mother, Mrs. Louisa Satterlee (Dover
House Herd). Mrs. Ingalls also imported Dexters from
England. The foundation for the Peerless Herd in Decorah,
Iowa; was obtained in 1918 by John Logsdon for his daughter
Nancy Logsdon from the Elmendorf Herd, Grant’s
Farm Herd (August A. Busch), and North Oaks Herd (Mrs.
James J. Hill). Later, Nancy Logsdon acquired two of
Daniel Guggenheim’s bulls: Warrior of Hempstead
House and Captain of Hempstead House. In 1944, when
the Peerless Herd had their first public sale, the herd
numbered 150 head of cows and heifers. Ownership of
the Peerless Herd was passed from Nancy Logsdon to her
sister, Daisy Moore, and then to Daisy’s daughter
and son, Kay Moore Baker and Michael Moore. The Peerless
Herd is the oldest Dexter herd in the United States.
in the 1950’s, Mrs. Mabel Ingalls (Clove Brook
Herd), Stewart and Frances Kellogg (Bedford Herd), Edward
C. Lord, and Mrs. Margaret Rhodes imported several head
of Dexters from several prominent herds (Grinstead Herd,
Atlantic Herd, and Parndon Herd) in England. Importations
of Dexters from England continued in the 1960’s
and 1970’s. In 1978, Doris Crowe (Cranworth Herd),
Ross Stone (Lockwood Herd), Larratt and Paddy Higgins
(Trillium Herd), and Eric Lawlor (Aldebaran Herd) joined
together to purchase four Dexter heifers from Beryl
Rutherford’s Woodmagic Herd in England and imported
these animals into Canada.
1978, Doris Crowe and some of her associates traveled
to Pennsylvania to attend the American Dexter Cattle
Association annual meeting. While there, Mrs. Crowe
purchased a Dexter bull, Highland Perseus and imported
him into Canada. In 1979, Doris Crowe imported six more
Dexter heifers and a bull from Beryl Rutherford’s
Woodmagic Herd and these became the foundation of her
Cranworth Herd. Many dun colored Dexters trace back
to these imports from the Woodmagic Herd. The Cranworth
Herd was dispersed in 1989. Descendents of Cranworth
bulls and cows are found in many pedigrees of our Dexters
first Dexter bull in the United States collected for
artificial insemination (A.I.) was Parndon Bullfinch
and semen was made available to Dexter breeders in 1968.
Since that time, more than 50 Dexter bulls have been
collected in the United States and made available to
Dexter breeders. In 1994, Fred Chesterley (Llanfair
Herd) imported semen from England from a registered
polled Dexter bull, Saltaire Platinum. Mr. Chesterley
used Saltaire Platinum in his own breeding program and
also made this semen available to other Dexter breeders
that wanted to breed polled Dexters in the United States.
a special meeting on April 28, 1960, in Decorah, Iowa,
John Logsdon, after serving as President for 20 years,
stepped down; and Otto C. Jensen (Tak-Sca-Du-Hav Herd)
was elected President of the American Dexter Cattle
Association. During Otto’s six years as President,
the regular annual shows at the Hamburg, New York Fair
were held. In addition, a special exhibition of Dexters,
including an ox team that toured the fairgrounds, was
held in September 1960, in Allentown, at the Pennsylvania
meetings were held at Hamburg and Cooperstown, New York.
At the annual meeting in Albany, New York, on June 11,
1966, Palmer Langdon (New Jersey Herd) was elected President.
During his term, a bred Dexter cow was kept on display
at the Central Park Zoo, in New York City, and rotated
after her calf reached six months of age.
McCabe (Alander Herd), a prominent New York State banker,
was elected President at the annual meeting in Albany
on October 5, 1968. During his term, a large meeting
was hosted in Cooperstown for all the county agricultural
agents of upstate New York. At the November 10, 1974
annual meeting in Newburg, New York, William Carcaud
(Melbourne Herd), an active Canadian breeder, became
President, but he died two weeks later. Mark Davis (Colorado
Herd) of Delaware succeeded him.
1977, with impetus from President Mark Davis, the American
Dexter Cattle Association became a newly formed, non-profit
Delaware corporation. Ten geographical regions were
established, each represented by a member of the Board
of Directors, elected for a term of three years by the
members in good standing of the respective region.
1979, James J. (Jim) Johnson (o’Briar Hill Herd)
of Ohio was elected President and he served for eight
years. Dean Fleharty (Shome Herd) of Missouri served
as President in 1987. Sandra Thomas (Thomas’ Herd)
of Oregon served as President from 1988 to 1989, Philip
Martz (Pretty Rolling Meadows, “P.R.M.”
Herd) of Pennsylvania served as President from 1990
to 1993, Wes Patton (Glenn Land Herd) of California
served from 1993 to 1995, R.S. “Shep” Springer
(Green Valley Herd) of Colorado and Missouri served
from 1995 to 1997, and Jim Johnson of Ohio served again
from 1997 to 1999. In 1999, Patrick “Pat”
Mitchell (Shamrock Herd) of Michigan was elected as
President and served until 2003. Kathy Smith (K-Ro Herd)
of New York was President from 2003 to 2004. Chris Ricard
(Celestial Herd) of Oregon served as President from
2004 to 2006. Pat Mitchell served again as President
from 2006 to 2007. David Jones (Bar None Herd) of Texas
was elected President at the annual meeting in Grand
Junction, Colorado on June 24, 2007.
Moore’s daughter, Kay Moore Baker (Peerless Herd),
became Secretary-Treasurer in September 1982 and served
in that capacity until December 1986. Rosemary Fleharty
(Shome Herd) became Acting Secretary-Treasurer-Registrar
in January 1987, and then Secretary-Treasurer-Registrar
in 1988. Rosemary served in that capacity until 2004.
In 2004, the American Dexter Cattle Association went
through a reorganization, and Chuck Daggett (Daggett’s
Herd) of Minnesota became the Registrar and Webmaster,
Bonnie Boudreau (R & B Herd) of Washington became
the Secretary, and James Smith (Whistle Herd) of Missouri
became the Treasurer. Bonnie Boudreau served as Secretary
until June 2007, when Carol Ann Traynor (Hi-Country
Herd) of Colorado became the Secretary. In 2007, Chuck
Daggett continues to serve as Registrar and James Smith
continues to serve as Treasurer.
Dexter shows, in conjunction with an Annual General
Meeting (AGM), were held in 1988 and 2002 in Oregon,
1989 in Pennsylvania, 1994 and 2001 in California, 1997
in connection with the Calgary Stampede in Calgary,
Alberta, Canada, 2003 in Oklahoma, 2004 in Pennsylvania,
1996, 2000, 2005, and 2006 in Missouri, and 2007 in
Colorado. The American Dexter Cattle Association celebrated
its 50th Anniversary, 1957 – 2007, with a “Colorado
Gold Rush Celebration” in Grand Junction, Colorado
in June 2007.
cattle have steadily increased in popularity in America
through the years as indicated by the increasing number
of registrations and members in the Association. In
1952 there were only 38 Owner/Breeders located in 18
different states. By year-end in 1982 there were a total
of 183 Owner/Breeders located in 41 different states
and two Canadian Provinces. By year-end in 2005 there
were a total of 797 American Dexter Cattle Association
members located in 45 different states and four Canadian
Provinces. Table 1 provides a summary of Dexter registrations
over the years.
1. Summary of Dexter Registrations
of Dexter Bulls
of Dexter Cows
- 1981 Section
- 1982 Section
addition to the American Dexter Cattle Association,
other Dexter cattle associations are found throughout
the world including Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
England, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Norway, Kenya, Namibia,
South Africa, and Zimbabwe.