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What to look for when buying Dexter Cattle

Buying cattle for the first time can be a daunting thought and choosing the right stud stock as a foundation for your Dexter stud is an important decision. Dexter cattle have their own unique and specific characteristics. The Dexter Breed Standard developed by Dexter Cattle Australia Inc. is an excellent tool to help you assess Dexter cattle you may be considering for purchase. 


Not all cattle are show-ring champions, but all registered Dexter cattle should reflect the attributes described as follows:

  • The coat colour of a Dexter should be wholly black, red or dun and each are of equal merit.​

  • The head should be relatively short and broad, tapering toward a broad muzzle with relatively large, open nostrils. 

  • Horns, if present, are white with a black tip, should be moderately thick with an inward and upward curve. Horned, dehorned and polled animals are equally acceptable within the breed standard. 

  • Though Dexters are naturally small, there is considerable variation in the height of Dexter cattle and this is allowed for in the Breed Standard. The preferred height range for cows is between 91cm (36 inches) and 112cm (44 inches). The preferred height range for bulls is between 97cm (38 inches) and 117cm (46 inches). Heights should be taken at the age of three years or more when an animal is assumed to have reached its mature height. Measurements are taken at the rump. 

  • Long-leg and short-leg are of equal merit for registration and showing. 

Registered Dexter Cattle​

  • If an animal is offered for sale as being a registered Dexter the Registration Certificate should be made available for inspection. The pedigree and owner details of all registered Dexter cattle are available on the Dexter Cattle Australia Inc. Herdbook database.

  • All registered Dexters have been DNA tested for parent verification.

  • Temperament should be considered when purchasing your cattle. It is always wise to view animals in person before committing to buying.

  • If you are inexperienced in selecting cattle take time to look at a number of studs and ask the advice of another breeder or experienced cattle person. 


Laws and Regulations relating to owning and transporting cattle:

There are a number of state and federal laws associated with the ownership and transport of cattle in Australia. Some vary from state to state and others are nationally uniform. These include:


  • Cattle being offered for sale must be fitted with an National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) ear tag. 

  • In order to own cattle you must have a Property Identification Code (PIC). PIC numbers are issued by the relevant state or territory Department of Primary Industries or the equivalent.

DCAI advises that you familiarise yourself with all laws and by-laws pertaining to owning Cattle. 

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