Breed Standard


Guidelines for Dexter Cattle in Canada

These guidelines are for breeding, selection, and judging purposes.Dexter Bull - Applejack Ranch


The Dexter is a dual purpose animal with both beef and dairy qualities. In judging, both of these qualities are essential.


Whole black, red, and dun. All colours being of equal merit. A small amount of white is allowed but only on the underline, udder area, organs of generation, and the tassel of the tail. White forward of the naval should be strongly discouraged.


Broad between the eyes tapering gracefully towards a broad muzzle. Strong jaws with an even bite. Eyes bright and prominent. Nostrils should be wide and distended. Size of the head in proportion to the body.


Blending well into the shoulders, thick but not too short. Head should be carried above the spine.


Dexters are naturally horned or polled. When not disbudded or dehorned, the horns should be moderately thick, with an inward, slightly upward curve. Bulls should not have as much of an upward curve as the cow. Removal of the horns should not be penalized in the show ring. Naturally polled animals should not be penalized.


Breast prominent, chest floor-wide, well sprung ribs, wide across the loin, quarters thick and deep, broad full hips, well rounded fleshy rump. Straight, level topline with the tail set level with the spine. When viewed from the rear, tail should run straight off the spine. Straight level underline. Good width between both front and back legs. Legs should be moderate in length in proportion to body size, squarely placed under the body, wide apart and perpendicular when viewed from the rear. Feet should be short toes, deep heeled, level soled. The length of the back, from shoulder to tail set, should be the same or greater than the height of the animal at the shoulder.

Skin and Hair

Skin loose and pliable, hair short and sleek in the summer, longer and thicker in the winter.

Cows: Udder should be well attached, high and wide rear attachment, carried well forward. Teats of medium size, well placed udder, that hang plumb and are equal size. Strong medial suspensory ligament.

Bulls: Well hung testicles of even size, scrotum long and well away from the body.

Weight and Size

Cows: At four years of age, cows should not exceed 850 pounds. Height should be between 36" and 44" at the hip.

Bulls: At four years of age, bulls should not exceed 1,100 pounds. Height should be between 38" and 46" at the hip.

Overly large and tall animals or extremely small, short animals are to be strongly discouraged as suitable breeding stock. Dexters in Canada are eligible for registration in accordance with the rules set out in the Canadian Dexter Cattle Association Constitution.