Miniature Highland Dexter are exceptional creatures first bred and introduced by Jan’s Toyland Farm.
In 1996, Jan’s Toyland Farm decided to cross the Scottish Highland Miniature with the Irish Dexter Miniature in order to get the best of both worlds from these breeds.
We chose the Highland cattle because they are cute and loveable, but found that Miniature Highland cows were few and far between. Unable to locate an acceptable, small (true miniature) Highland bull to breed our cow, we chose to artificially inseminate her with semen from a small Dexter bull. This proved very successful, and as the size came down and the Highland look remained, we were rewarded with the Miniature High-Dex cattle line.
After a decade of breeding we are now getting calves born as small as 14″ tall and about 35″ full grown. We try to keep our herd under 20 cows so we can work with them closely and keep them gentle enough to eat out of our hand and let us pet them.
Our High-Dex hybrid cattle are foraging, dual-purpose (milk AND meat) animals ideal for homestead farms or where acreage is limited.
About Highland Cattle
Miniature Highland cows are dual purpose and ideal homestead cattle. They reach a maximum height of 42 inches. They are double coated, similar to Galloways and bison. Their outer coat is long, course hair but the inner coat is soft and down-like, which they shed in summer and, by some accounts, can be spun like wool. Most Highlands are red or blond colored and are most recognizable by their long shaggy hair and forelock. The miniature cows have long, forward curving red tipped horns, while bull horns are shorter and usually extend straight out from the head. The breed is highly adaptable, and are raised from Alaska to Texas. Although gentle and laid back, the Highlands maintain a strong ancient instinct to protect their herd and their territory. At the time of this writing there has not been a single reported wolf kill of a Highland anywhere in North America. They do not require especially good summer pasture or especially good hay in winter. In fact they thrive in places where some other cattle would die. They are natural foragers and are at least as good as goats for clearing undergrowth and low hanging leaves. Their meat is very lean and low in cholesterol. Their milk is about two to three gallons a day. They even occasionally find work as movie extras in films set in medieval times.
About Irish Dexter
The Irish Dexter (American Dexter) is a naturally miniature breed. It is believed to have evolved from ancient miniature cattle in central Europe which were brought together as a herd in the Mountains of Ireland. The first Dexters were brought to America in 1905 and the Dexter registry was formed in 1911. They are both meat and milk producers, averaging from 1.5 to 3 gallons per day. They thrive on one-half acre of good grass and have even been successfully used as draft animals. Cows registered with the American Dexter Cattle Association measure between 36 to 42 inches at the shoulder at three years of age and weigh approximately 750 lbs. Bulls can be slightly larger, from 38 to 44 inches and weigh around 1,000 lbs. Their colors are black, red and dun. Heifers can be mated early, at fifteen to eighteen months. They are known for easy calving, and a cow’s breeding life can be up to fourteen years.
The Mini High-Dex cow represents the best of both breeds: the smaller size of an Irish Dexter with the preferred appearance and demeanor of the Highland. We’re sure you’ll agree that our Highland-Dexter hybrids are a smashing success!