White Dexter Miniature Cattle – History of the Breed


The start of the breed was the breeding of a Registered White Park bull named Noah [certainly an appropriate name for a new beginning] to ten Registered (Black) Dexter cows at Smiling Johnsons Dexter Headquarters in Elkhart Kansas. Marvin Johnson was the American Dexter Cattle Association Region 6 Director in the 1990’s. He like many others breeders were looking for crosses of the Dexter breed that might appeal to the commercial cattle market.

As it turned out he had produced some of the cutest calves we had ever seen. I had to have one. My husband graciously allowed me to obtain one of those heifers and the painfully slow upgrading process began. That heifer produced us two black bull calves before finally giving us our first white upgrade and it was a bull. We named him Mighty Whitey; our enthusiasm for the upgrade program was renewed. We made another trip out to Marvin’s to buy an unrelated white crossbred heifer.

By this time I had been elected the Region 6 director and since the ADCA did not acknowledge known upgrades to the breed, we felt it ethical to get the upgrade program animals off of the ranch. We sold the breeding stock to Richard and Arlene Gradwohl, as they had contract breeders with Registered Dexter cows awaiting semen from the 7/8th upgraded bull. Richard and Arlene established a registry and trademarked the White Dexter name. After I was no longer serving as an ADCA Director we felt free to get back to our White Dexter upgrade program. We bought semen from the bull we had sold to Gradwohls two years earlier, and bred our Registered Dexter cows.

White Dexters Two Years Later

Two years after the introduction of White Dexters to the bovine world we would like to report that the dream is being realized by several new owners. The first advertising of our new color to this old breed was in 2014, and there were only two breeders in Kansas. There are now White Dexter breeders in 12 states living the dream. Some have bought black and red breeding stock heifers (born from Registered Dexter cows and White bulls), and they will have White Dexter bulls covering those heifers next year. Some have purchased White Dexter heifers and they will be getting their White bulls next year, to breed to their yearling heifers. Some breeders already had herds of Reg. Dexter cows and they purchased Reg. White Dexter bulls, helping to increase the numbers of calves that were available in 2016.

There is still a waiting list for the calves here in the US, plus breeders in 5 foreign countries waiting on the semen and embryos.

We have introduced the polled genes from several different bloodlines and we were blessed with a heterogygous polled bull in 2015 (that is now covering some White Dexter cows). In 2016 we have been blessed with 9 polled calves. So homogygous polled White Dexters are in the near future!