Dexter is one of the oldest European breeds whose history dates back to the Stone Age. Dexter comes from southern and southwest Ireland, where it has spread between small farms in mountain areas. The breed was known as "poorman's cow". The earliest official records of this cattle (according to the Royal Dublin Society) date back to 1879. A year later, a herd book was published. The breed was exported from the country of origin to several areas of England for the first time in 1882. It had quickly gained popularity there, so only in ten years the Dexter / Kerry Cattle Society was founded. Whereas it had gradually almost disappeared from the Irish pastures, it has been continuously maintained as a pure breed in a number of small herds in England.
Dexter is originally a combined breed, but most breeders focus on one-sided performance and use. The Dexter breeding in the Czech Republic is mostly focused on meat production. It is the smallest European breed of cattle commonly found it two main types: long-legged and short-legged. These types are depended on the presence of the chondroplasia gene. Long-term types do not carry the gene, short-term types are heterozygous for this gene. Animals with both genes for chondroplasia are born dead and disfigured - the so-called bulldogs. It is therefore important to avoid cross-breeding of short-legged Dexters. Since long-legged Dexters are similar looking to short-legged Dexters, the genetic profile testing of them is necessary to determine the type.