Q&A

If you have any questions which are not answered below, please email the appropriate person on the Contacts page and we will answer as quickly as we can.


Q1. Can anyone join the Dexter Cattle Society NZ?

Anyone with an interest in Dexter Cattle can join the Society.  Please contact our Membership Secretary or see the How to Join page for more information.

Q2. How do I buy Dexter Cattle?

Below is a flow chart showing the steps required.  Click on the image for a larger version:



A selection of cattle are listed in the Market Place on this website. Secondly, you can contact your Area Representative and they will try to help.

Q3. What do I need to do to ensure that I buy bona fide (registerable) Dexter Cattle?

You need to ensure that the person you are buying from is a current member of the DCSNZ, that you join the Society and that the animals that you are purchasing are registered. 

All cattle must be registered by the breeder.  You cannot buy unregistered cattle and register them later.

Q4. What colours of Dexter Cattle are there?

Black is the most common colour, followed by Red and then Dun.

Tony Cutten (member #59) presented this excellent Powerpoint presentation at the 2016 AGM in Nelson (8MB download).

Q5. What grades of Dexter Cattle are there?

There are 5 grades of Dexter Cattle.

Grade 1 - is half Dexter and half another breed of cattle.

Grade 2 - comprises 75% Dexter and 25% another breed. The Sire must be a registered pure bred Dexter and the Dam is a Grade 1.

Grade 3 - comprises 83% Dexter and 17% another breed.  The Sire must be a registered pure bred Dexter and the Dam a Grade 2.

Grade 4 - comprises 92% Dexter and 8% another breed.  The Sire must be a registered pure bred Dexter and the Dam a Grade 3. Grade 4 cows (females) are registered as pure bred cattle.  Bulls must be classified as Grade 5 to be registerable and must have a certified DNA Certificate.

Grade 5 - is a pure bred animal.

From a Grade 3 heifer you can produce a pure bred heifer.  From a Grade 4/pure bred heifer you can produce a bull.

The purity of the bloodline can be improved by breeding with pure bred animals.

Q6. How do I buy a Bull?

All Bulls must be registered and DNA profiled. If buying a bull, it is the purchaser's responsibility to ensure that all the correct paperwork is in order.  The vendor must register the bull and have it DNA profiled.  This cannot be done by the purchaser.

Currently there is no mandatory requirement  for heifers to be DNA profiled.  The bloodline of the heifer is taken on the good word of the breeder,  Prospective purchasers of cattle cannot always verify the bloodline of the Dam and hence cannot register cattle that they haven't bred. 

A reputable vendor will have no problems or issues with registering cattle that they wish to sell, as they will want to maintain their reputation.  All DCSNZ members will be prepared to follow these requirements.

Further information on Registrations and Transfers is here.

Q7. Why do I have to bother with keeping and looking after paperwork from the Society?

The paperwork generated by the Herd Registrar is important as it provides proof of your cattle's status.  For example, if you have a bull and it dies, the Herd Registrar must be notified.  There is an online form provided for this purpose.

Further information on Registrations and Transfers is here.

Q8. Why do animals need to have NAIT ear tags?

The Herd Registrar requires a NAIT tag number on a registration form, so that the animal can be registered correctly, and so that the DCSNZ registration number correlates with the NAIT tag number.  Cattle can lose tags and therefore by recording both numbers the authenticity of the animals registered can be maintained.  In July 2012, the use of NAIT tags became a legal requirement for cattle.

Q9. Who is responsible for notification of transfer of ownership of animals sold and how much does it cost?

All Transfers to other DCSNZ members are to be paid for, and submitted by, the Seller who must be a financial member at the time of sale.  Within 30 days of sale the cost is $15; afterwards the cost rises to $30.

If the transfer is to a non-member, no fee is payable.

There is an online form provided for this purpose.

Q10. What should I do when a registered animal dies or is culled?

The Herd Registrar needs to be notified so that the animal's entry in the registry can be updated to reflect the new status e.g. Culled.

There is an online form provided for this purpose.

Q11. What is Facial Eczema?

Caused by spores in the grass, animals become hyper-sensitive to light, the liver is damaged and the skin starts peeling off. This is quite a complex subject, so we have made it into a PDF file. Click here to download.

Q12. What is Chondrodysplasia?

Also known as the 'Bulldog' gene, this is quite a complex subject, so we have made it into a PDF file with photographs and all information regarding tests (550kB).  Click here to download.

Q13. What is PHA?

Causes 'Waterbaby' calves, which are usually aborted prematurely. This is quite a complex subject, so we have made it into a PDF file with photographs (300kB). Click here to download.

Q14. What are BVD, Lepto and Neospora, and how do they affect Beef cattle?

Leptospirosis (Lepto) is caused by a bacteria with many different species and strains affecting different animals. It is a serious disease which humans can get from animals with farmers, vets and meat workers being at highest risk of infection.  The bacteria survives in wet soil and stagnant water for months and can enter animals through the soft tissues of the eyes, nose, mouth and genital tract.  Infection can cause different conditions such as destruction of blood cells (seen as red urine in calves), kidney problems, and mastitis are seen following infection.  It is also an important cause of late pregnancy abortions, stillbirths, birth of weak/premature calves and retained membranes after calving.  An effective vaccine is available a widely used in dairy herds which reduces the severity of disease and provides protection for people in contact with animals.

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is caused by Bovine Viral Diarrhoea virus. It is a complex disease with different effects depending on the animal’s age and stage of pregnancy.  In young stock, scouring, ill thrift, rough coats and a depressed immune system are often seen, and look similar to worms. In pregnant cattle, a range of effects can be seen with infection, from early loss of pregnancy, abortions, birth defects, stillbirths and weak calves, through to persistently infected calves. The persistently infected (or PI) calf carries the infection for life, providing the source of infection for the herd.  Bulls that become infected suffer from decreased fertility for at least 8 weeks and if introduced to a herd that has not been exposed to BVD they can have devastating effects on reproduction.  The virus is released in every bodily fluid of infected animals, can be carried across fences and survives for up to 7 days in the environment or on contaminated objects. For more information check out www.controlbvd.org.nz

Neospora is a protozoan parasite, much like toxoplasma. Like toxoplasma another animal is involved in the parasite lifecycle and infection of cows is through contact with dog faeces, which leads to formation of cysts in muscle, nerves and placenta. Infection during pregnancy leads to either the birth of a carrier calf, or abortion of the foetus. Abortions often occur between the 5th and 7th month of pregnancy and can involve many cows in a short time. Concurrent infection with BVD triples the risk of abortion
A 2008 survey on New Zealand farms, looking at effects of reproductive diseases on pregnancy rates in beef herds found 65% of herds had active BVD infection, with high challenge in young stock indicating the presence of persistently infected animals on the farm. BVD was shown to reduce pregnancy rates by 5% in herds with established infections, and up to 15% if severe infection occurs.  Around half of the herds were infected with Neospora, with the majority of the young stock on these farms infected.
Over half of the herds were infected with Leptospirosis with less than 10% of beef herds being vaccinated.

DCSNZ would like to thank Dr William Cuttance for providing this article.