Halters for Dexter Cattle

Halters are an issue for Dexter Cattle.

Those found in the feed stores are conformed for standard-size cattle. And they’re not exactly ‘ willing participants ‘ when it comes to adjusting down for the conformation of Dexters.

You’ll hear many opinions from Dexter Owners. We found a very healthy pool of advice for helping us make up our minds regarding what type of halters we choose to use at our place.

Artist just received a new Halter today. So – I hope this posting will help new Dexter Owners in their own processing over such matters. And believe me – this should matter.

I am only 4′ 11 in height – at the age of 52 years old. Most of my ability to maintain control over my animals relies on a mental understanding between them and myself. Very rarely have I had to lay a hand of force on my boys.

I give a great deal of credit for my success to our choice of using the Thomas’ Dexter Control Halters.

It only makes common sense to me – that animals bigger than me can learn there are times when they can pull rank on me – depending on what type of halter they wear. I’m not willing to even try facing that worst-case scenario.

We stick with only using the Control Halters. Consistency pays off. It’s just much easier and relaxing for us all – human and animal.

My husband and I live here – alone. We have no help for running this place. We can’t afford to lose our hands to nylon rope burns, etc.. A recent Diagnosis of Spondylolisthesis requires I stay focused on common sense – and every move I make. And yes. In that order. Otherwise – I face some really serious surgery that could put me out of commission for a long time.

Many claim these halters are more expensive. However – even as recent as this past week – I compared prices and found similar control halters priced an average of $3 more – and made with cheaper materials.

Many claim you can ‘ compromise ‘ with Goat Nylon Halters, etc.. An investment in the Control Halter adds a huge benefit to your over-all training for developing a very strong – secure – well established relationship and understanding with your Dexters.

For instance – Artist has come to understand that he can’t go over to the other paddock unless he’s wearing his halter. His wish to go to the other paddock has helped me with gaining his cooperation anytime I need to put on his halter – for any reason.

It also makes the task of leading him back to the barn much easier. All I need to do is grab that ring and ‘ click ‘ that lead rope right onto the control chin chain.

To get my Bull back to his other paddock – he has learned that he must walk with me – on the lead rope – if he wants his grain for that evening. And if he’s good enough – he’ll get a brushing. And he loves to be brushed and combed!

Progress has reached a point in the evenings – to the point that we can leave the lead rope on the ground while we close the gate. He just stands there – patiently waiting for us.

Just the sound of that chain clinking can help. Sharp tugs on the chain to make it clink a certain amount of times can help you train so many commands. In the beginning – use certain words with the number of clinks. Soon – they learn to recognize the clinks without the words.

One at a time – until you can tell they’re getting it – followed by praising them. My choice for praising is throwing a little ‘ quiet  verbal party ‘ loaded with a bunch of ” Good boy! Good Boy! Yay, Artist! You did it! Alright! ” – along with rubbing the surrounding vicinity of his brisket ( the chest area down to just in between his two front legs ).

They love to discover they have learned something you’re trying to teach them. Keep an eye on their facial expressions when they look at you – that very moment you begin dishing out that praise!

Mind you. This is our Bull – currently 3 days away from turning 8 months old. The same Bull that has already come into fertility and recently discovered the ‘ scent ‘ of the ladies in the neighborhood.

Don’t get me wrong. Artist is testing in many ways. But he is learning. We are succeeding. That separate relationship we will always keep – is coming together very well.

Thomas’ Dexter Halters – (Left to Right) Sizes Xtra Small – Small – Medium

Take a good look at the above photo.

The first two halters from the left are the halters that Artist has already out-grown since coming here on April 19, 2012. Those are Xtra Small – and Small – sizes.

We were at the last holes on the buckles by the time I ordered new halters from Sandi. They’re both about to go into the wash for cleaning. Directions for cleaning them are here.

I placed a pint-size Ball canning jar in the above photo to help give a sense of the size of each halter.

The red halter on the right is a Medium size halter – same as the new one I just put on Artist today. Hard to believe he’s moved into his 3rd halter in less than 5 months!

Even with this new Bling I put on him today – I had to use the 3rd hole from the top of the 5 holes on the neck band and buckle.

Much of that has to do with Artist being a Bull – and his particular stature carried down through his tree. Ya’ get longer wear and tear with the Cows and the Steers!

But I got lucky here – only having to use the first hole on the jowl band and buckle.


It was amazing to see the difference!

He looks so much more comfortable!

Even when he stretches his head into the air – sniffing for the scent of the ladies!

As with the xtra small halter – Artist had reached the last holes on the small halter this past Monday. Sandi is great about getting the new halters into the mail quickly – which is a huge help!

You must check their halters on a daily basis. When they don’t wear them every day – be sure to check them every single time you put them on your animals. Dexters are notorious for growing out of their halters almost overnight. By the time you reach the last hole – get that next size ordered – right then. If not – sooner.

There is much more to a Halter – beyond simply buckling one on to cattle.

If you use your imagination – thinking down the road and into the future – you can make the best use of that Thomas’ Dexters Control Halter for your Dexter Cattle – in a lot more of your training – and in ways that can help you establish a very comfortable and stable relationship between you and your animals.


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3 Responses to Halters for Dexter Cattle

  1. avwalters says:

    But do they make halters for emus?


  2. Margaret Bovee says:

    I have a 2 month old heifer calf that I need to halter train. She used to let us pet/brush her but not anymore since we de-horned her. She will sometimes touch my hand but she doesn’t want me to touch her. I perfectly understand. So, how am I going to put a halter on her? I am also in my 50’s and not in the best of shape. I really don’t want to wrestle with her. Any suggestions?


    • Your best bet would be to lure her inside an enclosed stall and use that for a work area. I would not push the issue until you have a halter to fit her with. The control halters from Thomas’ Dexters are the best for training. You can leave them on the calves. However, Dexters grow fast and it’s imperative that you check the fitting of the halter on a daily basis. Slow – steady – quiet. Speak only when she does what you want and then it should be lots of praise. We learned of a ‘sweet spot’ that you can massage to get them to calm down. The area on their back where their shoulders meet is where all their nerves also meet. Massaging that area is like massaging their entire body. And they come to enjoy that a lot, the more you practice using that trick. It takes time and patience. But one way you can always get back in her good graces is to give her a special snack every time you have to treat her for any reason. We usually give the calves about a cup of their calf starter with a couple tablespoons of molasses mixed in. Use buzz words. We always keep mentioning that they’ll get a treat for being a good boy/girl. Retention levels of Dexters is very high. They don’t forget much of anything. Routine is important when it comes to lead and halter training and use. We’ve worked really hard with our animals and had a lot of wonderful success. I’ll get a post done with some photos in the next couple of days! Stay in touch! And don’t become discouraged. Oh… and that bit about not wanting you to touch her since her dehorning…. she’s playing you like a fiddle! Show her who is boss!


Please feel free to leave comments or questions about Dexter Cattle! We'll be more than happy to answer your questions to the best of our knowledge and/or according to our own personal experiences! If we don't know the answer... we'll do our best to put you in touch with one of our American Dexter Cattle Association Members that may be able to help you!

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