Cow Breeds

The different breeds of cows are mainly classified as taurine, zebu and hybrids. A short account of various cow breeds is presented in this article.
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Cow is a widely domesticated animal the world over. The word cattle is generally used when referring to cows. Cows along with goats are mostly used for dairy products. There are 800 breeds of cattle worldwide and their approximate population is 1.3 billion. It is also the first livestock animal whose genome has been mapped.

Different Cow Breeds

Carolus Linnaeus classified cattle into three species under the genus, Bos; species that come under this genus are Bos indicus (Zebu), Bos taurus (Taurine) and Bos primigenius. Creation of hybrids by crossing the zebu and taurine species is possible. These cattle species have also been crossed with bison and yaks. Attempts to cross them with buffaloes however, has not attained success. Now, let us have a look at different breeds of cows through this article.

Ayrshires: The Ayreshire cows have shades of white and red. Their origin can be traced back to Ayrshire county in Scotland. Some of the Ayrshires also possess roan and brindle colors. Average weight of an adult Ayrshire cow is 100-1300 pounds. These cows are suited for dairy purposes due to their ability to efficiently convert grass into milk. They are physically strong and easy to raise. Average milk production of Ayrshire cows as recorded in ABA programs (2002) is 17,230 pounds. Fat and protein extracts obtained from Ayrshire cows are 665 and 542 pounds respectively. Ayrshire cows are better in udder conformation than other breeds; these cows are less likely to suffer from leg and foot problems.

Guernsey: The Guernsey cows are mainly observed in shades of white or fawn; sometimes you see both colors in patches. Milk of Guernseys is known for their rich quality. Beta carotene present in the body of Guernsey cows gives their milk slightly golden in appearance. These cows are docile and hardy. The annual average milk production of Guernsey cows is 16,200 pounds. Proteins & fat percentage of milk is 3.2 and 4.5 respectively. Weight of an adult Guernsey cow is about 1000 pounds. Farmers prefer this cow over other breeds for qualities like high efficiency of milk production, longevity and lesser problems associated with calving. Calm nature of Guernsey cows can be handled quite easily in a dairy farm.

Holstein: This breed originated in what is today's Netherlands. The Holstein breed evolved mostly in the region present on either side of 'Zuiderzee' (bay to the northwest of Netherlands in the North Sea). Import of Holstein breeds to the USA took place in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The skin coat of Holstein cows is marked with white and black patches. This cow breed is known for high milk efficiency.

Jersey: It is named after the island where it originated; the island of Jersey is the biggest in the British Channel. This cow breed is one of the smallest with a reddish body color. Weight of adult jersey cows range from 800-1200 pounds. High butterfat is the specialty of milk produced by this cow. Jersey cows are docile and also adaptable to hot climatic conditions. These breeds have the hardiness to survive in the hottest regions of Brazil.

List of Cow Breeds

Cows are primarily classified into Taurine, Zebu and miniature breeds. Different breeds from these categories are listed in the tables below.

Taurine Cattle

Abigar Agerolese Alderney
Angeln Aulie-Ata Australian Friesian Sahiwal
Belgian Red Cattle Blaarkop Burlina
Chinese black pied Danish Jersey Danish Red and variants
Dutch Belted East Anatolian Red Evolene Cattle
German Black Pied Cattle Groningen Red Holstein
Icelandic Illawarra Cattle Israeli Holstein
Kerry Cattle Lineback Milking Shorthorn
Murnau-Werdenfels Cattle Northern Shorthorn Swedish Freisan
Swedish Red Cattle Ringamala Cattle Tux Cattle
Abondance Adamawa Ala Tau
Albanian Allmogekor American White Park
Anatolian Black Angeln Cattle Angus Cattle
Argentine Criollo Armorican Arouquesa Cattle
Asturian Mountain Asturian Valley Aubrac Cattle
Aulie-Atta Aure et Saint-Girons Avilena
Balancer Cattle Barrosa Cattle Beef Freisan
Belgian Blue Belgian Red Berrenda
Betizu Blonde d'Aquitaine Blanca Cacerena
Braunvieh British Friesian British White
Bue Lingo Busa Cattle Cachena
Caldelana Camargue Canadienne
Canaria Cardena andaluza Carinthian Blondvieh
Carora Chianina Charolais
Corriente Cattle Danish Red Devon
Dexter Dolafe Dulong'
Dutch Belted Dutch Friesian Eastern Finncattle
English Longhorn Ennstal Mountain Pied Cattle Fighting bull
Finnish Cattle Fjall Cattle Fleckvieh
French Simmental Galician Blond Galloway Cattle
Gascon Cattle Gelbvieh Georgian mountain Cattle
German Red Pied Glan Cattle Gloucester
Greek Shorthorn Harton del Valle Harz Red mountain Cattle
Herens Highland Cattle Hinterwald Cattle
Holando-Argentino Hungarian Grey Irish Moiled
Istoben Cattle Jutland Cattle Kalmyk
Kazakh Whiteheaded Kerry Cattle Kholmogory
Kostroma Cattle Kurgan Latvian Brown
Levantina Limiana Limousin
Lithunian Red Lourdais Maine Anjou
Mantequera Leonesa Maremmana Maronesa
Mashona Marchigiana Menorquina
Meuse-Rhine-Issel Milking Devon Milking Shorthorn
Mirandesa Cattle Monchina Mongolian Cattle
Montbeliard Cattle Morucha Murboden Cattle
N'Dama Negra Andaluza Normande Cattle
Northern Finncattle Norwegian Red Pajuna
Palmera Parda Alpina Parthenais
Pasiega Pembroke Cattle Philippine Native Cattle
Pie Rouge des Plaines Piedmontese Pineywoods
Pinzgauer Pirenaica Polish Red Cattle
Qinchaun Ramo Grande Randall
Ratische Grauvieh Red Poll Red Polled Ostland
Red Angus Reina Retinta
Romagnola cattle Russian Black Pied Yanbian Cattle
Salers Shetland Cattle Shorthorn
Simmental South Devon Swedish Red-and-White
Swedish Red Poll Tarentaise Telemark Cattle
Texas Longhorn Toro de Lidia Tswana Cattle
Tudanca Tuli Cattle Turkish Grey Steppe Cattle
Tyrolese Grey Cattle Vestland Fjord Vorderwald Cattle
Vosges Wagyu Western Finncattle
Western Red Polled White Caceres White Park

Zebu

Achham Red Sindhi Butana and Kenana Gobra
Vechoor cow Sahiwal Ankole-Watusi Gir
Afrikander African Boran Brahman Fulani Sudanese
Dajal Dhanni Gudali Guzerat
Halikar Hariana Horro Kangayam
Kankrej Krishna Valley Cattle Lohani Cattle Madagascar Zebu
Masai Cattle Nelore Cattle Ongole Cattle Rath
Rathi Vianesa Rohjan Tharparkar

Hybrids

Amerifax Brahmousin Estonian Red cattle Groningen
Hybridmaster Illawara Israeli Red Jamaica Black
Karan Swiss Limpurger Madura Cattle Nguni
Sanhe Selembu Siboney Xingjiang Brown
Jamaica Hope Australian Milking Zebu - -

Miniature Cow Breeds

Nowadays, miniature cow breeds are becoming popular on small farms; these are created by crossing those with strains of Dexter and Zebu. The 'International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society and Registry' undertakes the work of recording minituare cattle breeds. Categories of these breeds of small cow registered with this organization are enlisted in the following table.

American Beltie Auburnshire Australian Kyrhet
Miniature Angus Barbee Belmont
Black Baldie Burienshire Covingtonshire
Dexter Belted Milking Dexter Durham/Shorthorn
Four Breed Grad-Wohl Five Breed Grad-Wohl Happy Mountain
Hereford Highland Lessor Jersey
Belted Lessor Jersey Kentshire Red Kentshire
Kingshire Panda Zebu
Texas Longhorn Open Breeds -

The different breeds of cows are a source thar provide us with nutrients in the form of milk. In most the developing countries, old, crippled and diseased cows are sent to slaughter houses as a result of the owner's inability to care for them. It is necessary to support this harmless and docile creature in their old age so as to preserve cow breeds. It is also a nice way to repay these creatures for their invaluable service to mankind.
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Last Updated: September 28, 2011
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Comments
1) weight of adult zebu cows ranges from 200-400 kg.
2) average milk yield of Sahiwal and Red Sindhi (commonly used zebu cattle) is around 2000 kg/lactation.
- Shashank [May 17, 2010]
Any chance of including how much milk a Zebu cow produces and how many pounds they normally grow to? - Laura [May 15, 2010]
i didn't find what i was looking for but i still learnt a lot so thanks for that. - Chevonne' [May 12, 2010]
i found out what i needed thanks - aydin [May 2, 2010]
i think that this website is very useful for the project that I am doing in school - Kayluuh :) [March 5, 2010]
How Much do Illawara cows Weigh? - Carro [February 25, 2010]