What are the breeds of cattle? Information on the Most Known and Common Cattle Breeds


What are the breeds of cattle? Information on tropical breeds, breeds of temperate climates and cattle species.

There are two obvious breed groups of cattle in the world: the humped cattle, or zebu (Bos indicus), group which are found in tropical regions, and the breeds which descended from an extinct wild type, the aurochs (Bos primigenius), and are now found throughout the temperate regions of the world.

Anatomy and Physiology of Cattle (Digestive System and External Anatomy)

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The zebu with its long face, steep horns, and hump appears to have developed in the tropics during the earliest times of domestication. Zebu breeds are now distributed throughout tropical Africa and Asia. The hump, which consists of muscle tissue, is a genetically fixed characteristic of these cattle, and it is already well developed in the calf at birth. Its function is unknown.

Principal breeds in the zebu tropical group include the Red Sinhi, Sahiwal, Dhonne, Kankrej (Guzerat), Gir, Krishna Valley, and Nellore of India and Pakistan; the Ankole, Ngonda, Boran, Africander, and Jiddu of Africa; the Damascus and Iraqui of the Middle East; the Khurasani, Kuronem, and Tajik of the Tajikistan; the Chinese Yellow of China; and the Indo-Brazil of South America. All of these breeds have distinguishing characteristics. The nature and diversity of these characteristics are suggested in the following examples.


Found in southern Ethiopia and adjoining parts of Somalia and Kenya, Boran cattle have been selected for their beef qualities, particularly on ranches in northern Kenya. Mature cows weigh from 760 to 920 pounds (345-420 kg) and bulls from 1,180 to 1,440 pounds (535-650 kg). They are usually white or gray, but occasicjnally are red or spotted. The cows produce moderate amounts of milk.



The Sahiwal is a zebu milking breed of India and Pakistan. Cattle of this breed are usually reddish brown with white markings. They are low set and well muscled. Cows weigh about 900 pounds (410 kg) and bulls about 1,200 pounds (545 kg). Milk production is usually about 5,000 pounds (2,275 kg) a year, but some cows have produced more than 10,000 pounds (4,540 kg) in a single year. The butterfat content is from 4.3 to 6%. The Sahiwal has been introduced into many tropical countries, including the Philippines, and it has been crossed with the Jersey breed to produce the Jamaica Hope breed of Jamaica.

Kankrej. The Kankrej is another zebu breed found in India and Pakistan. Known as the Guzerat breed in the United States, it was used in the development of the Brahman breed. Kankrej cattle are gray and have lyre-shaped horns. They are approximately the same size as Sahiwal cattle, but they do not produce as much milk.

Krishna Valley.

The Krishna Valley breed is one of several short-horned zebu breeds of India and Pakistan. Cattle of this breed are deep and blocky and vary in color from white to gray. Cows weigh about 700 pounds (320 kg) and bulls about 1200 pounds (545 kg). Krishna Valley cattle have been developed primarily for draft purposes; their milk production is only about one half as much as the Sahiwal.


A striking breed of zebu cattle, Dhonne cattle have Dalmatian-like spots. Native to the northern portion of West Pakistan, they are similar in size and milk production to the Krishna Valley breed. They too are most prized as draft animals.


The Ankole breed of cattle, found in Uganda and adjacent areas of East Africa, is known for its extremely long horns. These horns extend from the head at right angles to the body and then curve upward. The distance between the tips of the homs is sometimes as much as 52 inches (1.3 meters).


Bos primigenius is considered to be the wild cattle from which most of the domesticated breeds in the temperate climates of the world have evolved. These now extinct cattle were commonly known as “aurochs.” Their external appearance is well known. The bulls were large, up to 6)2 feet (2 meters) at the shoulder, and they often had very long horns. The bull was black with a light stripe along the back and light curly hair between the horns, while the cows were mostly brownish red, occasionally diffused with black. As early as 2500 b. c. there were already several well-characterized breeds which descended from the aurochs. One of these, the Bos longifrons, is considered by some as the source of present Alpine, Jersey, and Shorthorn cattle.

Today there are more than 250 recognized cattle breeds in the world. The most important of these are grouped into three major classes according tc> their use: beef, dual purpose, and dairy.


Beef Breeds.

Many of the most important and best-known breeds of beef cattle found in the temperate regions of the world are derived from breeds that originated in Britain. These breeds have spread throughout much of the temperate world and have gradually developed into many local breeds. In the 20th century, several new beef breeds were also developed in the United States.


Cattle of the Aberdeen-Angus breed are distinguished from most other breeds by their black color, smooth haircoats, and polled, or hornless, heads. They have short legs, short compact bodies, well-developed backs and loins, and wide, deep rear quarters. They produce carcasses of high quality and are well known for the marbling, or dispersion, of fat in their meat.

Aberdeen-Angus cattle are well liked by cattlemen because they mature early and bring top prices. The cows produce adequate milk to support a calf. Because of their black skin pigment, they show a marked resistance to eye troubles that plague many beef cattle. Mature cows may weigh as much as 1,600 pounds (725 kg) and bulls as much as 2,000 pounds (900 kg).

Originating in the northeastern part of Scotland, Aberdeen-Angus cattle descended from two polled strains known as Angus doddies and Buchan humlies. Crossing and recrossing of these strains with selection for beef production eventually led to the Aberdeen-Angus breed. They were first imported into the United States in 1873. They were crossed with Texas Longhoms and the resulting offspring made such a favorable impression that further importations were made. The breed developed most rapidly in the Corn Belt states, but recently it has been growing in popularity in the Eastern states and in the western range country.

Angus cattle are also numerous in Canada, Argentina, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia. They are also raised in Russia and are used for producing crossbreeds in Japan.


Hereford cattle are very commonly referred to as “white-faced” cattle. Their white faces and their red body color have become distinctive trademarks. The superior meat qualities of Hereford cattle over the meat of early Longhorns and of other nondescript cattle coming to the market so impressed cattle buyers that the mere presence of the white face on cattle was taken as an indication of higher value.

Ranchers like the sturdy qualities of Hereford cattle and their adaptability to range conditions. Herefords can withstand the heat and drought of many semiarid regions and can endure the cold of the exposed range in the winter. They can walk long distances to water and will scatter themselves over the areas where grass is available. They have also proved their ability to put on flesh rapidly in the feedlots.

Hereford cattle originated in the area of England known as Herefordshire, where excellent grass and meadow crops favored their development. In the 16th and 17th centuries they were valued primarily as draft animals and were slaughtered for meat only after their useful life was finished. They were extremely large solid red cattle with widespread horns.

In the mid-18th century a group of breeders began to develop the meat producing qualities of these cattle. They reduced the extreme size of the breed and improved their symmetry, thickness, and smoothness. Cows now weigh about 1,500 pounds (680 kg) and bulls about 1,900 pounds (860 kg). Breeders also fixed the white-face characteristic along with white on the top of the neck, breast, underline, lower legs, and lower part of the tail.

Herefords are raised in large numbers in Britain, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. They are also raised to some extent in the Russia.

Henry Clay is credited with being one of the first importers of Herefords into the United States in 1817. As a result of many later importations and the favorable acceptance of the qualities of Herefords on the western ranges, the breed spread rapidly throughout the country. Later in the 19th century, a few United States breeders developed hornless breeds of Hereford cattle that have become increasingly popular and are known as Polled Herefords.



The Shorthorn is the heaviest breed of beef cattle: the bulls may reach a weight of 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg), and the cows may weigh as much as 1,700 pounds (770 kg). They are more rectangular in form than most beef cattle. Their haircoat is most often various shades of red, but roan, a mixture of red and white, is also common. They may also be completely white or may be spotted with red and white.

The Shorthorn breed of cattle originated in the English counties of Northumberland, Durham, York, and Lincoln, but their first real development occurred in the valley of the Tees River, and they became known as Teeswater cattle. Teeswater cattle were large and had wide backs and deep, wide forequarters. They produced liberal amounts of milk and fattened quickly when fed liberally. They were introduced into northern Scotland in the 19th century and were intensively developed by breeders in that area. They were gradually introduced into many other countries and are raised extensively in North and South America, New Zealand, and Australia. They are also found in certain areas of France and the Russia.

The first importation of Shorthorns from England into the United States was made in 1783, but the more influential importations were made between 1817 and 1850. Most of these cattle were imported into Kentucky and Ohio. The cattle were fattened on grass and corn and then driven overland to Philadelphia and Baltimore markets. About 1850 the popularity of certain bloodlines of Shorthorns increased, and modest fortunes were made and lost in the boom of prices and their subsequent collapse as the popularity disappeared.

Scotch Shorthorns were first imported into the United States in 1857. These cattle became more popular than other bloodlines, and Scotch Shorthorns soon became widely distributed throughout the Central states. They were also used to some extent on the western ranges.

Shorthorn cattle are considered to have mild dispositions that make them easy to handle. They are well known for their milking ability as compared to other beef breeds. They are particularly adapted to farming areas where there is an abundance of feed. Shorthorns cross well with other breeds for the production of commercial cattle, and some ranchers on the western ranges of the United States have used Shorthorn bulls to improve the size and weight of the calf crop. Shorthorn bulls have also been used in the hot and humid areas of the United States for improving the productivity of native stock and of the Brahman cattle. Their main concentration in the United States is, however, in the corn belt states.


One of the oldest breeds of beef cattle developed in Britain, the Galloway comes from the province of Galloway in Scotland. The breed was introduced into Canada in 1853 and was later brought into the United States.

Black in color and hornless, Galloways resemble Aberdeen-Angus cattle in general appearance except that the coat of the Galloway is usually very curly. The breed was developed for its ability to produce under rigorous range conditions. They have heavy hides for withstanding cold climates, and the calves survive adverse weather at calving time better than those of most other breeds. Their popularity with ranchmen has been limited, however.

Scotch Highland.

The Scotch Highland breed was developed in the mountains of western Scotland, where many of the peaks exceed 4,000 feet (1220 meters) in elevation. The cattle have widespread horns and long shaggy coats of brown hair.

Colors of black, red, and brindle are also not uncommon. Scotch Highland cattle are noted in their native land for their ability to withstand cold temperatures without housing and to survive on scant feed supplies; the cows are good mothers. There have been several importations into the United States, but this breed has been popular among only a few enthusiastic breeders.


Developed in the counties of Sussex and Kent in southern England, Sussex cattle were originally used for draft purposes. As beef cattle they are noted for their rapid growth. They are honied and dark red in color. Outside of England they have been raised most frequently in South Africa, South West Africa, and in Rhodesia. Only a few have been introduced into the United States.


The Charolais is one of the most important breeds of French cattle. Charolais cattle have a reputation for extremely rapid growth and for yielding large amounts of lean beef. They are among the largest of beef cattle. Their color is a light cream or white. Charolais cattle have been introduced into the United States and they are increasing in popularity.



Brahman cattle were developed in the United States as a result of interbreeding four strains of cattle from India: the Guzerat, the Nellore, the Gir, and the Krishna Valley. Indian cattle were first introduced into South Carolina in 1849. Later introductions were made in Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

These cattle were introduced for the specific purpose of crossing them with other breeds that were not well adapted to the subtropical conditions of the Gulf Coast region. Brahmans can withstand hot and humid weather, are resistant to insects, and are free from eye trouble. For a time they were raised primarily in the Gulf Coast region; since 1942, however, they have spread to 46 of the 50 states. As recently as 1946 a group of cattle of Indian descent was brought into Texas from Brazil. No special effort has been made to keep the various strains separate, and they have blended into a single breed, the Brahman. They are now used with success in some of the high western altitudes, including such areas of California, Nevada, and Montana.

Brahman cattle are easy to distinguish lrom all other breeds. Like other zebu cattle they have a distinct hump over the shoulders and an excess of loose skin under the throat, on the dewlap, and in the region of the navel and sheath. The ears are long and drooping. The prevailing color is gray, but red, red spotted with white, gray spotted with white, and even black, brown, or white are not uncommon.

Santa Gertrudis.

The best-known beef breed developed in the United States is the Santa Gertrudis. Its name is derived from the Santa Gertrudis division of the King Ranch in Texas, where the breed was developed. The foundation cattle for the breed were Shorthorn-Brahman crossbreds. After nearly 30 years of selection, inbreeding, and line-breeding, the Santa Gertrudis became the first distinctly American breed to be generally recognized.

Santa Gertrudis cattle are large. Mature cows frequently attain 1,600 pounds (725 kg), and mature bulls often weigh 2,000 pounds (900 kg). They are a deep cherry red in color. Developed purposely for adaptation to subtropical climates and semiarid ranching conditions, they make large gains on grass and can scavenge a living in areas of scant forage. They have been exported to several South and Central American countries and to Africa.
Beefmasters. Beefmasters were developed on the Lasater ranches of Texas and Colorado. The foundation cattle were crosses of Brahman, Hereford, and Shorthorn. In selecting breeding stock, the Lasaters emphasized weight, conformation, thriftiness, milk production, disposition, and fertility. They paid no attention to color, but the majority of Beefmasters are dun, brown, reddish brown, or red with some white.


Another beef breed developed in the United States is the Brangus. Brangus are three-eighths Brahman and five-eighths Angus. They are black and hornless. They were developed to obtain the hardiness of the Brahman for southern conditions and for the meat qualities of the Angus.


The Charbray breed is still in the formative stage. The foundation cattle were produced by crossing Charolaise cattle with Brahman cattle. The resultant Charbray cattle are horned, but the characteristic Brahman hump is almost nonexistent. They are creamy white in color. Cows weigh from 1,700 to 2,200 pounds (770-1,000 kg) and bulls from 2,500 to 3,200 pounds (1125-1450 kg). The breed is being developed for ruggedness and heavy musculature.

Dual-Purpose Cattle.

Many of the cattle breeds found in Russia, Europe, and South America serve two purposes: the production of good quality beef and the production of comparatively large amounts of milk.


The Simmental breed is probably the most important of the dual-purpose breeds. In fact, it is a triple-purpose breed since it is used for draft as well as for beef and milk. Simmental cattle originated in Switzerland and are very numerous throughout Central Europe and the Russia. They are the predominant breed of cattle in Austria, Czechoslovakia, the highlands of Germany, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. They have also been imported into Brazil as well as into North America. They are usually maintained on high mountain pastures during the summer and kept in villages in the winter.

Simmental cattle vary in color from light orange or a straw color to spotted red and solid red. The head is usually white with colored markings on the forehead. Cows weigh about 1,600 pounds (725 kg) and bulls from 2,100 to 2,500 pounds (950-1,135 kg). The average milk production of the cows is about 8,900 pounds (4,050 kg), and the butterfat content is 4%. The males are known for their good beef qualities and for their fast rate of growth.

Red Poll.

Red Poll cows are capable of producing comparatively large amounts of milk, and the calves grow into desirable beef animals. The breed originated from the crossing and merging of the native stocks of Norfolk and Suffolk counties in England. They were first imported into the United States in 1873. Approximately 300 head were imported by 1900, and a few have been imported as recently as 1950.


Red Polls are red in color and hornless, as the name implies. They are medium-sized and intermediate in disposition between the quieter beef cattle and the more active dairy cattle. Very acceptable milk and butterfat production has been attained by individual Red Poll cows, but they do not equal the best cows of the dairy breeds in production. They have proved adaptable to farming conditions where farmers desire to use cattle for both milk and beef. Red Polls are most numerous in the Midwest, but they are also found in the East and in the irrigated areas of the West and in file South. In addition to their homeland and the United States, Red Polls are also found in Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and Norway.


The Devon breed derives its name from the county in England where it was developed. The first importations to North America were made by an agent of the Plymouth Colony in 1623. Later importations were made about 1800 into New England and Maryland. At the present time the greatest number of Devons in the United States are in the South, particularly in the Gulf states. Devons are also found in South America and in Australia.

Devons are smaller than some other British breeds. They are red in color and usually horned. They appear to thrive in humid regions. Devon cows are considered to be good milk producers, and some owners claim that this breed can produce young, tender beef from grass and that it does not need feeding in the feedlot.

Milking Shorthorn.

The Milking Shorthorn is a variety of the Shorthorn breed that developed from the Shorthorns that remained in England as contrasted to the beef Shorthorns that developed in Scotland. Because many of the Shorthorns imported into the United States were from England and of the dual-purpose, or milking, type, the foundation for Milking Shorthorns in the United States was established at the same time as the foundation for beef Shorthorns. Their color is the same as that found in beef Shorthorns.

Dairy Breeds.

Several breeds of cattle are raised principally for their dairy products, although some may also provide good beef and veal.


These cattle originated in the northern part of the Netherlands. The breed is commonly called Holstein in North America and Friesian in other parts of the world.

Cattle of the Holstein-Friesian breed are found throughout the temperate regions of the world. Large numbers are found in Canada, Europe, Britain, the Russia, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. They are also the most productive cattle of Israel, where dairying is highly developed. With proper care and management, Holsteins also produce well in the dry arid climates of northern Africa and in the higher altitudes of the tropics, particularly in Central and South America. India and Pakistan are also studying management methods that would allow the expansion of the Holstein breed in those countries.

The earliest Dutch settlers brought Holsteins to America, but the main importations were made in the latter half of the 19th century. No Holsteins have been imported into the United States from Europe since 1905.

The most numerous breed of dairy cattle in the United States, Holsteins are easily recognized by their black and white markings and their large size. Mature cows often weigh 1,500 pounds (680 kg) and sometimes as much as 2,000 pounds (900 kg). Bulls usually weigh from 2,000 to 2,400 pounds (900 to 1,100 kg). There are a few naturally polled (hornless) Holsteins, but most of them have horns that are removed by the dairymen when the calves are still very young.

Holsteins are famous for their production or large quantities of milk. The average production of fully grown cows is about 14,000 pounds (6,350 kg) of milk a year, or 6,800 quarts (6,430 liters), with an average butterfat content of 3.7%. The butterfat and protein percentage of their milk is usually lower than that of the other dairy breeds. Nevertheless, because of the large amount of milk that they produce, their average butterfat production is 520 pounds (235 kg) a year.

Although Holsteins have been developed in the United States almost entirely for dairy production, they also provide a large amount of meat. The calves are often slaughtered for veal, and the cows, after they are no longer productive as dairy animals, have a high salvage value for beef. In recent years, the popularity of Holstein steers in beef cattle feedlots has been steadily increasing. For many years, they have provided the main source of beef in the Netherlands, West Germany, and Britain.



Jersey cattle originated on the island of Jersey, which is in the English Channel just off the coast of France. They were probably introduced to Jersey from France sometime prior to 1100 a. d. In the mid-20th century, they are raised widely in the temperate zones, particularly in Britain, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. They have also been introduced in rather large numbers into tropical countries, including India and Central and South American countries.

The first Jerseys were introduced into America after they had been used for milk on sailing vessels coming to this country. As with the Holsteins, however, the importations which formed the major foundation of the breed in the United States were made during the latter part of the 19th century. Unlike the Holsteins, however, some importations have been made continuously since that time. Jersey cattle spread rapidly throughout the dairy areas of the country.

Jersey cattle are famous for the richness of their milk. The butterfat content of Jersey milk averages 5.2%. In recent years, considerable emphasis has also been placed on increasing the pounds of milk they produce. Their current average milk production is 8,600 pounds (3,900 kg) or 4,200 quarts (4,000 liters) a year.

Mature Jersey cows weigh about 1,000 pounds (454 kg); the bulls weigh 1,500 pounds (680 kg). Their color varies from a light gray to dark brown or fawn. They often have extensive black markings, and they may occasionally be marked with patches of white. They mature rapidly and may be put into the milking herd at younger ages than most other dairy cattle.


Guernsey cattle originated on the island of Guernsey, which lies about 22 miles (35 km) north of Jersey and about 30 miles (48 km) from France. A colony of monks is reported to have introduced the cattle from Brittany and Normandy in northern France to the island. Although Guernsey cattle were brought to the United States on sailing vessels in earlier years, the first importations of note occurred in 1830 and 1831 when two heifers and one bull were brought in. Descendants of the bull and of one of the heifers are in Guernsey herds today. Other importations which formed the foundation of the breed in the United States were made up to 1914. A few animals have been introduced since that time, but very few have been imported since 1930. Numerous Guernseys are found in Britain, and some are also found in South America and Australia.

The Guernsey ranks between the Holstein and Jersey in size, milk production, and in richness of milk. Cows average about 1,100 pounds (500 kg) in weight. Bulls average 1,700 pounds (770 kg). The average annual milk production is about 9,400 pounds (4,270 kg), or 4,600 quarts (4,350 liters). The percentage of butterfat is 4.8.

Guernsey milk is well known for its yellow color. This color is associated with the occurrence of yellow pigment in the skin of these cattle. Their haircoats are, however, fawn-colored and white.


Ayrshires originated in the county of Ayr, Scotland. They were first recognized as a dairy breed in 1814, but prior to that date they were often referred to as “Cunningham” or “Dun-lop” cattle. They were improved by crossing with other breeds, one of which was the Teeswater, the forerunner of the Shorthorn.

Prior to 1840 only about 17 head of Ayrshires were imported into the United States. During the next 20-year period, about 200 more were imported. The early Ayrshire breeders were located in New England, but the breed eventually became established throughout the country.

Ayrshires are also numerous in Britain, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and several South American countries.

Mature Ayrshire cows produce an average of 10,800 pounds (4,900 kg), or 5,200 quarts (4,900 liters), of milk a year. The butterfat content of the milk is 4.1%.


Ayrshires are red, mahogany, or brown with numerous well-defined areas of white. They are medium in size. The cows average about 1,150 pounds (525 kg) in weight and the bulls 1,800 pounds (820 kg). They are well known for their stylish upright horns, and early breeders paid a great deal of attention to shaping and forming the horns for show purposes. More recently, however, the presence of horns has been considered a disadvantage on dairy farms because of the danger of the cows injuring one another. Therefore, as with the other dairy breeds, most of the horns are now removed at an early age. Since the late 1940’s, breeding for naturally hornless Ayrshire cattle has been promoted.

Brown Swiss.

Switzerland is the native home of the Brown Swiss breed of dairy cattle. Most of the early improvements of this breed took place in the canton of Schwyz in the 19th century. The earlier origins of the breed are not known, but there is reason to believe that the Pinzgau breed from Germany was used in its development. The Brown Swiss breed spread to most of the countries of Central Europe and the Russia. It is also raised in higher altitudes of South America, India, and Pakistan.

The first Brown Swiss cattle were brought to the United States in 1869. However, importations were stopped in 1906 because of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in continental Europe. From only 155 head known to have been imported, the breed has grown and spread rapidly throughout the country.

Brown Swiss produce a yearly average of 12,-000 pounds (5,500 kg), or 5,800 quarts (5,500 liters), of milk. The butterfat content of their milk is about 4.1%. They are similar to the Holsteins in their usefulness for veal and beef production. In their early years in Switzerland and also in the United States they were often used for draft purposes on the farm. In America, however, they have been developed entirely for dairy purposes for more than fifty years.

Brown Swiss are large and rugged. Cows will average about 1,400 pounds (635 kg) in weight and bulls about 1,900 pounds (860 kg). Their color varies from light brown with a silvery cast to extremely dark brown. They usually have distinctly lighter color on parts of their heads and in a stripe down their backs.

Red Danish.

Red Danish cattle have been intensively improved for dairy purposes in Denmark. A few are also found in northern Europe and in the Russia. They were first imported into the United States in 1935.

Imported bulls were mated with other breeds in the United States, and the offspring were also bred to Red Danish bulls. This “back crossing” procedure was continued until nearly all the herds became almost entirely Red Danish. Most of the cattle have been raised in Michigan, although there are a few herds in Indiana, Alaska, and several other states.

The yearly average production of Red Danish cows in the United States is 11,500 pounds (5,225 kg) of milk, or 5,600 quarts (5,300 liters). The butterfat content of the milk is 4.0%. As the name indicates, Red Danish cattle are red. The cows weigh about 1,300 pounds (590 kg) and the bulls about 1,800 pounds (820 kg). They have been used extensively in dairy cattle crossbreeding research. However, because of the presence of foot-and-mouth disease in Denmark, only four bulls have been imported since 1935. This limited source of breeding stock discouraged United States breeders, and the numbers of these cattle are rapidly diminishing.

Swedish Red and White.

The Swedish Red and White breed has been developed since 1920 from crosses of the Swedish Red Spotted breed and the Ayrshire. Very numerous in Sweden, this breed has been selected for milk production, and it compares in production to the Ayrshires of the United States. It also has very good beef qualities.


Kholmogor cattle are considered one of the best dairy breeds of the Russia. Their improvement started before the 18th century, and they have been raised throughout the country. They have also been exported to Poland, Finland, and the Baltic countries.

Cattle of the Kholmogor breed are usually black and white spotted, solid black, or red with white spots. They are the largest of all Russian breeds. Cows weigh 1,100 to 1,200 pounds (500-550 kg) and bulls from 1,600 to 2,000 pounds (725-900 kg). Their milk production is comparable to that of the Holsteins found in Russia.



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