20+ Most Popular Cattle Breeds

Popular Cattle breeds

No, brown cow, brown and white cow, black cow, or white cow are not the only cow breeds in the world. In actual fact, I’m not even sure that they are breeds in the first place.

In reality, there are over 70 recognized cow breeds around the world. And all of these breeds combine together to give us 800 million tons of milk every year.

What is even more astonishing is the fact that nearly 80 billion cows are slaughtered every single year for their meat alone!

As the world economy gets better, the standard of living is also enhanced. That translates into greater demand for meat, milk and dairy-related products.

And that means that more and more cows will be required both for their milk as well as their contribution to the world’s beef industry.

When you consider 70 cattle breeds, identifying each one of them separately can be very challenging. Here is the good news though.

Only 20 of these 70 breeds of cows make up the majority share of the gene pool that refers to commercialized production of beef.

Before you go reading about all the breeds we wrote about, It would be nice to see this video if you’re a video kinda person like me!

Pay attention to the interesting double-muscling technique explained in there!

The following list contains details of the Twenty most popular cow breeds in the US.

20 Unique Breeds of Cattle Found in the States

1. Black Angus

Black Angus
Black Angus

With almost 330,000 registered animals, the Black Angus is the most prevalent breed of beef cattle in the United States. The reason this particular breed is so popular in the United States is because of the breed’s carcass qualities, which are touted as producing well-marbled, tasty meat.

Another reason for this breed’s popularity is because the Angus cattle require less upkeep throughout the calving season, are excellent moms, and are extremely feed efficient. 

This breed first arrived in Kansas back in the nineteenth century. Here the Black Angus started to make an impact and gained a reputation that has kept it relevant till today.

This breed is originally a Scottish breed. Angus is commonly black in color though red-colored Angus is rapidly becoming more common.

Fun Fact here!

While these two color variations of the Angus are considered the same breed in the UK, the US considers them as completely separate breeds.

Though the only difference apart from color may just be that the red Angus can withstand harsh temperatures.

2. Charolais

Charolais
Charolais

The Charolais is a kind of French cow. These cows are often reared for beef and are frequently crossbred with other beef cattle to produce some of the highest quality meat available.

These cows are also well-known for generating high-quality skins. As a result, the Charolais is the right choice if you intend on raising cows for leather.

The cows were a breath of fresh air when they were introduced first in the United States.

This is because at the time producers were looking for larger framed, beefier alternatives to the traditional British breeds that were so prominent.

Charolais are white or creamy white in color, with a short hair coat that thickens and lengthens in cold conditions.

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3. Hereford

Hereford
Hereford

There is no list of popular cattle types that do not include the Hereford! Hereford cattle are a popular breed, and they are farmed all over the world in a variety of climates. This was made feasible due to the adaptability of Hereford cattle. 

In case your intentions are to get one, there’s probably no need to be concerned about the environment – one less thing to worry about! The icing on the cake: Herefords provide high-quality meat.

This breed of cattle was initially from England before it became a popular choice amongst breeders in the US. Their rapid growth and fattening ability along with the fact that these cows mature early is what makes them so desirable.

Herefords, which are dark red to red-yellow in color with a white face, are noted for their longevity as well as being docile, easy calvers, good milkers, and wonderful moms.

4. Simmental

Simmental
Simmental

The Simmental is another rather popular breed of cattle. This particular breed may possibly be one of the oldest breeds in the world.

That is the reason that this breed is scattered around the world.

While generally the Simmentals are raised for milk production, it is their high quality meat that has made them popular amongst breeders in the states.

These cattle first arrived in the United States in the nineteenth century.

These rather large cattle tend to grow and mature at a quick pace, making them favorable.

Another advantageous trait is their adaptability.

This has allowed the Simmentals to be bred and used throughout the world in all climates. This breed is usually red and white in color.

They require little to no assistance during calving season and are a perfect low maintenance cattle farming breed.

5. Ayrshire

Ayrshire cow
“Ayrshire cow” by HeatherW is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

One of the largest breeds of cattle there is, is the Ayrshire. It is commonly raised as a dairy cow and cultivated for the huge amount of nutritious milk it produces.

An average medium sized Ayrshire can easily produce between 19 and 21 kgs of milk on average. It is specifically suited to producing large amounts of milk each day and that is what makes this breed so valuable.

These animals are, however, large creatures and as is often the case with large creatures they tend to require a large amount of food to stay healthy. Therefore, kit may be wise to research more about the cost of keeping this breed before actually deciding to raise them.

6. Jersey

Jersey
Jersey

Jersey cattle are perfect for small farms!

Unlike the Ayrshire breed, these dairy cows are smaller in size and therefore require less upkeep.

A healthy Jersey cow can grow to weigh between 400 and 800 kg. This may seem like a lot but it is generally considered a moderate weight for cattle.

It is also worth noting that the milk produced by the Jersey cattle is well-known for its high fat content. If that the kind of milk that you want to produce then it may be in your interest to consider raising Jersey cows.

7. Malvi

Malvi
Malvi

This breed is although native to India it is often considered a popular choice as a draught breed.

While the Malvi cows are often not very impressive when it comes to milk production, they do produce a good quality of meat and are adapted to survive in extremely hot and dry climates.

White and Gray are characteristic colors for this breed of cows. They are often referred to by a number of different names. These include Malavi, Manthani, and Mahadevpur; along with Malvi.

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8. Droughtmaster

Droughtmaster
“big red- droughtmaster” by Blue♦Gum is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Droughtmaster cattle is a kind of beef cow.

This breed was created via years of selective breeding. It should come as no surprise that due to being an inbred cow, the Droughtmaster possesses a handful of unique abilities.

A unique ability possessed by this breed is that, in addition to producing high-quality meat, these cows are way more resistant to heat and parasites.

You may have figured that out from their name.

Furthermore, they are very gentle and highly adaptive.

9. Holstein Friesian

Holstein Friesian
Holstein Friesian

The Holstein Friesian is probably the most stereotypical looking cow breed out there. The Holsteins are generally what you would consider dairy cows to be.

All black and white in their grand glory. They produce plentiful high quality milk consistently. This is why they are generally kept as dairy cows. 

The Holsteins that aren’t kept for milk production are usually sold for their meat. This breed of cows is a selectively inbred cow.

This means that most Holsteins have a similar genetic makeup. This contributes greatly to the consistent flavor and grandness of Holstein beef.

While this is a valuable breed based on its characteristics, it is probably most popular due to this breed being commonly used in advertisements for milk and dairy based products. It is also best to get a Holstein Friesian if you wish to produce dairy products.

10. Ankole Watusi

Ankole Watusi
Ankole Watusi

Ankole Watusi cattle are distinguished by their massive horns. It is a domestic American cow breed. They are almost never bred for milk or meat.

However, they are still fascinating to look at and are rather popular in the cattle world simply because of the wow factor their horns produce.

11. Scottish Highland

Scottish Highland
Scottish Highland

The Scottish highland is a rather low maintenance cow breed. While it may not be a dual purpose breed, it is still regarded as one of the top beef cattle breeds. Out of all the different breeds that are popular for the meat they produce, the Scottish Highlands probably require the least upkeep and attention.

This breed has long unique characteristic horns along with a double coat of fur which makes it highly suitable for cold climates.

Moreover, beef cattle aren’t limited to being raised in cold climates. They do just as well in hotter, more arid climates.

This high adaptability to different climates is one reason for their massive popularity.

This cow breed is also easy to feed as they do not require a lot of carefully selected grain. In fact they will grow just as healthy pasturing a green field.

The small amount of work required to actually raise these cows makes them a great choice for cattle breeders especially since they are also quite resistant to common cattle diseases.

12. Limousin

Limousin
Limousin

The Limousin breed is a prime example of a dual purpose breed. Not only are they raised commonly for their meat but they are just as often kept around a farm to get hard labor done. They are great workers and can be used to pull around various instruments and machines across your farm.

This golden-red breed originated from France in the regions of Limousin and Marche. The Limousin breed produces high quantities of premium beef. 

This impressive beef cattle breed is often referred to as one of the oldest cattles in the world. Fun fact, historians believe that certain ancient paintings in France that show cattle, may even show the Limousin cattle breed. 

13. Texas Longhorn

Texas Longhorn
Texas Longhorn

A Texas Longhorn cow is unmistakable with its large, somewhat horizontal horns.

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You might be shocked to learn that the largest recorded length is around 129.5 inches. This captivating breed has a great drought-stress tolerance.

Their jackets come in a variety of hues. The most frequent Texas Longhorns are black and white.

14. Shorthorn

Shorthorn
Shorthorn

Shorthorn cows are the best example of what a dual purpose breed is. In other words, they are useful for both milking and supplying meat.

However, it is crucial to be clear about the aim of rearing this breed when purchasing.

Depending on the genetics, some Shorthorn cows may be better at producing milk while others may be a better alternative for meat production. Make sure you purchase the correct ones for your intended purpose.

15. Beefmaster

Beefmaster
“Cows” by L. Allen Brewer is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

As the name indicates these are generally beef cattle cows. They were developed through cross-breeding some already highly popular breeds.

Some of the breeds used in the development of the Beefmaster were Herefords, Shorthorns, and Brahman cows.

The beefmaster is a very sought after cow breed because it can be used for many purposes. They are great for both milk and beef production.

Yet another common use for these sought prized cattle is breeding with other breeds to produce new species of cows with economically advantageous characteristics.

16. Brahman

Brahman
Brahman

It is not incorrect to suggest that Brahman cows are the super breed of cows. For ages, these cows have roamed the Earth. They have gained resistance to practically all cattle illnesses and parasites over the years. 

Furthermore, they can thrive in difficult temperatures with a restricted food source. In addition, even in the sweltering heat, the hump on their back keeps them cool. Brahman should be at the top of your choice if you plan to breed cows.

17. Guernsey Cattle

Guernsey Cattle
Guernsey Cattle

This dairy breed of cattle hails from the island of Guernsey. This breed produces high fat and high protein milk.

It is also famous for producing milk with a distinct golden hue to it. The appearance of the milk produced by this breed is uniquely colored due to the presence of high concentrations of B-carotene in it.

These dairy cattles are generally a combination of red and fawn in color. Generally pleasant and docile cows to raise.

18. Belgian Blue

Belgian Blue
Belgian Blue

This breed originated in Belgium, as the name implies.

The Belgian Blue is a well-known beef cow breed.

Keep in mind that because to this breed’s higher muscle output, these cows demand a high protein diet to keep healthy and happy.

19. Belted Galloway

Belted Galloway
“Belted Galloway Cows (2)” by tommaync is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Belted Galloway may be identified by a white belt running along its black coat! These unique cows are often kept for their high-quality marbled meat.

They can, however, be milked and are therefore considered a dual purpose breed of cattle. They are also known as Oreo or Panda cows due to their looks.

20. Dexter Cattle

Dexter Cattle
“Dexter Cattle. Forest Farm. December 1999” by Mary Gillham Archive Project is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Dexter cows are the smallest of all European cattle breeds. Still they are considered a dual purpose breed and are used for both milk and meat.

This breed of cows was considered to be very rare, native to mostly Ireland. However, recently that has changed and this breed of cow is now emerging in all parts of the world.

Putting Your Knowledge to Practical Use

Whether it is for your commercial business use, or you just wish to raise a personal cow for meat or milk, it is integral to know your breeds.

This helps in properly understanding the challenges that await you and understand the end results that you can hope to get with your choice amongst the different breeds of cattle.

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