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Types of Cattle

Everything You Need to Know About the Types of Cows

What pops up in your mind first when you hear or think about the types of cows? Research has shown that a great percentage of people always think first of the black-and-white cow namely Friesian or Holstein cow. You must also be included in this percentage. And actually, you are not so wrong because it’s one of the types of cows that are known for its high production.

As a matter of fact, approximately 90% of the milk, cheese, ice cream or yoghurt you always enjoy comes from this cow. This cow has actually dominated the dairy market and has become the most popular in the world at large. However, that does not mean there are no other types of cows. Of course, there are.

Just as there are diverse breeds of dogs, pigs, goats and even horses, there are various types and breeds of cows. A breed simply means a group of animals having similar appearance and behaviour. A report shows that Washington has over 400 dairy farms which are run by families. It has almost 275,000 dairy cows that usually produce over 800 million gallons of milk annually.

The amount of milk a state or a country produces is dependent the breed or the type of cows they rear. In the 21st century, there is no dairy farm that keeps indigenous cows which were humped and expect to keep your industry at par and competitive with the others in the same market. You just have to switch to the modern breeds which are discussed below.

Top 5 Modern Types of Cows

As the demand for milk and other dairy products is increasing dairy, you need to know the best cows to keep on your farm for a great outcome and higher production. The following is a list of the top 5 breeds of cows that you should consider as a serious farmer:

  • Holstein/Friesian
  • Jersey
  • Brown Swiss
  • Guernsey
  • Ayrshire

Their Distinguishing Characteristics


In other countries, it is usually referred as Friesian. It originated from Germany. It is the most popular dairy cow in the world. Most of them are usually black-and-white but they got their cousins who are red-and-white. Holstein is the largest dairy cow weighing over 1,500 pounds when mature.

They are still the leading dairy cows in a high level of milk production. Their milk is high in protein and butterfat content. Their funny characteristic is that no two Holstein cow has similar patches.


According to US Environmental Protection Agency, this breed consists of 7% of dairy cows population. It originated from Britain’s Jersey Islands. It weighs about 800-1,200 pounds when mature. They are usually light gray or dark brown being darker around the head, hips, and shoulders than the rest of the body.

Brown Swiss

They are known for their cool temperament. They originated from Switzerland. Their milk is used in cheese making because of the high butter content. Their color varies from brown to gray and tan to beige. It weighs between 1,300 to 1,400 pounds when mature.


They originated from Scotland. They rarely suffer from leg issues and usually calve easily because of their tough nature. They weigh about 1,200 pounds when fully grown. They are usually red-and-white. In the past, they were known for their long horns.


This breed is becoming rare nowadays to an extent of being listed with American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Their color ranges from light to golden brown with white patches. They produce golden milk because of high beta-carotene content and weigh 1,400 pounds when mature.