Breeds of Cow Commonly Found in the US for Farming

breeds of cow

There are over 250 recognize breeds of cow in all parts of the world and over 80 breeds in the U.S. are readily available. The possibilities are infinite if one can start cross-breeding of livestock. Cross-breeding is a very effective way of building a flock, but pure breed lines remain important. Purebreds of quality render crossbreds of quality.

Nevertheless, the majority of the genetics used in the U.S. for commercial beef production is a fairly small number of breeds (less than 20). In a defined breeding program, today’s breeds of cow or combination of breeds have a major impact on the efficiency and profitability of a beef company. Raise affects the important growth rate parameters, reproductive efficiency, maternal capacity, and specifications for the end product. Furthermore, dietary requirements and production costs relate to characteristics such as mature cow size and growth rates which depend largely on the breed.

Most common breeds of cow are

Here are some of the most common cow breeds:


The cattle of Black Angus, also known as Aberdeen Angus. They are the most common type of cow in the United States and are in demand for their meat, due to excellent marketing. That means that these beef – and black marked cross-breeds – always offer a premium on the farm. The breed was first transported from the Kansas ranch in 1873 from northeastern Scotland. The black calves without horns, carried the hardiness of the winter when mixed with Texas longhorn cows. Angus is of course polled with shiny skin and fur (hornless). They are medium-sized and are typically nice mothers and known for their early growth, easy flesh, good milk, and good marbling.

Belted Galloway

Popularly known as “oréo cattle,” this breed started in Scotland as a strong-colored cow because of its black color (possibly Brownish or Reddish color), with a light stripe in its center, but got its straps with the beginning of the Dutch Blue belted milk. In 1950, they were imported into the United States first. While Belted Galloways are often bought for their decorative characteristics, they make lean, good beef. These are a breed of medium size and can weigh up to 60 percent of their living weight with the carcass covering. They have a double-coated hair which enables them to stay warm without forming a backfat layer such as some other races in the winter. These are one of the common today’s breeds of cow.


Brahman cows migrated from India and these are the world’s most famous established cow breeds. During the course of the years, the Brahmans have grown resistant to pests, leeches, and illnesses and to poor food and severe weather conditions. They have a huge hump on their back, upwards-curve horns, big ears, and stretched leather beneath their shoulders and chests to let them stay cool. They can also sweat more than most species, and emit an oil that allows them to defend from the insects.


The light-colored Charolai were found in France and were used for dairy and meat. The massive size and robust structure of the animals gave them the strength to work in lands and pull carts. In the 1930s the first Charolais arrived in the United States from Mexico. The breed could not be introduced into North America before 1965 due to an occurrence of an epidemic in Mexico. Therefore several of today’s breeds of cow have Charolais in their lineage. Charolais can adapt to any climate. In warmer months, they graze vigorously, avoid the cold and have strong calves. This is why it will increase the size and robustness of calves by including Charolais bulls to a herd.


Dexter cows migrated to the USA in the 1900s, they came originally from Southern Ireland. These are one of the smallest cows with bulls of 38 to 44 inches on their shoulders and less than 1,000 pounds in weight. They are fully grown. Some are short and some have long legs. They need feeding and weeds less than large breeds due to their size. They are known for being friendly and they can survive both hot and cold weather. Dexters have a higher reproductive rate and are essential calvers. They can be bred for both meat and dairy. They deliver a larger quantity of milk, which is also much more creamy than any other breed. Their meat is darker red.

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This breed was mainly introduced for meat, dairy, and work in Batavia, South Germany. The method of artificial insemination was implemented in the U.S. in 1971. Females at 7/8 of Gelbvieh and bulls at 15/16 are classified as purebred. In Germany, bulls have been subjected to rigorous A.I research. Gelbviehs have red skins and were typically horned with thickened fur. Because of breeding with polled base females in the U.S., most of them have become polled. They are highly fertile and they produce fast-maturing calves.


In the 1700s, the Hereford breed was established to satisfy the increasing food demand generated by the industrial revolution in Europe. The actual Herefords were grown for high beef yields and effective processing, which are essential for today’s breeds of cow. In 1817 they were shipped to the United States and used to strengthen stock in the southwest. Herefords were very common in the U.S. because of their fast growth and potential to inflate. Herefords were bred to be less fatty and produce more red meat as the tastes of people changed gradually. Both horned and polled Herefords remain common in the U.S. All Herefords horned and polled tend to be popular in the United States.


Holsteins are classified as dairy cows, but not as beef cows, these cattle are raised for their worth. Holstein was originally from Holland. About two thousand years ago, when demand for milk was increasing in this country and it was introduced to the United States in the 1850s. The black and white cow has an exceptional milk yield, but their usual lifetime is around six years. Calves are healthy and weigh 90 pounds or more, and cows are mature to 1500 pounds.


In 20,000 years old cave paintings, cattle in France look remarkably close to the present breed. Limousin cows can be as ancient as Europe itself. Golden-red livestock is from France and has been used for the development of tough rocky soils for cultivation. Until 1971, limousines had not been imported from Canada into the U.S. More than one million lines are counted here currently. In 2002 it was noted that Lim-Flex was a breeding variant of Limousin-Angus.


The Italian race is a 25,000-year-old division between two entirely distinct races, the Auroch European and the Zebu Pakistani. The breed was transported in 1979 to North America. Piedmontese is robust, immune to disease, and strong more than most beef cows. Because of genetic abnormality, they develop muscle unrestrictedly and are known to be double-muscled with 14% more muscle mass than most cows. For some Italian cheeses, Piedmontese milk is also a key ingredient.

Red Angus

In the 1800s this breed was founded in Scotland when large red English longhorn cows were bred into black, indigenous Angus animals for heavy animal production. One out of four cows was red. Initially, both black and red descendants were marked purebred, but in 1917 reds were excluded from registering. In the 40s, American livestock farmers started breeding reds that are bred from the finest herds of Angus, and that form their own breed that has the similar advantages and characteristics as black Angus, apart from its color. Red Angus today is the largest breed of American beef in the field of artificial fertilization.

Scottish Highland

This species had existed in the cold, robust Scottish Highlands for centuries, where it gained tolerance to many cattle and stress-related illnesses. It is one of the oldest known species. In spite of having a lesser fat amount in their body, they can survive cold and harsh weather, because of their thick hair.  This makes them produce leaner beef without excess fat. They are good in southern climes as well, and other cattle will eat and thrive on the brush and weeds. There are lengthy horns and long eyelashes and forelocks in highlands that shield the eyes from insects. They are regarded as fair and wise.


Shorthorns were native to England’s northeast coast and introduced in 1783 to the USA and named the cattle of Durham. They have been common with settlers because they are very adaptable and can be used for meat, milk, wagons, and plowing. Either they can be horned or polished usually. The first big beef-breed produced in the United States in the 1880s was polled shorthorns. Their adaptability, rearing capacity, reproductive success, good temperament, stamina, and better nutrient digestibility is known in both short horn kinds.

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The Swiss race is one of the ancient and most widely spread. Since the late 1800s, they have been born in the US, but prominence has declined by the late 1960s. The majority of Simmentals are red and white but the color of the breed is not limited. They are recognized for their fast growth, quality of milk, and huge volumes. Though mainly used in Europe as a dairy animal, American Simmentals are cultivated for meat production too.

Texas Longhorn

A mixture of natural selection and environmental adaptation, this very American cow breed arose more than 500 years ago from the first livestock brought in North America. However, the longhorns were almost wiped away by crossbreeding by 1900 due to the desire to mature cattle faster. The race was rehomed and rekindled from disappearance. They are durable and adaptable and recognized for their fertility rates, fast calving, illness, and resistance to parasites and their longevity. In addition, Longhorns are more effective than most other breeds to consume coarse food materials.


This breed is known as the African Ankole-Watusi and has been raised for over 6,000 years in the Nile Valley for the establishment of longhorns domestic animals. In Egyptian pyramid images, they are also depicted. The Tutsi kings and chiefs later owned this giant-horned strain of cattle. They were made famous in European zoos by their horns which can reach the diameter of 12 feet. Such medium-sized cattle have small calves, making Watusi bulls ideal for first-calf or other minor breeds. They withstand severe weather and in very warm weather conditions are fine.

Florida Cracker

Florida Cracker is one of the ancient cows in the United States that was introduced to the New World by Spanish cattle in the early 1500s. The breed has been developed primarily by natural breeding in a livestock-hostile climate. This leads to a heat-tolerant breed, long-term immune, and effective to parasites and diseases in low-quality consumption.


The Guernsey breed is a dairy breed which is located in the Channel Islands on the Isle of Guernsey. Cows are named for their peaceful associations. A distinctive characteristic of the species is its golden milk, a source to vitamin A. The breed has long been a successful graze-grower, capable of growing high-quality pastures and adapting to a range of climate and conditions. This is a milk that is especially characteristic of the breed.


Kerry cow, native to Ireland, are one of Europe’s oldest cows. They are healthy, hardy and long-lived grazers and browsers, sometimes even production cattle in their teens. Kerry cows are healthy and have little to no trouble calving babies. Kerry milk is also suitable for the processing of cheese.


It is one of the oldest among today’s breeds of cow. The Spanish brought to America in the early 1500s. In Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and other areas of the southeast of the USA, this breed was influenced primarily by ecological and forestry circumstances. The race is a dual breed with different strains, which are chosen more for other characteristics.


We have provided detailed information and characteristics of today’s breeds of cow. Now you can easily identify today’s breeds of cow for your various needs. You can raise cows for farming, dairy products, meat production, or plowing. We have provided you with all the information related in this article.

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