Breeds of Cow: Most Common and Exotic Cow Breeds

breeds of cow

The United States has more than seventy known breeds of cow. But you can hardly tell the difference between them. However, just a very small number, almost less than twenty covers the maximum of cow breeds used in the States to commercially produce beef.

In accordance with the U. S Cattlemen’s Beef Board, there are five very popular breeds of cow that produce beef. This article will cover the five breeds acclaimed by the board and many more. Scroll down to know everything about the best cow breeds, some exotic cow breeds and the difference between ground beef and hamburger.

Best Breeds of Cow In the U.S

Black Angus

One of the most commonly found breeds of cow that produces beef in the U.S is Black Angus. Over 330,000 animals are now officially recorded in the States. The Black Angus breed prevailed into the States during the 19th century. Furthermore, this breed consolidated themselves in Kansas. You will find the Black Angus to be very popular for the carrion characteristics they possess. The most important one being the smooth and flavorful quality of beef they provide. Moreover, during the season of calving they can survive in very low maintenance, is extremely feed efficient and are good mothers too.


Charolais leaves an immense impact like no other in the beef industry of North America. The Charolais played a very significant role when the beef industry producers were looking for a competitor to the traditional breeds of cow in Britain. Charolais were much larger and heavier than their competitors. They come in a creamy white or milk white skin color. During the summers, you’ll find them to maintain a short hair coat, while winters lengthens and thickens their hair.


Hereford was one of the breeds of cow that originated from England but later gained popularity in the States. They became popular for their flattening ability and early maturity. Hereford has a reddish yellow to dark red color skin tone over the body with a bright white face. These cow breeds are famous for their docile nature, milk producing abilities, capable mothers and their longevity.


You must have heard Simmental to very primitive among all the breeds of cow. They are very old and spread widely all over the world. But the Simmental was first found in the States during the late 19th century. Since then, this cow breeds have a great impact on the beef producing industry. According to the structure, the Simmental has quite a big body frame and has the ability to gain weight rapidly. But they do require some care during the calving season, otherwise they count among one of the best breeds of cow.

Red Angus

You must know that the Red Angus is not as popular as the Black Angus. But they also possess certain carcass traits which provide you with some flavoring and marbling beef. They also get the acclamation of being great mothers and is a docile cow breed. Another advantage the Red Angus has is they can bear high temperatures, unlike the Black Angus.

Texas Longhorn

You can call the Texas Longhorn ‘survival of the fittest’. Christopher Columbus and some Spanish colonists brought in the Texas Longhorn to the States. The cow breed is popular for the special horns the cow possesses. Horns in bulls extend more than 1.8 meters, 2.1 meters in steers and in some exceptional cow. You will find them in a wide range of colors. The colors in Texas Longhorn can be any one color or a mixture of different colors. But the white and dark red are the ones that are most commonly found.


Gelbvieh is generally a European breed of cow. But by artificial insemination, this breed was brought in the United States of America. The Gelbvieh cows have horns and comes in a bright red and has a strong pigmentation.  But the cattle in the States are generally without horns. Some people claim Gelbvieh to be superior in fertility and can have early maturity. They are also good mothers and has an increasing growth rate of calves.

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Holstein is a cow breed that is not commonly used for producing milk and stock breeding, unlike the white and black cattle. The Holstein is mainly used by the beef industry to produce beef. You will find the Holstein to consistently provide a very good quality of beef and possesses the desirable characteristics too.


The Limousin belongs to a region called Limousin and Marche in the south-central part of France. However, the Limousin cow breed has spread all over North America. They come in a golden-red color. Almost over a million these cows are recorded to be present in North America. The Limousin is famous for the lovely beef it gives the beef industry.


You will find Highlands to have long horns and double layer of coating. But they need to kept in good maintenance like expensive grains, feed supplements, and proper shelter. If you do not provide them with the correct amount of care, they might fall sick. Extreme cold conditions and snow are other things you need to keep in mind to keep Highland cows fit and healthy. However, it is seen Highlands to grow and survive well in Alaska and Scandinavia. Even more, they have the ability to breed well in the south too, like- Georgia and Texas. This special cow breed has forelocks and long lashes to protect them from insects getting into their eyes. Further, this protects them from eye cancer and pinkeye. The beef Highlands give are beautifully marbled and very flavorful. Even the waste fat is minimum in comparison to others.

Exotic Breeds of Cow

Now you know all the breeds of cow that are provide good quality of beef. For centuries breeding has been selectively done but later some people used modern tools to breed cow. This resulted in an outlandish production of dairy breeds in the West. You’ll have to maintain high standards for the maintenance of these cows. These need to be done for good milk production and breeding efficiency. Some of these exotic breeds of cow mentioned below were a result of cross-breeding done in India.

Indians started this practice to enrich the production of milk and resulted in the highest milk producing cow breed. Later, people of the West adapted this and gradually it became very popular. Below are some of the exotic breeds of cow:


The Jersey cows colors vary from black to light red and also white spots to a solid white. You will find the muzzle in a Jersey to be black with an encircling light ring. This exotic breed of cow has its origin from an island called Jersey in Britain. You will notice the Jersey cow to lactate almost 9921 pounds of milk. The milk has a light yellowish tint with around 5.4% of fat. An adult Jersey cow weighs around 1102 pounds and the males weigh around 1543 pounds. At an average a Jersey cow produces their first calf after around thirty months and henceforth, at an average of twelve to thirteen months.

Holstein Friesian

The Holstein Friesian originated from Holland. In particular, from the provinces of West Finland and North Holland. The Holstein Friesian comes in white and black color and may also have spots of whites and black. The breed is spread widely all over England, Western Europe, Australia, Canada, South Africa and America.

Holstein is considered the highest milk producing cow breed in the entire world. The breed has the nature of being vigorous yet calm. However, the cows are docile and very quiet while the bulls are vicious. They tend to have rugged built and has large capacities of feeding.

The Holstein Friesian produces almost 14,330 pounds of milk at each lactation. But the milk contains a very low percentage of fat which is almost 3 to 3.5 %. You will find an average Holstein cow to weigh around 1430 pounds and the males to be around 2000 pounds.

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You will find this exotic breed of cow to maintain an average lactation below 32-degree F but lactation reduces above 82-degree F. They do not perform well as they cannot tolerate the heat at all.

Brown Swiss

The Brown Swiss breed had its origin from Switzerland. Generally, from the north and east side of the Alps. The color of a Brown Swiss is almost black to a light fawn. The stripe on the backbone and muzzle has a light tint. But the switch, horn tips and nose are all black. The Brown Swiss can provide you with meat, draught and milk. The breed is extremely quiet, manageable and quite docile. When the calves are born, they are usually white in color but the skin tone gradually darkens as they age. The Brown Swiss produces an average of 11,527 pounds of milk with a percentage of 4.2 fat. The females weigh almost 1323 pounds and the males are around 1800 pounds.


The Ayrshire breed is named after Ayr the country and South Western Scotland. The hue of this breed is almost a brown to a cherry red at times. You can call the Ayrshire breed as one of the most beautiful looking among all the other breeds of cow. They have a nervous nature but can also be strong and robust. Ayrshires have a medium size and has very good shape. The udder is strong and they also possess long horns that go upwards.

The Ayrshire produces almost 10670 pounds of milk when they lactate. They have their early maturing within 30 months and thereon breeds averagely at an interval of 13 to 14 months.


The Guernsey breed were found from the islands lying between England and France. It was even named after the island present in the English Channel. You will find the Guernsey breed to be in a tint of fawn with white marks that are quite evident. The skin usually has a golden yellowish pigmentation. You’ll notice the marks to be more dominant on the legs, face, flanks and switch. The nose can be buff or creamy at times. Cows of this breed are extremely active and very alert. But you can manage them very easily.

Guernsey produces around 8850 pounds of milk with a 5% of fat. The milk has gotten a golden tint in it. The females of this breed weigh almost 1200 pounds and males are approximately 1800 pounds. They also mature breed quite early.

Do you know the difference between Ground Beef and Hamburger?

If you’re wondering Ground Beef and Hamburger are the same? Then you’re wrong! Indeed, you can alternatively use it but it’s got a slight difference which you’ll know below.

In the States, almost 60% of the households quite frequently buy ground beef. You can use hamburger and ground beef interchangeably.

Ground beef is usually the skeleton muscles minced. The slight muscle that is attached to the bone is minced and contains no other organs. But you’ll find a few shops with labels that read sirloin, chuck or ground round. You must know that it only means only a few primal trims are present in the product.

Both ground beef and hamburger have no added water, binders, phosphates or extenders in them. You must know that both hamburger and ground beef are allowed with a maximum of 30% fat in them. However, the difference between the two is because of the content of fat in them. Ground beef has the fat that is present only in the meat trimmings. Whereas, hamburger has an added amount of fat and you can choose the one that has your desired amount.

You will also find the labels to read lean meat, extra lean meat with the mentions of fat percentages in them. There are a wide range of variety that are assorted to select as per your requirement. So, before you choose your ground beef or hamburger check what the label reads and buy the one, you’ll love.

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