Cows were domesticated around 10,000 years ago. Humans have selectively selected cows for particular qualities over the years. These traits are sometimes useful, but occasionally they are quite extraordinary. Here are some of our favorite visually stunning breeds of cattle.
1. Texas Longhorn Cow
Texas Longhorn Cows descend from a mix of an Iberian Breed and an Indian One. They were among the first Europeans who brought cattle to North America. The longhorn is named for its big headwear.
These horns may grow to seven feet tall from tipto tip. Texas Longhorn cows, despite their formidable horns and intelligence, can be gentle and smart. Despite being slower to maturity, their reproductive cycle is twice as long as that of other breeds.
2. Ankole-Watusi Cow
The Ankole Watusi, an amazing breed of African cow, isn’t to be outdone in the discussion about large horns. They are thought to have originated more than 2000 years ago from a combination between the Zebu Longhorns of India and the Egyptian Longhorns.
HTML2This breed’s horns can grow up to eight feet in length, from tipto tip. They appear huge but are actually quite practical. Their large horns can be used to disperse heat and to act as intimidating weapons to repel predators. The cows are usually dark-colored, with sometimes white speckling.
3. Highland Cow
The cold of Scotland is a different cow breed than the one that grew up in the heat and humidity of Africa. Highland cows have a thick, shaggy fur that keeps them warm and protects them from rain and wind. Its curly, funny-looking hair is an added bonus.
The Highland cow has the longest hair among all breeds of cattle. In Scotland, a group is not called a herd by breeders, but a “fold”. This is because “in winter olden days, the cattle were kept together in open shelters made up of stone called folds to protect against the weather and wolves.”
4. Belgian Blue Cow
The Belgian blue is the winner of the trophy for being the most strange-looking result of experimentation on beef cattle breeding. Double-muscling, which is a genetic characteristic that produces more muscle fibers, gives rise to the oddly lumpy appearance. It gives the cows about 20% more muscle and extra lean meat.
This fascinating condition was first identified in 1808. Breeders have been selecting the breed for its benefits since then. These animals can become enormous. It is not uncommon for a Belgian bluebull to weigh more than 2,800lbs (1300kg). Females can attain close to 2,000 lbs (900 kg).
5. Zebu Cow
The zebu calf is bumpy and lumpy in a unique way. Zebus are South Asia’s native breed. They are an Asian type of cattle. The zebu Cow’s profile is easily identifiable.
6. American Brahman Cow
American Brahman cow, a unique breed of zebu, is one that was developed in America from zebu cattle originating from India and Brazil. This breed is famous for its heat resistance, which can be attributed in part to its thick hair.
7. Dexter Cow
Just like miniature horses, miniature cows exist. The Dexter Cow, originally from Ireland was one of these breeds. These tiny cows, which are about three- to four feet tall at their shoulder, make them perfect for small farms in all types of climates.
The Canadian Dexter Cattle Association claims the breed is known for “hardiness, docility and thriftiness as well as calving easy.” Dexter cows can produce up to two gallons (compared to eight to 10 from a Holstein milk cow).
One would receive 400 pounds of meat from a dexter cow if it were to be raised as a meat animal. A steer of the same size will yield about twice that amount. These qualities make them easy to manage on a family farm. They’re cute which is always a plus.
8. Miniature Belted Galloway Cow
The minibelted Galloway is another unusual breed of cattle. These miniature cows have a dark coat with a thin belt of white at the middle. Their thick coat is due to where the breed was created: in the highlands, Scotland.
The mini belted Galloway doesn’t look nearly as saggy as the highland, but their lack of horns makes them all the more cuddly. While they are raised primarily for their tasty marbled meats but many farmers love their unusual appearance out in the pasture.
9. Miniature Jersey Cow
Jersey cows seem to be very common. But what about miniature Jerseys. These cows only measure three to 3.5 ft at the shoulder. They look similar to smaller breeds. They were born by crossing standard Jerseys or miniature cattle with Dexters. They are gentle, docile, and mild-mannered–unlike their standard counterparts, which are known to be high-strung and aggressive.
10. Panda Cow
The last one is a really rare cow. The miniature panda-cow is known for its similar markings to giant pandas right down the dark eye spots. A panda cow is considered to be a miniature panda cow if it lacks the correct markings: a clear black eye patch on a dark face, and a distinct white belt around the middle.
The number of these cute cows is very limited. One breeder suggested that only between 30 and 40 were available in 2013. They are so rare they usually make the news. One example is this adorable calf called Ben. His unique markings have made him an expensive $30,000. There are two panda-cows at Woodland Park Zoo near Seattle, Washington.
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