Approximately 250 breeds of cattle are recognized throughout the world and several hundred more breeds are not currently recognized. More than 80 recognized breeds of beef cattle are available to producers in the United States, but an exact count is difficult to obtain because other breeds continue to be imported and crossing of existing breeds continuously creates new breeds.
A breed is a group of animals of common descent and possessing distinctive characteristics that distinguish them from other groups within the same species. These groups are referred to as purebreds , which refers to the purity of ancestry and implies genetic uniformity of all characteristics.
Breed Characteristics . Knowledge of breed characteristics is important to beef producers in both purebred and crossbreeding programs. Crossbreeding is considered to be the most efficient means of commercial production, but highly productive purebreds are the backbone of successful commercial crossbreeding programs. Crossbreeding programs use breeds that possess complementary characteristics to produce desirable offspring.
Major characteristics important in beef production include: mature body size, milk production, age at puberty, environmental adaptability, rate and efficiency of gain, muscle expression, cutability, and marbling.
Other Names of Dairy and Beef Cattle Dairy cattle are sometimes referred to as “ milk cows ” since milk production is their main purpose in life. Beef cattle are often referred to as “ stocker cattle ” or just simply “ stockers .
Modern beef cattle can be classified as one of two biological types, Bos indicus or Bos taurus . Each type has characteristics found in the breeds of cattle that fall under that classification, but the breeds are not limited to these characteristics. Bos indicus (also referred to as Zebu-type ) are humped cattle originating from South Central Asia. Bos indicus are adapted to tropical and sub-tropical environments, which include the stresses of heat, humidity, parasites, and poorly digestible forages.
Bos indicus cattle are later maturing than Bos taurus , but their longevity is greater than Bos taurus . Bos indicus Breeds . Some examples of Bos indicus cattle are the Nelore, Gyr, Guzerat, Brahman, Brangus, and Beefmaster breeds. Some are developed in the United States are often referred to as American breeds . Several of these breeds are composite breeds , which means that they were developed by crossing two or more breeds, but these breeds are still classified as Bos indicus .
Several Bos indicus breeds are common in the United States including: Brahman, Brangus, Beefmaster, Santa Gertrudis, & Simbrah
Brahman Originated in India. Able to survive on very little, poor feed. Insect & heat resistant . Excess skin and large hump on back. White to gray, red to black. Sweat glands .
Brangus The Brangus breed was developed in the United States. Registered Brangus, a composite breed, consists of 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Angus. Brangus cattle are black in color and are polled. traits include hardiness, heat tolerance, muscularity, early maturity, and production of quality beef
Santa Gertrudis Developed on the King Ranch in Texas. All Santa Gertrudis are descendants of the bull, Monkey. They were created by crossing shorthorn cows and Brahman bulls.
Beefmaster Developed on the Lasater Ranch in Texas in the 1930s. No color standard, although predominantly red or dun. a composite breed: ½ Brahman, ¼ Hereford, and ¼ Shorthorn. Thrives under both practical and severe range conditions . Posses many desirable reproductive traits and have high milking potential.
Simbrah Developed in the United States in the late 1960s. a composite breed: 5/8 Simmental and 3/8 Brahman. No color standards exist for Simbrah cattle; they may be horned or polled. possesses both maternal and survival characteristics in a hot environment and produces a modern, lean, high-quality beef product.
Bos taurus breeds are those breeds that descended from the ancient Celtic Shorthorn . Bos taurus breeds show a closer resemblance to the Aurochs , particularly Scotch Highland cattle , than do the Bos indicus breeds. Bos taurus can be classified into two sub-categories: British breeds also known as English breeds , And Continental breeds also called Exotics .
Continental breeds, or Exotics , are breeds that originated in Europe and are known for weight gain and cutability . Continental breeds are generally large in size, lean, muscular, and vary in adaptability to hot climates. Several Continental breeds are common in the United States, including: Charolais, Chianina, Gelbvieh, Limousin, Maine-Anjou, Salers, Simmental, Tarentaise, and Texas Longhorn .
Charolais Originated in France. Traditionally white in color. Long bodied, large cattle. Heavily muscled. Coarse looking
Limousin originally from France. Limousin cattle can be polled or horned and range in color from golden red to black. These large muscular cattle are known for increased rate of gain and feed efficiency. Limousin cattle have the natural genetic ability to produce lean, flavorful beef in a variety of settings
Chianina Originated in Italy. One of the oldest breeds of cattle . Tallest breed of beef cattle. Short hair that is white to steel gray. Terminal breed. Low milk production.
Gelbvieh Originated in Germany. Red in color. Noted for superior fertility and mothering ability Tend to be extra fleshy under the throat.
Simmental Originated in Switzerland. Oldest breed of cattle in the world . Large, powerful breed. Brought to the United States in 1971. Orange/Yellow and white to black in color.
Maine Anjou Originated in France. Dark red with white markings or black. Developed by crossing the Mancelle breed with the Shorthorn breed.
Salers Originated in France. Fastest growing breed in the United States . Mahogany red to black in color. One of the last breeds to be imported into the United States.
Tarentaise originated in France. Red with dark pigmentation around the eyes and orifices moderate in size and are predominantly known for their maternal traits, including fertility and high milking ability. considered to be a dairy breed in their native region . less widely known for their ability to produce a quality carcass.
Texas Longhorn Developed entirely by nature in North America. Known for its long horns. High fertility. Were near extinction in 1927.
British breeds, also known as English breeds, originated in the British Isles. British breeds are smaller in size than the Continental breeds, but they have increased fleshing and marbling abilities . British breeds, which are the foundation of the United States beef herd, include the following breeds: Angus, Hereford, Red Angus, Red Poll, and Shorthorn .
Angus Originated in Scotland. Solid black in color. Naturally polled. Consumer preference led to Certified Angus Beef.
Hereford Originated in Hereford, England. Red with white head, legs, and underline. Horned. Early maturing. “ Mothering” breed.
Polled Hereford Developed in Iowa by Warren Gammon . Naturally hornless. Red with white face, legs and underline.
Shorthorn Originated in England Red; red & white or roan in color. Originally used as a dual purpose breed for meat and milk. Sometimes called the Durham breed .
Red Poll originated in England. Red Poll cattle range in color from light to dark red. small breed known for its maternal traits, carcass merit, and genetic consistency. Red Poll calves have been recognized for their rapid rate of gain.
Red Angus originated in the British Isles. possesses many of the traditional Angus traits, including carcass quality, maternal characteristics, calving ease, and moderate size
Purposes of Dairy Cattle Produces Milk. Reproduce to provide replacement milk cows in future years. Provide a means of living for farmers in the dairy business by providing the most milk at the least possible cost.
Holstein originated in Europe. The major historical development of this breed occurred in what is now the Netherlands . Winthrop Chenery brought the first Holstein over so the sailors could have milk (high production). Holsteins are large, stylish animals with color patterns of black and white or red and white. Average production in 1987 was 17,408 pounds of milk, 632 pounds of butterfat and 550 pounds of protein per year .
Brown Swiss originated in the mountain pastures of the Swiss Alps and declared a dairy breed in 1906. light silver to dark brown with dark points. 15,883 lbs of milk per lactation; 3.97% fat . a mature female weighs 1400 lbs. particularly strong feet and legs because of the mountains docile, people-friendly demeanor .
Guernsey Known for producing high-butterfat and high-protein milk . Produce their high quality milk while consuming 20 to 30 percent less feed per pound of milk. Excellent grazer . Produces 14,667 pounds of milk, 659 pounds of butterfat and 510 pounds of protein.
Jersey Originated on the Island of Jersey, a small British island in the English Channel. The island of Jersey was very protective of this breed. Because of this the breed stayed distinctive for many years. Adapted to a wide range of climatic and geographical conditions . vary greatly in color, but the characteristic color is golden fawn, with or without white markings. smallest of the dairy breeds . long life (61.1 months vs 56.2 months) . its nutritive content is 28.46% greater than ordinary milk.
Ayshire originated in the County of Ayr in Scotland. Prior to 1800 many of the cattle of Ayrshire were black , although by 1775 browns and mottled colors started to appear. red and white. medium-sized cattle and should weigh over 1200 pounds at maturity strong, rugged cattle that adapt to all management systems 12,000 pounds of milk with a 3.9% Butterfat Calves are strong and easy to raise
American Bison (Bos bison) All the body parts of this bison is used for tools, equipment, and utensils by the Plain Indians. They are also source of food back then.
European Bison or Wisent (Bos bonasus) Never domesticated, but evidently played a role in Sumerian cosmology . The closest bison to Sumeria were probably those of the Caucasus. The last Caucasian bison died in a zoo in 1927. They survive only in Bialowiecza Forest , on the Poland-Belarus border
Cape Buffalo ( Syncerus caffer) They are called Real buffalo (African buffalo) from genus Syncerus They never been domesticated
Forest Buffalo ( Syncerus nanus) They are called Real buffalo (African buffalo) from genus Syncerus They never been domesticated
Assam They are wild asian buffalo. Domestic buffalo (Water-buffalo) Bubalus bubalis are descended from them.
Two breed-groups of water-buffalo Many breeds plus local (“desa”) variants Not divided into breeds Used for ploughing, meat, milk Used in ploughing, draught, meat; not milked Prefer to bathe in clean water Wallow in mud, pools Penis hangs clear Scrotum pendulous Penis adheres to belly Scrotum 10cm long 2n = 50 2n = 48 Completely black Grey with white legs, 1-2 white bands on throat Curly horns Horns in plane of head Taller, longer slimmer body Stocky, pot-bellied South Asia Southeast Asia River buffalo Swamp buffalo
Wild Asian buffalo (Bubalus arnee) They are called Real buffalo (Asian buffalo) from genus Bubalus They have been domesticated Swamp Buffalo.
Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) They are called Real buffalo (Asian buffalo) from genus Bubalus They have been domesticated Swamp Buffalo
Lowland Anoa (Bubalus depressicornis) They are called Real buffalo (Asian buffalo) from genus Bubalus They have been domesticated Swamp Buffalo.
Mountain Anoa (Bubalus quarlesi) They are called Real buffalo (Asian buffalo) from genus Bubalus They have been domesticated Swamp Buffalo.