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12 Best Cattle Breeds and Their Characteristics

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Did you know there are more than 70 established cattle bleeds in North America – it’s true. Surprisingly, less than 20 cattle breeds make up the majority of what’s sold in supermarkets and what’s put into commercial beef production.

Here are a few of the most well-known and best cattle breeds as we’ve come to know them.

1. Charolais Cattle

Charolais was introduced to the North American cattle industry in a big way in the 1930s, from Mexico. Quickly, this breed hit its stride and came into widespread use as consumers’ meat demands rose. In turn, farmers sought larger framed and heavier battle than British cattle.

Known as one of the best cattle breeds in North America, charolais cattle have short hair coats in the summer which thickens in the colder weather, with a creamy white color to their name.

2. Holstein Friesan Cattle

Holstein Friesan is an excellent cattle breed for producing milk for cheese, butter, and other purposes. When most non-farmers think of a cow, chances are what they’re thinking of is this breed. It is used in adverts for milk frequently as they are one of the highest productive breeds relating to dairy.

3. Black Angus Cattle

Black Angus is easily the most common beef cattle breed in North America. In the United States alone, there’s more than 330,000 Black Angus cattle on farms from coast to coast. They’re preferred by a lot of farmers as they are known to yield well-marbled, flavorful beef. Angus also require very little maintenance during calving season. They’ve very good mothers and feed-efficient. All in all, there’s few drawbacks – if any – to Black Angus.

4. Hereford Cattle

Hereford originated from the UK and grew to be popular in North America entirely because of their early maturity as well as their ability to fatten. They are dark red to a red-ish yellow in color always with a white face. They are known for their longevity, for their docility, and for being excellent milkers and mothers.

5. Galloway Cattle

Galloway cattle carry a fluffy coat and also provides great-tasting beef for meat-eaters. The Galloway is an older cattle breed, named after the area in Scotland where it was popularize. When cattle exports began in the mid-1800s, this is when the Galloway came to North America and really hit its’ stride. This is one of the best cattle breeds favoured by many!

6. Simmental Cattle

Simmental are one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. They’re widely distributed red and white cattle first introduced here in North America in the late 1800s. Ever since, Simmental cattle have been deeply embedded in the beef community ever since. They have a large body, no assistance is needed in the calving season, and they have strong weight gaining potential.

7. Texas Longhorn Cattle

The Texas Longhorn was brought to us by Christopher Columbus and Spanish colonists. Characteristic horns dominate this cattle’s aesthetic, extending to as long as 2.1 metres. Longhorns are well known for their diverse coloring as well and are able to be almost any mix or color.

8. Shorthorn Cattle

Shorthorn was originally developed to be a dual purpose breed, to get both dairy and beef products. It was the hope that people could raise a single cattle breed to deliver both. A lot of bloodlines in this breed have one stronger than the other, resulting in some being called beef shorthorns or dairy shorthorns. They are widely available in certain regions of Canada and the United States, and certainly fit the list.

9. Gelbvieh Cattle

Gelbvieh is a European breed introduced to the US via artificial insemination. Red in color, with strong skin pigmentation, and always horned, this polled cattle comes from naturally hornless foundation females. Those who love Gelbvieh love them a lot! Claims around the Gelbviah are that they have superior fertility, higher than average growth rate for calves, and more. These types of cattle require regular feeding since they do eat a lot.

10. Red Angus Cattle

Slightly less popular than Black Angus, this cattle breed offers the same carcass characteristics providing a lot of the same marbling and flavor. Red Angus tend to be more docile and more tolerant to hot temperatures than Black Angus which can present some advantages. Deciding between a Red Angus and Black Angus, they share a lot of identical traits, which may mean it comes down to access and affordability for most.

11. Brahman Cattle

The Brahman cattle breed is considered a ‘super cow’ by some, is one of the oldest breeds around, and has strong adaptability defending against parasites, diseases, and common cattle pests. They are known for their large hump and horns, and their ability to survive sans adequate food as well as in harsher climates. Able to fight their way to survival, Brahman cattle have to be truly one of the most determined and best cattle breeds there is.

12. Limousin Cattle

Limousin are a golden-red breed native to southern France. Initially brought over into Texas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, the Limousin breed now exist all over the country. There are more than 1 million Limousin registered in the United States alone!

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