How to Identify Breeds of Cattle by Their Distinctive Marks

how to identify cattle breeds If you want to simply recognise a cattle breed only by its physical appearance, you have to pay close attention to each aspect of every breed, to take notes (physically or mentally) and to memorise it till the next time you see a cow.

In order to do so, we took some time to write down a few simple, straightforward steps to identify the most common breeds of cattle. This being said, here is the mini guide.

Steps to identify a breed of cattle

As you’ll see, the steps are easy. The only difficult part is to memorize all the specific features for each and every breed.

First thing first, you have to discover the name of the breeds by searching on Google or on any other search engine you are using.

We recommend you type “the most common breeds of cattle” to make sure the results will lead you only to the main breeds, not to all of them since their number is far greater than you could imagine.

Carefully study the pictures of all the breeds you come across and take notes on the following aspects:

  • The colours – here you have to be aware of two things: the main prevalent colour or the combination of multiple colours and the places where these spots are located on the animal’s body.
  • The body type and specific characteristics – we are here referring to the hair type (short, long, shaggy, sleek), the muscling tendencies, the actual size in comparison with other breeds, the length of the members/body, the average weight and if the breed is raised for dairy products or for beef or both. There is a rule that says that the beef breeds are more muscular, but not fat-looking, and have a rounded appearance. In this section you’ll also have to notice the head’s characteristics – if the breed is horned or polled.

Be aware of the two main types of breeds: the dairy ones and the beef ones. There are also dual-purpose breeds such as Dexters, Red Polls and Devon cattle. In this situation we can usually label the cattle one way or another according to the muscling tendencies.

Among the best-known dairy breeds, we can name Holstein-Friesian, Brown Swiss, Jersey, Guernsey, Milking Shorthorn and many others.

The beef breeds are divided into 4 categories:

  • Continentals: Limousins, Charolais, Simmentals, Maine Anjou, Belgian Blue, Chianina, Piedmontese etc.
  • British type: Angus, Red Angus, Scottish Highlands Galloway, Red Polls, Herefords, Devons, Dexter etc.
  • Composites: Santa Gertrudis, Brangus and Red Brangus, Santa Cruz, Barzona, Bonsmara, Beefalo etc.
  • Exotics: Dexters, Florida Cracker/Pineywoods, Ankole-Watusi, Corrientes, Texas Longhorns, Dutch Belted, Highland cattle etc.

The last logical step of this guide is to compile all these pieces of information, features and characteristics together and try to identify each breed.

Of course, there are a great many breeds all around the world and it could be difficult to remember the physical features of all of them. If you ever wonder how many breeds of cattle there are, we must tell you that there are over 1000 breeds of cattle recognised worldwide.

What breed do we mainly export at Seradria?

We export cattle to European Union countries as well as to those across the Mediterranean region. Also, the Arabic region, Libya, Iraq and Israel are some other good markets with a high demand for cattle.

The main breeds that we export to these regions are the Romanian Simmental (Baltata Romaneasca) and Blue Belgium. The first one is highly wanted for its good meat-weight ratio when slaughtered. As for the second one, this is a premium tier breed, with excellent meat-weight ratio when slaughtered, although it’s not so widely available in Romania and we export it in limited quantities.

If you don’t know exactly what these breeds look like, you can put into practice what you have learnt from this guide. Search for the cattle breeds on your search engine and notice the features that these animals have.


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