Breeds Of Dairy Cows: Interesting Insights And Facts


Breeds Of Dairy Cows: Interesting Insights And Facts

It is a well-established fact that cow milk is highly esteemed globally. Let’s take a look at some popular breeds of dairy cows. 

Holsteins, Jerseys, and Brown Swiss are among the most popular breeds of dairy cows, along with Guernsey and Ayrshire. These breeds produce high quantities of milk and contribute immensely to the annual yield of their countries. 

There are a lot of questions regarding the different breeds of dairy cows. Let’s address some of them. 

Image Credits: “grazing dairy cows” by dcysurfer / Dave Young is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Best dairy cow breeds

Dairy cows are a vital part of any economy and play a key role in its success. Let’s take a look at some of the best dairy cow breeds.

Some of the best dairy cow breeds that provide reliable and consistent milk supply include:

  • Holsteins
  • Jersey Cattle
  • Brown Swiss Cattle 
  • Dairy Shorthorn
  • Ayrshire Cattle
  • Guernsey Cattle
  • Dexter Cow
  • Dutch Belted Cow

These cows are a good starting point when you are looking for the best breeds of dairy cows for your farm. However, each of these has its specific requirements, and not all of them are easy to manage. 

Which breed of dairy cows is the easiest to maintain?

Image Credits: “Jersey Cow” by Dave Hamster is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Not all dairy cows are equal. Some can be a lot tougher to manage than others. Let’s look at some dairy cows that are easy to maintain. 

Jersey cows and Dexter cows are smaller breeds that are quite easy-going with minimal requirements. Even Brown Swiss Cows are quite docile but are not suitable for smaller homesteads. The Jersey breed, in particular, is a viable alternative for farmers with smaller lands.

All in all, if you wish to rear a dairy cow, it is essential to invest in a breed whose requirements you can fulfill. 

Which breed of dairy cows produces the best milk?

While dairy cows produce abundant milk, only a handful of breeds can produce nutrient-dense milk. Let’s look at the cow breeds that have the best milk.

Jersey cows produce milk which is high in butterfat and protein. In fact, their milk can be used for churning out butter and cheese. Even Guernsey cattle produce nutrient-rich milk. It is worth mentioning here that although Holsteins produce the largest quantity of milk, their milk doesn’t have enough protein or fat.

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Cow’s milk, in general, doesn’t contain as much protein as horse or buffalo milk. However, cow’s milk has its share of benefits. 

What are the benefits of cow’s milk?

Dairy cows are high in demand, and the reason behind it is the numerous benefits of drinking cow’s milk. Let’s explore more in this regard. 

There are several hidden benefits of cow’s milk that are not discussed often. Some of them are:

  • Cow’s milk is a great source of calcium. 
  • The milk from dairy cows aids in bone development. 
  • It can help in muscle functioning. 
  • Regular consumption of cow’s milk can boost heart health. 
  • Cow’s milk has an abundance of B vitamins.
  • Cow’s milk contains Vitamin D, which helps in the proper functioning of the body.
  • Milk derived from cows also has numerous other minerals and essential amino acids. 

For people who are not lactose-intolerant, cow’s milk can prove to be a massive boon, with its miraculous benefits. However, you should always consume animal milk in moderation.

Dairy cow breeds USA

Image Credits: “Brown Swiss” by Just chaos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There is no shortage of dairy cow breeds in the USA. Let’s take a look at some common dairy breeds. 

Holsteins are the most widely available dairy cow breed in the USA. Although most Holsteins are black and white in color, red and white Holsteins are also found in the USA. Some other commonly found dairy cows in the USA include: 

  • Brown Swiss
  • Ayrshire
  • Guernsey 
  • Jersey 
  • Milking Shorthorn

The USA primarily has seven breeds of dairy cows, out of which the percentage of Holsteins is the largest. 

Why are Holsteins the most popular dairy breed in the USA?

Holsteins are pretty popular in the USA for several reasons. Let’s explore more in this regard. 

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Holsteins are known for their high milk supply, but that’s not it. They are also very easy to domesticate, have a calm temperament, and do not pose any threat to the farmers. Their gentle attitude, along with their easy adaptability, makes them a popular choice for dairy farms in the USA. 

Holsteins contribute immensely to the overall economy of a nation which explains why they’re much in demand. 

Breeds of dairy cows in Australia 

Image Credits: “20180521-201021 – Cow Evening Bokeh” by torstenbehrens is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Australia is among the largest consumers of milk globally. Needless to say, dairy cows are much in demand. Let’s look at some breeds of dairy cows in Australia. 

There is no dearth of dairy cattle in Australia since milk forms an integral part of the average Australian household. Some of the commonly found dairy cow breeds in the Australian region include:

  • Holstein Friesian Cattle
  • Jersey Cattle
  • Aussie Red Cows
  • Brown Swiss
  • Guernsey
  • Illawarra Shorthorn
  • Ayrshire Cows
  • Milk Swiss 
  • Australian Milking Zebu

Australia has around 1.65 million dairy cows. Out of these, Holsteins form the majority and produce the largest quantities of milk. 

Breeds of dairy cows in Ireland

Ireland has around 1.5 million dairy cows belonging to different breeds. Let’s take a look at some popular breeds of dairy cows in Ireland.

Some popular breeds of dairy cows in Ireland include the Irish Moiled, Kerry Cattle, and Dexter Cattle. Out of these, the Irish Moiled and Kerry Cattle breeds are quite rare. The Irish Moiled has, over the years, gained the reputation of being a dual-purpose cattle.

The dairy industry in Ireland is flourishing, and there is high demand for cow’s milk. In addition, there is also a high demand for beef, which contributes to the overall demand for cows in the region. 

Breeds of dairy cows UK

Dairy is one of the chief industries in the UK, and well-reared dairy cows are much in demand. Let’s find out the best breeds of dairy cows in the UK. 

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Holsteins comprise 90% of the total dairy cow population in the UK. They yield high quantities of milk and contribute immensely to the economy. Other commonly found dairy breeds in the UK include Guernsey, Jersey, and Ayrshire. 

Overall, the country has 34 native cattle breeds, but these four are the most popular dairy breeds. The majority of these 34 breeds are raised for deriving meat or veal. 

Breeds of dairy cows New Zealand

The dairy industry is flourishing in New Zealand, with 4.85 million cows. Let’s take a look at some popular breeds of dairy cows in the region. 

The most widely available dairy cow breed in New Zealand is the black and white Holsteins, which make up approximately 45% of the milking herd. Some other breeds of dairy cows in NZ include:

  • Jersey Cows
  • Milking Shorthorn
  • Ayrshire
  • Brown Swiss

Some other popular cow breeds include Dexter and Red Poll, but they are viewed as dual-purpose cows, and there’s no concrete data on their annual milk production. 

Breeds of dairy cows in Kenya 

Rearing of livestock for producing milk and meat forms an important source of livelihood in Kenya. Let’s check out some breeds of dairy cows in the region.

There are several dairy farms in Kenya that rear a diverse range of cow breeds. Some of them include Friesians, Ayrshire, Guernsey, and Jersey. Apart from these, Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorn are also popular dairy breeds in the Kenyan region. 


The dairy industry is among the biggest commercial sectors around the globe. As such, the importance of rearing dairy cows is not lost on farmers. Dairy cows are quite prestigious and provide the right nourishment so that they can produce sufficient quantities of milk. 

In addition, you should treat cows with sensitivity and fulfill their needs in order to ensure they remain calm and happy. 

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