Do Cows Have Cloven Hooves: Why, How, and Exhaustive Facts


Do Cows Have Cloven Hooves: Why, How, and Exhaustive Facts

Since cows have hooves instead of feet, this makes people curious to know what type of hooves they have. Whether they have cloven or uncloven hooves? Are they even-toed or odd- toed hoof animals? Let’s figure this out.  

Cow’s hooves are cloven-shaped, with two toes clearly separated and surrounded by hard hoof tissue. These two toes can move independently to a certain extent. These hooves protect the animal’s limbs and overall body in all possible aspects. 

Apart from assisting animals to walk on rugged terrains, additionally, cloven hooves possess a number of benefits. They help animals not only to walk easily on rugged terrains, but also support the animal’s overall body weight and protect its internal tissues and organs. 

Image Credits: David_Miram by pixabay free Images

What are Cloven Hooves?

Cleverly designed hooves are characteristic of animals from the group Artiodactyla. They are found especially in cattle, but what exactly is cloven hoof is still undiscovered. Let’s find this out. 

Hoofs that have been split into two toes are referred to as cloven hooves or split hooves. Historically, cloven hooves have been associated with the devil.  While uncloven hooves are  solid, cloven hooves are divided into digits. In cloven hoofed animals, the two fingers, particularly third and fourth are similar to those on the hand.

Why Do Cows Have Cloven Hooves?

The fact that cows have cloven hooves allows us to wonder why they have them, what makes them develop this trait, or what benefits they have from having them. Read below to know the benefits. 

Cloven hooves of ruminant cows to cope with uneven terrain, provide propulsion and support their bodies during movement in natural environments and  protects their feets and provides a large surface area that supports the huge body weight and the massive build of cows.

See also  Can Cows Jump: How High, What Circumstances and Interesting Facts

Cows’ cloven hooves help them to walk smoothly on uneven, hard and soft surfaces easily. Their hooves support their body weight and help their limbs stay strong and healthy. 

Do All Cows Have Cloven Hooves?

Although cows have cloven hooves that help them in several different ways. Still, there are conflicting views on whether all cows have cloven hooves or not. Let’s find out. 

All cows have cloven hooves that help them to walk easily on rough terrains. Since they have hooves, they belong to the order Artiodactyla, which also includes other hoof animals like deer, cattle, and goats.

Although it was believed that only working cows require cloven hooves so that they can walk easily on every even or uneven surface without any trouble. However, not just working cows, all cows do require a pair of cloven hooves that can work independently and allows their body to move freely. 

Why is a Cloven Hoof Unclean?

“It is unclean for you to touch or pick up any animal with a split hoof that is not fully divided or that does not chew its cud.” This is the common phrase you must have heard in your lifetime. However, why is a cloven hoof unclean is still questionable among many. 

Those animals with split hooves are viewed as clean according to the Bible, whereas those with cloven hooves are not. In simple terms, animals with cloven hooves are unclean, regardless of the fact if they chew cud or not. 

In simpler terms, it can be said that those animals who chew the cud are considered clean, but those with cloven hooves despite the fact that they chew cud or not will be deemed unclean. 

See also  How Fast Can A Cow Run: When, Why, Interesting Facts

Do You Have to Clean Cow Hooves?

Image Credits: hanubkrishna by pixabay free Images

It is well known that every type of foot, whether it is the trotter, webfoot, or the foot, requires regular cleaning. However, Whether the complex structure of hooves requires regular cleaning or not is still uncertain. Let’s examine this. 

To prevent your animals developing cracks and various hoof related problems or sickness it is essential to clean and maintain cow hooves regularly. 

Hooves on cows are continually growing, so if they aren’t trimmed regularly, they can become quite uncomfortable. If that growth isn’t controlled, it can cause permanently impaired movement, which could result in the cow’s death.

When to Trim a Cow’s Hoof? 

Now that it is quite clear that hooves need to be trimmed regularly, however how often it needs to be trimmed is still undiscovered. Let’s find out the answer. 

In general, hoof trimming for fully-grown cows should be performed at least once every six months. However, some cows require more regular trimming than usual. For instance older cows, those with foot rot or abscessed hooves usually require hoof trimming every three months. 

As dairy cows and beef cows are different sizes, you can expect trimming their hooves to take anywhere from 10-15 minutes based on their size

How Do You Clean Cow Hooves? 

Keeping cow’s hooves clean is crucial for their health and strength, but how to clean the hooves is still debatable. Some argue that only farriers are capable of cleaning the hooves, but others believe anyone can do so as long as they take the necessary precautions. Let’s put an end to this debate

See also  Are Cows Smart: Comparative Analysis With Multiple Animals

Cow hooves can be cleaned by using hoof pick and hoof trimmer easily. They help remove dirt, mud, or rocks from the sole of the hoof and help to keep the hoof clean and healthy.

The choice of hoof maintenance depends on preference and need. There are a wide variety of tools that can be used for hoof trimming. It is important to trim the cow’s hooves at the correct level so that the cow is comfortable walking, and that no harm is done to their delicate quick. 

In addition to this, the hooves are all leveled properly for comfortable walking. Despite a painless procedure, they do not usually enjoy trimming!


Cloven hooves of the cows is their unique feature that makes their limbs strong and help them walk easily. However,  it is essential to know everything you can about cow hooves if you are raising cattle on your farm or homestead. Cow hooves need to be trimmed just as fingernails do and maintained properly for their comfort as well as to prevent certain health problems. 

Leave a Comment