Why Do Brahman Cattle Have A Hump: What Type, How, Detailed Facts


Why Do Brahman Cattle Have A Hump: What Type, How, Detailed Facts

Much like camels, cows also have humps. And it is often a topic of interest to know about those humps. 

Brahman cattle’s humps result from their ancestors’ different types of humps. The humps made up of muscle, soft tissue, and fats are prevalent around the shoulder and neck area. While the cattle’s hump resembles a camel’s, it is not considered to store water or fat for emergency use.

The Brahman cattle humps and other information related to them will be discussed in the next section. Therefore, this post will be detailed but inexhaustive, solely informational in purpose. 

S,o without much ado, let’s begin our hump journey!

Image Credit: A Brahman bull with a hump by Shayaden from Pixabay

What kind of cow has a hump?

We all have seen humps in Indian cow breeds. The humps are extremely valuable and lend a unique edge to the cattle’s general appearance.

However, humps are primarily seen, in more pronounced ways, among the cows and bulls of the Brahman breed. As stated above, a hump is a Rhomboid muscle, which can be found in every cattle. But we do not find a hump in all of them. Only the breed with an enhanced Rhomboid muscle tends to have a hump on their back, near the neck. 

Why do cows hump?

Having humps and humping are two entirely different things. Although they may sound similar, they are not so similar in reality. 

Humping is a major sign to recognize that a cow is in heat. In other words, the act of humping could indicate that the cow is in heat or about to go into heat. A cow during the heat cycle may also mount on another cow, and this cow-cow mounting can be a sure sign to breed the cow that is being mounted.

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That being said, cow humping may not be a clear sign to determine the heat cycle; it is better to watch such behavior closely. 

Why do Indian cow breeds have humps?

It is pretty interesting to note that Indian cows wear humps, whereas western cows are humpless. The humps also cause a lot of variances across cattle breeds.

The environment has a significant impact on the formation of humps in cattle. For example, the Indian subcontinent has warmer climatic conditions, and the humps in cows are thought to help the cattle avoid overheating during summer. Although the evolutionary benefit of having a hump is unknown, a hump most likely contributes to cooling in hot weather.

In this regard, it is also thought that Indian cows are directly born from their ancestors, whereas western cows are majorly the results of genetic modification. So, we can find humps, the reminiscence of the ancestral lineage, in Indian cattle. 

What is the function of a Brahma bull’s hump?

Image Credit: Brahman (Bos indicus) by Moheroy (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikipedia

The hump is probably the most striking feature of a Brahman bull or the whole species of cattle. But why are those humps there in the first place? Let’s have a look.

Humps are believed to help the animal survive in hot, arid conditions and are made of connective tissues. Humps are also thought to hold water. But the actual evolutionary purpose of this part of a Brahman bull’s body is still unknown. 

That being said, Brahman bulls have more masculine features, and the humps go well with their overall look.

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Does female brahman have humps?

Originating in India, the purebred Brahman cattle have a physiology that supports their survival in this subcontinent. Hump is a part of that physiology.

That said, female brahmans also sport humps. But of course, their humps are not as pronounced as the bulls’. The size and shape of the hump are determined by the individual animal’s breed, gender, and age. The male hump, however, is usually much larger than that of the female.

What should a Brahman hump’s optimal size be?

The hump over the withers on the back of Brahman cattle’s necks is well-known. But what is should be its ideal size?

It is usually thought that a bigger hump is always better. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this belief. That being said, the hump should be in proportion to the body of the cow or bull. On the other hand, Brahman cattle are recognized for their larger humps. 

Here, it would be interesting to note that while every cattle has the Rhomboid muscle, the hump is more pronounced and bigger in Brahman cattle. 


So, to summarize, we can state that humps are a distinctive feature of the Brahman cattle. However, unlike the hump of a camel, it does not retain food or water for later use. Instead, humps help to keep the animals cool in the hot weather.

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