Basic Introduction to Cow Breeds

By Gayot Editors

The many varieties of cattle across the world give us different kinds of meat to eat. Here’s a guide to the origin and products of specific cow types.

• Angus

Of Scottish origin, Angus cattle are prized worldwide for their well-marbled, meat-heavy carcasses.


A cross between a buffalo and any breed of cattle.


A native of India, this breed has a distinctive back hump and can handle hot weather.


A Swiss breed—how now, Brown Cow? Braunvieh means “brown cattle.”


A French breed from Charolles, grown for meat, not dairy.


A product of central Italy.


Originated in Bavaria, in southern Germany in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.


Natives of England, this is a common breed in the U.S., Argentina and Australia for meat production.


A crossbreed from Italy’s Piedmont region; their breeders promote their meat as being naturally low in fat but still tender and flavorful.

Santa Gertrudis

A cross between a Brahman and a shorthorn, this breed is believed to be the first created in the U.S.


A breed developed in the Caribbean, this one is heat-tolerant and meaty.


Originally from England, shorthorns are a popular American breed because they grow rapidly.


A Swiss breed grown for both dairy and meat production.


The famed cattle that produce Japan’s prized Kobe beef, named for the city that launched the breed.

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