Black and white cow breeds, contrary to some people’s beliefs, are hard to come by as the color combination is rare. It would be hard to find cattle breeds as beautiful as the ones with unique black/white spotting.
The uniqueness of black and white and the diversity it brings to the coat color patterns are hard to ignore. These incredible markings attract attention at first sight. Black and white cattle breeds have surely made their mark in the cattle world with their beautiful appearance.
Black and White Cow Breeds
We are aware you are dying to know more about the black and white cow breeds, their appearance, origin, history, traits, and uses. So without further ado, let’s get you familiar with the breeds.
- Belted Galloway
- Holstein Friesian Cattle
- Texas Longhorn
- German Black Pied
- Yaroslavl Cattle
Lakenvelder or Dutch Belted is the only striped cattle whose lineage is traced back to the original “canvassed” cattle. Because of its beautiful belted appearance, many breeders crossed Lakenvelder with other breeds to get the popular “belt”.
The original belted cattle native to Austria and Switzerland were moved to the Netherlands in the 17th century. Because of the sky-rocketing demand for the Belted cows, many local breeders began to cross local livestock and Dutch Belted.
The distinguishing feature of course is the wide white belt around the middle. The breed is naturally polled and its body structure resembles that of dairy cows.
Lakenvelder is raised to meet dairy requirements. However, because of the stockier frame, it produces a higher beef yield.
2. Belted Galloway
With their distinctive black and white color markings, one can easily understand why they are called “Oreo Cattle”. They are famously known as “Belties” among breeders because of the middle white belt. Belties are well-known to survive the harshest winter season because they possess a double coat of hair.
Though no one is certain about the Belted Galloway’s origin, this Scottish breed is believed to have been developed by the crossing of the Galloway and the Dutch Belted Cow (the Lakenvelder).
Their distinctive trait is a white belt that encircles the body. Belted Galloway is medium-sized, polled, long-lived with a double coat of hair.
Belted Galloway is mainly reared for their ornamental qualities and lean, quality beef.
Braham, being the “sacred cattle of India”, is well-known for its large hump and distinctive darker markings on the neck, shoulder, and lower thighs. The breed survived inadequate food supplies and harsh weather and developed tolerance to heat, sunlight, and humidity.
Originated from Bos indicus, Brahma got major breed development after crossing with the Guzerat, Ongole, Nelore, and Gyr. The American Brahman Breeders Association is headquartered in Houston tracks and verifies Brahmans’ bloodlines.
Large hump, short thick glossy coat, skin pigmentation, loose skin, curving horns, large ears are some common traits.
Brahman beef enjoys quite a popularity in the meat industry. Brahma breed also serves as a riding steer.
One can not stop admiring the beauty of this breed, known for its many names as Guzera, Gujera, Gujrati, Gusera, and Guzerath. The breed is loved for its unique dark markings on the head and forequarters.
However, the ancestor of this breed is Indian cattle but the breed originated in Brazil. The breed developed after crossing with Indian Kankrej cattle with the local Taurine Crioulo cattle. To honor the ancestors, it was named Guzerat which is the Portuguese spelling of Gujrat.
They are considered powerful draft animals with long lyre-shaped horns having quite similar traits to the American Brahman.
This dual-purpose breed is primarily raised for meat and dairy.
5. Holstein Friesian Cattle
You would have no problem recognizing a Holstein because of their black and white spotting. The stylish Holstein exhibits numerous distinctive markings of black and red coloring with white. Holstein is a favorite among cattle owners because of their outstanding milk production.
Dairy breeders wanted to develop a breed that can produce more milk with limited feed resources. The black cattle of the Batavians and white cows of the Friesians laid the foundation of this breed. The Holstein breed first came to the United States in 1852.
Holsteins are a large-sized animal with color patterns. The breed is polled with a productive life span of 6 years.
When talking about the largest dairy cattle breeds, Holstein can not be overlooked. Holstein is mainly raised for their milk production, they can be milked three times a day and has an annual milk production of 72000 pounds.
6. Texas Longhorn
From the multitude of other cattle breeds, Texas Longhorn is easily recognizable owing to its long horns and color patterns. Texas Longhorns are kept for their gentle disposition, intelligence, genetic prospect, and economic potential.
Many breeds helped in the development and refinement of the Texas Longhorn. To name a few, Iberian Taurine, European Aurochs, and Indicine cattle were crossed to develop the breed.
Spectacularly colored with shadings and the unique horns are the distinguishing traits the Longhorn possesses. Some other characteristics include high fertility, easy calving, slow maturity, and long reproductive period.
For health-conscious people, Longhorn’s beef is a treat as it contains more meat and less fat. Mainly raised for beef and steer riding.
This Brazilian breed is famous for its coat color patterns and strong build. This adaptable breed is resistant to hotter climates and tropical diseases. Being excellent foragers, they do not need aid from man to forage and fend.
To meet Brazil’s market requirements of milk production, the Brazilian cattle breeders began to breed Gyr with Dutch which helped to improve the breed. The breed is often said to be ⅝ Holstein and ⅜ Gyr.
Girolandos are often confused for being Holstein’s cousins because of the resemblance and skin pigmentation. Large ears, optimum udder capacity, size of teats, and strong legs and hooves are some common traits.
Girolandos are usually raised as dairy cattle. Due to their splendid milk production, they make up for 80% of the milk produced in Brazil.
Up next is another beautiful cattle breed with a rare color combination of black and white, Blaarkop. Blaarkop is a dutch word that translates to “Blister Head”. The unique patterning of lighter head and belly (usually white) and darker elsewhere gives a pleasing sight in the Dutch landscape.
It is considered one of the oldest Dutch breeds with a history dating back to the 14th century. Their lineage can be traced to the Middle Ages livestock. Blaarkops are usually bred in the province of Groningen, Netherlands.
As the name translates, the breed got patches or blisters around the eyes, head, and belly. Some physical features include medium-sized build, square head, smaller curved horns, solid color coat with white patches, and a white tip at the end of the tail.
Blaarkop serves as a dual-purpose breed with its good quality milk and meat equally famous among the consumers.
Dhanni is a popular cattle breed with black and white color combinations, hailing from the Punjab region of Pakistan. The distinct color splashing on the belly and legs makes the breed more appealing.
Dhanni’s history goes back to the era of Alexander the Great who brought black cattle with him. Those black cattle were crossed with the local white cows which resulted in Dhanni.
Some common traits of the breed are medium-sized build, compact body, small head, alert eyes, big hump, stumpy horns, small ears, straight back, whip-like tail, and small udder. Spotting can be of either color black, brown, or red.
These multipurpose cattle are raised for milk, meat, and draught work. Apart from draught work, these cattle are used for steer riding, shows, and plowing.
10. German Black Pied
German Black Pied holds a dominant position among the black and white cattle breeds. Words would not do justice to the beautiful spotting of this breed. This naive creature without even knowing makes the landscape aesthetically pleasing with its presence.
Hailing from the North Sea coastal regions of northern Germany and the Netherlands, the breed was created through combination breeding. Three-breed cross happened in 1963 where jersey bulls were to be crossed with German Black Pied cows and the resulting descendants were to breed with Holstein.
The breed resembles in its build with their ancestors. However, German Black Pied cows are smaller than Holstein but more fertile and long-lived.
The breed has incredible milk production and sufficient beef to serve numerous platters.
11. Yaroslavl Cattle
Yaroslavl breed is Russia’s gift to cattle owners worldwide. Its beautiful white markings on the solid colored coat captivate the heart of an onlooker at first glance. One would recognize a Yaroslavl with its unique white head and black rings around the eyes.
This Russian milking breed was developed in the Yaroslavl province in the 19th century. The breed was created after crossing between the most productive local animals.
Yaroslavl, being a milking breed, got a body structure of a dairy cow. Muscular build, elongated body, and cup-shaped udder are some of the common characteristics.
Yaroslavl is counted among the best dairy breeds. In the presence of a Yaroslavl, there would not be any milk shortage.
Another gem of a breed from the Punjab region of Pakistan. Excessive black/brown color spotting on the solid white-colored coat is loved by many. The breed is so adored by the owners for their beauty that the cattle are often seen adorned with flowers and headwear.
The history of the Cholistani breed is a bit clouded not much could be known about how old the breed is or how it developed. However, what we could know is that the breed hails from the Cholistan desert and the locals believe it to be developed after the crossing of Sahiwal with local cattle.
Cholistani breed exhibits medium-sized built, large hump, smaller horns, long ears, a large dewlap, pendulous sheath, and medium-sized udder.
The multi-purpose Cholistani breed is kept for meat, milk, and draught purposes. Cholistani works tirelessly in the fields and gives sufficient milk and beef performance.
The beauty of this breed does not just lie in its compact hump and beautiful horns also the unique markings have some contributions as well. The breed holds a favorite spot among the locals for its distinct patterning, stronger build, and work ethics.
The breed is indigenous to the coastal plains of the districts of Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. The breed developed after selective espoused breeding with the local productive cattle breeds.
Umblacherys bear a close resemblance to the Kangayam cattle breeds. White markings, shorter thick horns, erect ears, well-developed hump, strong legs are some of the common traits.
Umblachery is primarily bred for agricultural purposes to work in the fields ( especially rice paddies). However, its sufficient milk production works as a bonus for the owner.
Another gem from Indian cattle breeds that do not live to disappoint. Kherigarh is adored for its overside hump with black marking and loose skin. At first glance, the breed will have your heart, and you would not be able to look elsewhere. Do not let the naive look fool you into thinking of them as a less potential animal. Kherigarh is a heavy-duty worker with strict work ethics.
Known by its several names Kheri, Kharigarh, and Khari, the breed is native to the Lakhimpur Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh. Not much is known about the breed’s origin, history, and ancestors but they are believed to be closely related to the Malwa breed.
The breed is characterized by the small-sized build, narrow face, thin horns, bright eyes, well-grown hump, and long tail.
Kherigarh is usually bred for draught work and milk production. The average yield per lactation is about 300 kg to 500 kg.(source)
Once you lay your eyes on the Lineback cattle, it would be impossible to forget the beauty. With patterning so distinct and disposition so gentle, it will be hard to find a cattle breed of that stamina and build. Beautiful black/white markings add to the appeal.
This American breed is developed by the bloodlines of Ayrshires, Friesians, Herefords, Milking Shorthorns, and Longhorn. In 1985, the American Lineback Cattle Association formed to keep records, track, and verify the bloodlines of Lineback cattle.
The unique trait is the black coat on both sides and the white line on the back. Two prominent patterns are observed in the breed Witrick and Gloucester.
This dual-purpose breed fulfills the purpose of meat and milk. The owner does not have to look elsewhere if he has a Lineback at the farm.
Putting it altogether
To sum it all up, black and white cattle breeds enjoy the distinction with their unique patterns. These beautiful spotted cattle are a sight to behold when grazing on the landscape. Many cattle owners prefer the black and white color markings over the common coat colors.