We all have an image of a black and white cow in the back of our minds somewhere. But, cows come in a variety of natural colors. Some cows are brown, some are all white, and some are all black! There’s a wide variety of cows out there. Here are a few of the cow breeds that are most commonly associated with being all black.
The 9 Black Cattle Breeds are:
1. Welsh Black Cattle
The Welsh Black Cattle is a British cattle breed that is a descendant of pre-Roman northern cattle breeds. Black cattle have been common in Wales and Scotland for over 1,000 years and were once called “the black gold from the Welsh hills.”
Up until the 1970s, the Welsh Black Cattle was considered a dual-purpose dairy and beef cow. There were two breeds of the Welsh Black Cattle: The North Wales type was stockier and raised for beef, while the South Wales type was raised for dairy.
2. Aberdeen Angus Cattle
The Aberdeen Angus is a black cattle breed hailing from Scotland. Angus cattle can be black or red, though they often have white udders. The breeding of the Aberdeen Angus dates back to 1824 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The breed was officially recognized in 1835, and in 2018 Aberdeen Angus cattle made up 17% of the UK’s breeding stock.
The Aberdeen Angus was introduced to other communities worldwide. Angus cattle have populations and fanciers worldwide who have taken further tailoring the breeding of Angus cattle to suit their locations better.
3. Galloway Cattle Breed
Galloway cows are one of the world’s most established breeds of beef cattle. The breed comes from the 17th century Galloway region of Scotland, for which it is named. Galloway cattle are traditionally black, though some areas recognize red cattle.
Galloway cattle were exported to Canada, America, and Australia by the 1950s and experienced a boom in popularity amongst farmers. This boom was short-lived as the foot and mouth crisis ravaged the breeding stock. However, the demands of the beef industry have prompted a more recent revival of the breed.
4. Brangus Cattle
The Brangus breed was a crossbreed designed to use the best traits of Angus and Brahman cattle. Brahman cattle developed superior disease resistance by rigorous natural selection, while the Angus cattle are known for their excellent meat quality.
The result of this combination is a highly successful crossbreed that is considered highly versatile in every sector of cattle raising. Brangus cattle are resistant to heat and humidity as well as faring well in cooler climates.
5. Black Baldy Cattle Breed
The Black Baldy is another crossbreed cattle. This one crosses the Hereford with Angus cattle. Black Baldy cattle generally have a white face similar to the Hereford, but the Angus cattle’s red body coat is replaced with the Black from the Angus coloring. This coloring is because both the white face and the black body alleles are dominant in cattle.
Black Baldy cows are considered to be exceptional mothers. Good mothering is a crucial trait because the Black Baldy exhibits hybrid vigor, a feature in which the offspring of crossbred creatures show increased biological qualities.
6. Australian Lowline Cattle
The Australian Lowline cattle come from Angus ancestry. The Australian Lowline Cattle is a compact beef cattle breed popular amongst farmers for its high-quality beef and easy-to-raise nature.
Australian Lowline cattle date back to the late 1920s where a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle in New South Wales was started at the Agricultural Research Center in Trangie. The Australian Lowline is bred with space and feed efficiency in mind, without sacrificing their beef quality.
7. Blue Grey Cattle Breed
Blue Grey cattle are a Scottish crossbreed of a Whitebred Shorthorn bull and a black Galloway cow. The cross of the color alleles in the genetics of the first-generation offspring results in a blue roan coloring of the coat.
Because the blue roan coloring results from incomplete dominance of the white and black color alleles, only 50% of the offspring of blue roan cattle will have the blue roan coloring. The other offspring will either be black or white.
As a result, the Whitebred Shorthorn was explicitly developed for breeding Blue Grey cattle because the blue roan coloring was so popular.
8. Anatolian Black Cattle
The Anatolian Black Cattle is sometimes referred to as the Native Black Cattle and is endemic to Anatolia in what is now Turkey. They’re primarily raised in Central Turkey as dairy, meat, and draught animals.
The Anatolian Black is the smallest of the three cattle breeds endemic to Turkey and is currently at risk of extinction. Crossbreeding with European cattle to improve productivity and yields has put these cattle at risk, and the number of genetically pure Anatolian Black Cattle has reduced significantly.
9. Herens Cattle Breed
Herens cattle hail from Switzerland. They’re small, horned cattle that come from the alpine regions of Switzerland. They can be brown, red, or black and usually have a lighter-colored stripe along the spine.
The Herens cattle are known for aggression between females, and as a result, cow fighting has become a popular sport featuring Herens cattle. In the spring, cows and heifers have their horns blunted and are made to fight one another — a natural behavior that the Herens cows engage in to establish dominance — as a tourist attraction in the Swiss canton of Valais, from where they originate.
Final Thoughts: Black Cattle Breeds
Cattle come in all shapes and sizes, just like people. The world has no shortage of unique cattle breeds, and new breeds are being worked on by agricultural fanatics daily. Each breed of cattle is specifically designed to face unique challenges for cattle herders everywhere.
- You may want to read next: Brangus Cattle Breed
Featured Image: Galloway cow (Image Credit: Jamain, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)