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Do Cows Have Fur? Everything You Need To Know!

british red poll cows

Even though cows are covered in a fur-like material, they technically do not have fur. Instead, cows have hair that covers their hide. Though there is only a subtle difference between hair and fur, it is incorrect to talk about a cow’s fur.

If you are shocked to learn that cows have hair instead of fur, keep reading. This article explains why cows have hair and the difference between fur and hair. Scroll down for more.

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Do Cows Have Fur or Hair?

Technically speaking, cows have hair, not fur. Even though many people will not realize your mistake, experts in the cattle industry will quickly recognize that you are inexperienced with cattle if you refer to their hair as fur.

Two Cow
Image Credit: PhotoMIX-Company, Pixabay

What Is The Difference Between Fur and Hair?

The difference between fur and hair is subtle. It has nothing to do with the type of material you are talking about. In fact, there is no scientific difference between fur and hair. The only difference lies in the words and their history.

Historically speaking, the word “fur” is used on animals that were used for clothing purposes. Back in the day, animal coats were turned into garments due to their superior insulation and warmth. As a result, fur is most often described to be on animals with thick, dense coats.

Related Read: 8 Fluffy, Long-Haired Cow Breeds: An Overview (with Pictures)

vintage coats made of animal fur
Image Credit: Marbury, Shutterstock

In comparison, the word “hair” describes the same material as fur. The only difference is that hair is not frequently used for clothing material because it isn’t as warm or soft. That is why the hair on your head is not referred to as fur; human hair is rarely used for garment purposes.

Don’t We Use Cow Hide For Clothes?

You might be thinking, “Why are cattle coats covered in hair if we use their hides for clothing?” The answer to this question is relatively simple. Even though cattle can be used for clothing, their main purpose is beef and milking.

Not to mention, the few cattle that are turned into clothes often have their hairs removed before their hides or turned into leather. In other words, the clothing made from cattle doesn’t retain the same hairs as traditional fur coats do.

Cow standing in the grassy field
Image Credit: AnitaBozic, Pixabay

Other Differences Between Fur and Hair

Although the main distinction between fur and hair has to do with the fur trade, there are some differences relating to the texture and length of the material. Most often, furs describe short, soft, and fine hair. In comparison, hair often describes coarser and longer coats that wouldn’t make as comfortable clothing.

What Other Animals Have Hair Instead of Fur?

Animals with thick, soft coats often have fur because their coats made perfect garments. Dogs, cats, foxes, and even monkeys have fur for this reason.

In comparison, humans, most cattle, dolphins, and elephants all have hair, not fur. Though their skins may be used for clothing, the hair is almost always removed since it isn’t soft or warm.

Elephants
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

To many peoples’ surprise, cows do not have fur. Instead, they have hair, much like other farm animals. Although most people will know exactly what you are talking about if you refer to a cow’s coat as fur, you are technically not correct in speaking.

To be as accurate as possible, always refer to a cow’s coat as hair, never fur. Only use the term fur to describe animal hair that is often used for garments or was used in the fur trade.


Featured Image Credit: Alexa Zari, Shutterstock

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