Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > General > Illawarra Cattle Breed: Facts, Uses, Pictures, Origins & Characteristics

Illawarra Cattle Breed: Facts, Uses, Pictures, Origins & Characteristics

Illawarra cow close up shot

Illawarra cattle are a popular breed of dairy and beef cattle. They originated in Australia but are now found in many different countries around the world. These cattle are known for their sweet, docile nature and ability to produce large quantities of milk. Keep reading to learn more about the Illawarra.

hoof print divider

Quick Facts About Illawarra Cattle

Breed Name: Illawarra Cattle
Place of Origin: Australia
Uses: Dairy and meat production
Bull (Male) Size: Medium to Large
Cow (Female) Size: Medium to Large
Color: Red/brown with white markings
Lifespan: Over 10 years, up to 20 years
Climate Tolerance: Very adaptable to any climate
Care Level: Easy
Production: High milk production
Calves: Cows can have a calf about every 12 months

Illawarra Cattle Origins

The Illawarra cattle originated in Australia. Their name comes from the area they came from: Illawarra, South Wales. The breed was developed by Australian farmers who wanted a cow that was able to thrive in any climate conditions while also being an excellent milk producer.

It’s believed that the Illawarra was created by breeding Ayrshire, Devon, and Shorthorn cattle. The Illawarra as it’s known today probably appeared sometime between 1840 and 1860.

Illawarra Cattle Characteristics

The Illawarra are medium to large cattle that are calm and docile. This makes them easy to milk and keep on farms large and small. They also live for a long time when properly cared for.

The female Illawarra are able to give birth to a calf every year from the age of 2 into their teens. Their pelvic structure is such that they rarely need assistance when birthing their calves.

The most notable characteristic of the Illawarra cattle is their ability to produce a large quantity of milk. As much as 40 liters per day is common for the cows.

Uses

Illawarra cattle are primarily used for milk production. They are also bred for meat. Because they are so calm and docile, the Illawarra also make excellent choices for show cows.

Appearance & Varieties

Illawarra cattle are brown to reddish-brown. Some have limited white markings while others have white stomachs and legs. Their darker pigmentation is believed to contribute to their longevity as it protects them from some of the skin cancers that other cattle are prone to.

The Illawarra’s body is narrower in the front and wider in the back. Both males and females typically have horns and strong hooves that allow them to move around in many different conditions.

Population, Distribution & Habitat

Although the breed began in Australia, they can now be found around the world. They are popular dairy and meat producers in the United Kingdom, Central America, the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the Middle East. The breed’s ability to survive in just about any climate makes them a good choice for farmers worldwide.

hoof print divider

Are Illawarra Cattle Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Illawarra cattle are an excellent choice for small-scale farming. They are easy to care for and produce a lot of milk. These cattle are extremely docile which makes them a breeze to work with. The Illawarra are also known for being hardy and they can live for a long time. Investing in Illawarra cattle is a sound choice for any sized farm.


Featured image credit: FiledIMAGE, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets