Those that live in the United States know just how important the livestock industry is in this country. Drive out into a rural area, and it’s almost guaranteed that you are going to see some sort of cattle roaming around a large field. There are over 70 cattle breeds1 recognized in the United States. Only a small number, however, make up a majority of the genetics used in beef production. Our list below features some of the most popular American cattle breeds found on our soil, with five of them being the most popular beef cattle breeds.
The 10 Most Popular Cattle Breeds in the US
1. Black Angus Cattle
Of all the types of bulls in beef production, the Black Angus is one of the most popular, with more than 330,000 registered animals. The carcass characteristics of these cattle are what make them so high in demand. Their marbling yields flavorful beef, and they require very little maintenance throughout the year.
2. Charolais Cattle
The Charolais cow came into the United States because the cattle industry was seeking heavier cows with larger frames. It was a bonus that they could also withstand some of our harsher winters in northern regions because their coat is short in the summer and long and thick in the winter.
3. Hereford Cattle
The Hereford cow breeds originated in England and started to become popular in the United States because they mature early and are easy to fatten up. They are typically dark red in color with patches of white on their faces and underbellies. These cattle are also known for their docile nature, motherly instincts, and longevity.
4. Simmental Cattle
Simmental cows are some of the most widely distributed cattle in the world. They are red and white in color and only came to the US in the late 19th century. They have large body frames and are ideal for farmers because they require little assistance during the calving season.
5. Red Angus Cattle
These cows aren’t quite as famous as the Black Angus, but they do offer the same valuable carcass characteristics. These cows are also docile and good mothers. On top of that, they are more tolerant of heat and perfect for southern parts of the countries.
6. Texas Longhorn Cattle
It’s hard to find a cow breed that is more well-known than the Texas Longhorn. These bulls were brought over by Christopher Columbus and other Spanish colonists. Their long horns make them memorable because they can extend over five feet long.
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The Gelbvieh is a European cattle breed. They were introduced to the US through artificial insemination. These cows have a red-colored coat and horns, although many have become hornless through breeding practices. One thing that draws livestock farmers to this breed is the ease of the calving season and their fast growth rates.
When you think of a cow, the first image that pops into your head is probably of a Holstein cow. These are the traditional black and white cows that are popular in the dairy industry. These cows are most likely to be used for breeding stock and milk production as opposed to beef production, but there are still many that are raised for beef as well.
These golden-red cows are native to France and had their first introduction to the US in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Over time, they have expanded across all of North America and are attracting growing attention in the beef industry.
The infamous brown cow breeds with a flowing head of hair and upright-curved horns is the highland cow. These cattle have a thick double coat make them perfect for farmers in colder climates. They have even been raised in Alaska and Scandinavian countries. However, they aren’t limited to cold areas. Highlands are also prominent in places like Texas and Georgia. Their meat is lean yet well-marbled and full of flavor.
There may not be as many cows as there are people in the US, but we still have millions of cows residing with us. We have dozens of different breeds here as well, and they each offer some type of advantage to those who raise and sell them. The next time you’re out for a drive, pay attention to the cows you see, and we bet most of them come from this list of the most popular cattle breeds here in the United States.
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Featured Image Credit: Shayaden, Pixabay