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15 Red Cattle Breeds

A herd of Highland cows grazing

There are many breeds of cattle, resulting in different colors and patterns. One of the most gorgeous coat colors found in cattle is the red color. Though red can come in many shades and patterns, the red color is hard to miss on cattle.

To learn about the 15 red cattle breeds, keep reading. By scrolling down, you’ll get a brief explanation about how cattle coat colors are determined and see pictures of the 15 red cattle breeds available today. Let’s get started.

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Top 15 Red Cattle Breeds:

1. Red Poll Cattle Breed

british red poll cows
Image Credit: Alexa Zari, Shutterstock

The Red Poll is one of the most popular red cattle breeds, which is why it is first up on our list. Red Poll cattle are deep red and only have white on the tail and utter. It was developed in England but is now available across the globe. It is a dual-purpose breed that is used for both beef and dairy.


2. Red Angus Cattle Breed

Red Angus
Image Credit: Wild0ne, Pixabay

The Red Angus is another highly popular red cattle breed. Its coat is reddish brown. Today, it is used across the world for beef, but it is most popular in the United States and Scotland. Keep in mind that Red Angus cattle are often registered separately from the Black Angus cattle.


3. Barzona

Barzona cattle only date back to the mid-1900s when it was developed in Arizona. Today, these cattle are primarily used for beef in the United States. You can distinguish Barzona because of its high degree of herd instinct and longish head.


4. Devon

Devon cattle standing in the yard
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

Devon cattle are sometimes called North Devons to distinguish them from their South Devon counterparts. Devons are some of the oldest cattle types and have historically been used for both milk and beef, but they are only used for beef today. This cattle type is red and has a fantastic ability to tolerate both hot and cold environments.


5. South Devon Cattle Breed

South Devon cattle
Image Credit: Eric Buermeyer,Shutterstock

The South Devon is an offshoot of the Devon cattle. They are very large and have only been used for beef since 1972. It is unknown how the South Devon developed from the North Devon.


6. Lincoln Red

The Lincoln Red has a deep cherry coloration across its entire body. It has a broad forehead and short face. Most of the Lincoln Reds are non-horned since the polled gene means that the farmers don’t have to dehorn their cattle, but there are horned Lincoln Reds too.


7. Gelbvieh

The Gelbvieh is an interesting breed. Even though the coat is technically red, it almost looks golden, which explains the cattle’s name. In German, the name “Gelbvieh” loosely translates to yellow cattle. It was originally used as a triple purpose breed, but today they are mainly only used for meat and milk.


8. Norwegian Red Cattle Breed

So far, all of the red cattle we have looked at are solid red. The Norwegian Red is different because they are red-pied with white markings. In comparison to other breeds, the Norwegian Red isn’t very popular and is primarily only used in Norway.


9. Hereford

Hereford Cattle in the fields
Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay

Hereford cattle has many strains and types. Nearly all Herefords are primarily red with white along their chest, back, and face. The breed is mainly used for beef purposes today.


10. Polled Hereford

One common type of Hereford is the Polled Hereford. This breed has a genetic mutation so that the cattle is hornless. Many farmers prefer the Polled Hereford since they don’t have to be de-horned. American Polled Herefords are often used in the same registry as the American Hereford.


11. Limousin

Limousin cow drinking water from creek
Image Credit: christels, Pixabay

The Limousin cattle was developed in France for beef rearing. This breed has never been very popular and was even thought at one point that it might go extinct. For a while, it was proposed that the Limousin would be merged with other blondes, but it survived and is now a world breed for beef and crossbreeding.


12. Salers

Salers cow resting in the meadow
Image Credit: YALEC, Pixabay

Salers are some of the oldest cattle. They have a dark mahogany coat and horns, but some Salers are black and polled. Because Salers can be black, red, polled, or horned, they are often used in breeding programs. Most Salers today are only used for beef.


13. Scotch Highland

highland cattle in field
Image Credit: RonBerg, Pixabay

The Highland Cattle is a hardy breed with shaggy coats and long horns. This cattle dates back to Neolithic farmers and is still popular today. The breed is most common in the United States and Scotland where it was bred.


14. Santa Gertudis

The Santa Gertudis is an American breed that only gained recognition in 1940. Since then, it has spread all over the world and has been used to create new breeds, such as the Barzona. Its coat is a deep cherry color with only a little bit of white on its underline.


15. Shorthorn

Northern Dairy Shorthorn
Image Credit: Ballygally View Images, Shutterstock

Shorthorn cattle was bred for dairy and beef production, but certain families were better at one over the other, resulting in different varieties. Both Beef Shorthorns and Milking Shorthorns are red, white, or roan. Some farmers prefer roan cattle, but many are completely red.

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Cattle Colors Explained

Limousin cow
Image Credit: artellliii72, Pixabay

Cattle coat color is determined by genetics. Each cow will receive genes from both of its parents. From these genes, the dominant alleles determine the coat color, though the individual can still pass on its recessive genes to its offspring.

All cattle possess at least one of three colors: black, red, and white. Whereas white is codominant with both black and red, black is dominant over red. What this means is that cattle with both black and red genes will be black, but cattle with both red and white or black and white genes will be a mixture.

Because black is dominant over red, there are certain breeds that are most commonly red. This is because the gene pool is more geared towards the red coat. If more black alleles were introduced, the cattle wouldn’t be red any longer since black is always expressed over red.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are quite a few red cattle breeds available. Keep in mind that some of these breeds do have black variations too. All around, red cattle can be found relatively easy, no matter where you are located.

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Featured Image Credit: Andhoj, Pixabay

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