Common Dairy Cow Breeds to Keep

Might you have wondered why all dairy cows do not look the same? Some prepare more milk than others, with some thriving in certain climatic conditions. Do you want to get into the business of keeping dairy cattle and lack the vital knowledge on what it takes to succeed in this venture? Worry no more, we are here to get you started in understanding the best breed of dairy cows to keep.

Dairy cattle are cows that are bred due to their ability to produce milk. There are 5 leading breeds of dairy cows that farmers need to make a choice from. These breeds include;


Holstein is a common breed known for her black and white spots. The cow’s spots are like snowflakes. The origin of this breed is Netherlands, with the first Dutch settler bringing it in America in 1621. The Holstein breed is well known in producing more milk as compared to other breeds. Holsteins are one of the largest dairy breeds and weigh around 1,500 pounds. They measure almost five feet tall at the shoulder.


Jerseys are the second most popular dairy breeds of cattle after the Holstein. These breeds often stand out with their fawn-color coat, their prominent eyes and long eyelashes. Jerseys are the smallest breed of dairy cows and grow to weigh about 900 pounds. They are renowned due to their ability to produce milk with the highest percentage of proteins and butterfat. The first Jersey were brought in the United States in around 1850 from the island of Jersey in British.


The Guernseys are equally referred as the Royal Breed due of their golden hue of their milk. Its rich and golden color of milk is as a result of high levels of beta carotene, which acts as an excellent source of Vitamin A. This breeds was initially raised by the monks from the Isle of Guernsey in the English Channel. The Guernseys came to the United States from the Isle of Guernseys. This breed weigh around 1200 pounds when full grown and are about 3/5 in size as compared to the largest breed of dairy cattle- the Holsteins.

Milking Shorthorns

The Milking Shorthorns are considered to be the most versatile of all breeds. This breed comes in a variety of colors including red, white, red and white and roan. The Milking Shorthorns are average in size and weigh about 1,400 pounds when full grown. The Milking Shorthorns was imported to the United States as a dual purpose breed as they can be used for different purposes including meat and milk purposes. The Milking Shorthorns originated from the Northeastern England and arrived in the United States in 1783.


The Ayrshires are considered as one of the most beautiful dairy cattle breeds.  They come in a variety of colors from light to deep cherry red, brown, mahogany or a combination of these colors with white. In terms of their characteristics, the Ayrshires weigh about 1,200 pounds. They have a medium stature that equips them to be strong and rugged cows that can easily adapt to different environmental conditions. The Ayrshires came to the United States from the county of Ayr in Scotland, in 1822.

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