As humans, we use cows on a daily basis. Dairy cows provide us with milk, cheese, and ice cream, while others are raised for beef and veal. Throughout history, people have also used cattle to make leather, pull carts and plows, and even for transportation. And their gentle disposition and affectionate, emotional personalities make them a joy to work with.
Black and white coloring is beautiful, but thus dramatic contrast in color can be pretty rare in the animal world. However, many cattle breeds exhibit this color scheme. Discover 10 black and white cow breeds, and learn about their purposes, size, and lifespan.
1. Holstein-Friesian Cow
Description: These cows were first bred with the black Batavian and the white Friesian during the 17th century. This breed was introduced to the United States in the 19th century and is the most popular dairy cow and black and white cow breed in the country. Over 90% of the cows you see in America are Holstein-Friesians.
Purpose: These cows produce 25,000 pounds of milk each year. They can also be used for meat.
Lifespan: Dairy cows only live up to six years, although their natural lifespans can reach 15 to 20 years.
Size: Mature cows weigh 1500 to 1700 pounds.
Description: Also known as Dutch belted cattle, the Lakenvelder is a German and Dutch dairy cattle breed. They have black ends and white middles, appearing like a belt. People use these cows in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Australia.
Purpose: They were bred to produce milk but are now used more for beef.
Size: Cows are 900 to 1500 pounds, and bulls weigh 1300 to 2000.
3. German Black Pied
Description: German black pied cattle are a cross between Holstein-Friesian and Jersey cows. They look like smaller, slimmer versions of the Holsteins. And they come in different color variations, including black and white. They are native to the Netherlands and Germany.
Purpose: These cows are bred for dairy. However, due to their smaller size, they do not produce as much milk as other breeds.
4. Texas Longhorn
Description: The Texas longhorn is a symbol for the great state of Texas. Despite being an American cattle breed, they came from cattle brought by Spanish conquistadores. This breed comes in several colors and patterns, a few of which have black and white. And of course, their giant horns are what make them notable.
Purpose: They are famous for their tender, flavorful meat and are one of the most popular cows in the beef industry.
Lifespan: They live 20 to 25 years.
Size: These cows weigh 900 to 1500 pounds and are up to 6 feet tall.
5. Belted Galloway
Description: The belted Galloway is a Scottish breed and most likely originated from crossbreeding with the Lakenvelder. They have the same black-and-white color pattern. But they feature a thick double-haired coat.
Purpose: These cattle are raised for beef. But farmers also use them for grazing.
Lifespan: They live 17 to 20 years.
Size: Weights are 1,000 to 1,600 pounds.
Description: Blaarkop, also known as Groningen, is a Dutch dairy cattle breed. You will primarily find them in the Netherlands in Groningen province. Most of this breed is red, but black-and-white variations exist, featuring black bodies and white faces.
Purpose: They are bred as dairy cows but can also be used for meat. Blaarkop is a very versatile breed.
Size: 1,300 to 1,800 pounds is their weight range.
7. The Randall Lineback
Description: The Randall lineback breed is an interesting mix of several breeds of British, Dutch, and French cattle. They were once prominent in New England but are now considered rare. The Livestock Conservancy lists them as “critical.”
Purpose: They had several purposes in the northeast. They were reared for milk production, beef, and draft work.
Size: In terms of weight, they range from 600 to 1,800 pounds.
Description: Also known as Guzera, the Guzerat is a Brazilian cattle breed. This unusual-looking cow has a hump on its back, lyre-shaped horns, and comes in different color variations. The black and white Guzerats are the most striking.
Purpose: They are bred for both meat and dairy, with the dual-purpose line of cattle distinguished from the beef type.
Size: These unique cows weigh 1,300 to 1,900 pounds.
Description: These Brazilian cattle are a cross between a Holstein and a Gyr. They are excellent breeds for tropical areas because they are resistant to climbing temperatures and diseases. The Girolando is primarily black with white undersides.
Purpose: Most of the milk produced in Brazil comes from Girolando.
Size: 800 to 1,500 pounds is their range.
10. Speckle Park
Description: The speckle park is a newer cattle breed developed in the 1950s by crossing an Aberdeen Angus and a shorthorn. They hail from Canada in the Saskatchewan province, and some have been introduced to Australia and the United Kingdom.
Purpose: They are one of the few Canadian beef cattle breeds.
Size: Their weight ranges from 1,200 to 2,000 pounds.
Summary of 10 Breeds of Black and White Cows
|Black and White Cow||Size|
|Holstein-Friesian Cow||1,500-1,900 lbs|
|German Black Pied||600-900 lbs|
|Texas Longhorn||900-1,500 lbs|
|Belted Galloway||1,000-1,600 lba|
|Randall Lineback||600-1,800 lbs|
|Speckle Park||1,200-2,000 lbs|
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