Top 10 Types of Cattle for Your Farm

Top 10 Types of Cattle for Your Farm

Last Updated

If you’re a farmer looking to add different types of cattle to your land, it can be overwhelming to choose from the more than 70 types of cattle recognized in the United States, with new cattle breeds popping up every now and then.

Luckily, there is just a handful among the different types of cows that make up the majority of commercial beef production in the country – less than 20, to be exact.

So which types of cows are the cream of the crop?

According to the United States Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the top ten beef cattle breeds in the country are as follows:

1. Black Angus

2. Charolais

3. Hereford

4. Simmental

5. Red Angus

6. Texas Longhorn

7. Gelbvieh

8. Holstein

9. Limousin

10. Highlands

We are going to list and discuss five popular breeds including the Angus and Hereford cattle, and five others, such as the Simmental and Limousin in this blog. Whether you’re a seasoned farmer or just starting, learning about these top breeds can help you decide which cattle to bring home to your farm.

Top Beef Cattle Breeds in the US:

Beef cattle breeds are types of cattle that are primarily raised for their meat production. These cows are typically larger and more muscular than dairy breeds, focusing on producing high-quality, flavorful beef. These cow breeds can be found worldwide, each with its unique characteristics and advantages. From the gentle and docile Hereford to the powerful and robust Charolais, there is a beef breed to fit every farmer’s needs and preferences. Let’s look at some of the most popular ones.

Angus Black:

Angus Black

With over 330,000 registered animals, Black Angus is the most popular beef cattle breed in the United States, and some even consider them the best beef cows for beginners. The breed’s carcass characteristics, which are marketed as producing well-marbled, flavorful beef, are one of the reasons for its popularity. Angus cattle are also low-maintenance during the calving season, good mothers, and feed efficient. The Black Angus cattle breed arrived in the United States in the nineteenth century and quickly established itself in Kansas.



When it comes to the best cow breeds, Herefords are the gentle giants of the field. With their trademark white faces and easygoing personalities, they’re practically like pets you can milk! They can easily handle extreme temperatures and don’t need much fussing over, but they can be a bit pricey and rare to find, depending on where you are. Nevertheless, if you manage to get your hands on a Hereford, you’ll have one fantastic and hardy bovine buddy.



Get ready to sink your teeth into some delicious beef! Among countless breeds of cows, the Charolais, originally from France, is known for producing some of the best beef out there. However, this cow breed can be a bit of a handful, so make sure to choose a reputable breeder to avoid any unpredictable behavior. Despite this, they are versatile and can thrive in most climates, plus they have rapid growth and produce lean, tender meat. Just keep in mind that they may require a bit more upkeep and can have calving issues.



Galloway cows have a fascinating history. These beauties were initially bred for beef, but their usefulness doesn’t end there. They are also great for their hides; believe it or not, some people even milk them. Although they may struggle in hot climates, they’re tough enough to eat all kinds of weeds and are easy to care for when it’s time to calve. Plus, they have a remarkable lifespan, sometimes calving up to the age of 15 or 20. And if you’re looking for lean, low-fat meat with a rich buttery taste, Galloway beef is a great option.



This UK-native breed has existed since Roman times and is still a popular choice today. These cows are excellent for cross-breeding to produce high-quality beef and for making delicious cheese. They grow quickly, calve easily, and have a long life span. Plus, they produce a generous amount of milk. However, purchasing from a reputable source is important to avoid any potential genetic disorders.



Have you heard of the Highlands of Scotland cow? They’re small, furry, and boast a unique set of horns. Despite being primarily raised for their novelty in North America, they’re actually pretty amazing. They produce lean and delicious meat and require very little input to thrive. These rugged cows can easily handle cold weather and produce high-quality dairy products like cheese and butter. However, they don’t like being confined and have poor heat tolerance, which can be a challenge in hotter climates. Plus, as you might imagine, they require some extra grooming and care with all that hair.

Top Dairy Cattle Breeds in the US:

Dairy cattle breeds are types of cattle that are primarily raised for their milk production. These cows are usually smaller and less muscular than beef breeds, focusing on producing high-quality, nutrient-rich milk. Dairy cows can produce milk for many years and require careful management to maintain their health and productivity. From the classic black-and-white Holstein to creamy brown Jersey, there is a dairy breed to suit every farmer’s milk production goals and preferences. Let’s look at some of the most popular dairy cattle breeds,

Holstein Friesian Cattle:

Holstein Friesian Cattle

If you’re looking for cow breeds that can produce milk, butter, and beef with impressive yields, the Holstein Friesian is a household name in America. But don’t let their popularity fool you – these cows require a lot of care and attention, so do your homework before bringing them onto your farm. The good news? They’re low-cost, mature quickly, and are a breeze to milk.

Brown Swiss:

Brown Swiss

Looking for the best cow breeds with great dairy potential? Meet the Brown Swiss! These cows are known for their impressive milk production, and their butter is simply divine. They’re also hardy and docile, with a long life span. Just keep in mind that they do take a bit longer to mature. Oh, and one more thing – make sure you’re getting a bona fide Brown Swiss and not a freemartin, and from a reputable source!



Meet the gentle giant of cow breeds. With a massive frame and a docile personality, these cows are easy to care for and can almost become part of the family. They are adaptable to various environments, and their laid-back nature means they rarely get stressed. With their exceptional milk production and delicious lean meat, Simmentals are a top choice for farmers. However, their size can cause difficulties during calving, and their dairy background makes them susceptible to mastitis. Although they may be a bit pricey to purchase, they are worth the investment.



Let’s talk about Ayrshire cows! They stand out among countless breeds of cows because these beauties hold the record for milk production, and their milk is just right – not too rich or light. They’re also on the larger side, so make sure you have plenty of space. But don’t worry, they’re tough cookies and can handle some overgrazing.

Final Verdict:

In conclusion, choosing the right breed of cattle for your farm depends on various factors, such as climate, maintenance, and the primary purpose of raising them, and the farmer needs to be familiar with the breeds of cattle and their characteristics.

While more than 70 types of cattle are recognized in the United States, among these different types of cows, the top ten beef cattle breeds are Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Limousin, Charolais, Galloway, Shorthorn, and Highlands, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages.

On the other hand, dairy cattle breeds, such as Holstein, Jersey, and Brown Swiss, are primarily raised for their milk production, with varying levels of milk yield and ease of maintenance. As a farmer, learning about these breeds’ characteristics and suitability for your farm’s needs can help you make an informed decision when adding new bovine beauties to your land.

About Folio3 AgTech Practice

Folio3 is a Silicon Valley based Digital Transformation partner for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies with a special focus on digitization of Agriculture, Production and Companion Animal industry. Having worked with some of the world’s leading animal health companies, cattle associations, cow-calf operators, cattle feeders, beef processors and beef marketing companies, we have the design and development expertise required to help you digitize your manual procedures and practices, whether you’re a farm or a ranch owner, veterinarian, feedlot manager, nutritionist, or processing plant owner, we have got you covered.

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