Rare Cattle Breeds

When a cattle breed has only a thousand or so individuals in its breeding population, it’s considered rare. The reasons for this include switching to breeds that better meet their needs, which is what happened to the Canadienne when it was replaced by the Holstein for dairy production in Canada. Epidemics can severely dent the population of a breed, which happened to the Belted Galloways due to foot-and-mouth disease, though its numbers have risen since. Additionally, some breeds are also limited to specific regions, such as the Chillingham Wild, which resides solely in a small park in England.

Thanks to the conservation efforts of individual conservationists and organizations, several of these rare cattle are being cared for. Some, like the Texas Longhorn, have even recovered from nearly going extinct and continue to thrive with an overall population of around 400,000 specimens.

Rare Cattle Breeds

List of Cattle Breeds Considered Rare

Cattle BreedHow Many Are LeftWhere Are They FoundPurpose
Vaynol150 (as of 2014)Lincolnshire and West Yorkshire in the United KingdomBeef
Ankole-Watusi1500 (as of 2016)United StatesDairy
Chillingham Wild150 (as of 2022)Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, EnglandUnknown
Canadienne300 (as of 2023)Quebec, CanadaDairy
Irish Moiled900 (as of 2021)United Kingdom, including Ireland and EnglandDual purpose (beef & dairy)
Florida Cracker2500-4900 (as of 2022)United States, from the eastern seaboard to MontanaHeritage conservation 
American Milking Devon500 (as of 2021)Canada and the United StatesDual purpose (beef & dairy)
Miniature Zebu6200 (as of 2016)United StatesDraught
Miniature JerseyCanada and the United StatesDairy
Kerry75 (as of 2023)Canada, Ireland, and the United StatesDairy
Panda Cow24 (as of 2015)United StatesOrnamental
PineywoodsLess than 5000 (as of 2022)Southeastern United StatesDual purpose (beef & dairy)
Shetland800 (as of 2015)Australia and the United KingdomDual purpose (beef & dairy)
Whitebred Shorthorn200 (as of 2023)EnglandBeef
White Park740 (as of 2021)Canada, England, and the United StatesBeef
Old Gloucester700 (as of 2022)Gloucestershire, EnglandDual purpose (beef & dairy)
Vechur6000 (as of 2022)IndiaDairy
Droimeann266 (as of 2020)IrelandDairy

Note: The breeds mentioned here are considered rare worldwide. However, there are certain breeds whose original populations risk dying out, though their variations are present due to crossbreeding. This is particularly common for multiple UK breeds like the Dairy Shorthorn, the Aberdeen Angus, the British White, the Lincoln Red, the Hereford, the Highland, the Dexter, and the Belted Galloway.

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