Miniature shorthorn cattle

Miniature shorthorn cattle DEFAULT

Opportunities With Heritage Shorthorns

Most people are not aware that the covered wagons that travelled across the prairie in the middle of the 19th century were actually pulled mainly by Shorthorn oxen because of their strength, docility, and size.  Recently oxen have come back into vogue in the heritage livestock movement, and quality Shorthorn oxen are in demand, especially horned Shorthorn steers.


7.   Genetic Enhancement

There is demand for Heritage Shorthorn bloodlines to improve Modern Shorthorns—partly to reintroduce positive genetic traits to a mixed Shorthorn population but also to re-establish Shorthorn bloodlines that were lost in the “add new blood era”.  Modern Shorthorns contain a percentage of other breeds as a result of the American Shorthorn Association and American Milking Shorthorn Society opening up their herd books to cross-bred animals.

8.   Show Steers 

Because of the docility of Heritage Shorthorns, their extremely diverse & beautiful color patterns, and their ability to grow they can make excellent 4-H and FFA market steers.

9.  Commercial Bulls  


"A Jewel in the Rough"

My Life's Joy: The Miniature Durham
By R. David Wilcoxen, Proprietor - Hill Valley Farms & Aviaries Breed Registry Chairperson -
Miniature Durham cattle for the IMCBS

Growing up on a farm with cattle, both dairy and beef, I have always admired those curious creatures called cows. At that time, there were many small farms and each featured a particular breed or had a mixed herd with cross or native cattle. Included in these mingled herds, amongst Jerseys, Guernseys, Air shire, Brown Swiss and Holstein, was a small dual purpose cow known as the Durham.

In my opinion, these sturdy cattle were the unrefined shorthorn, one of a breed of dual purpose cattle originating in England.

This breed came in both the polled and horned varieties featuring bold colors in shades from red to white and a host of combinations betwixt and between that embraced both spotted and roan including red brindle and blue roan. The color always remains varied which also adds luster to the wonder of the birthing process.

Tractable is the temperament of this breed that is well known for traits of gentleness and ease of handling. Whether milking, or moving them about in the pasture, this certainly has to be the hallmark of the Miniature Durham. Couple this to their excellent milk production, that can easily nurture 1 to 3 calves per year, and you have the ideal family cow. This dual purpose dairy and beef animal has also been known to serve adequately as an obedient draft animal for its handlers in past years.

Hardiness is synonymous with this breed that is known for growing heavy coats of fairly long hair during the colder seasons. Although I certainly suggest shelter for all farm animals, the Miniature Durham will utilize trees or whatever there is available for cover and are noted for being good foragers. Besides raising a calf and providing goodly amounts of milk, capped with the thick layer of wholesome cream, these robust cattle balance out with a fine layer of fat going into the winter months helping them not only to survive without a good sustainable body weight but also facilitates a fine, healthy calf come spring. This penchant of the Miniature Durham to be winter hardy is particularly important for farmers in the damp, cold Pacific Northwest.

The size of the breed is meant to be small but not delicate. The Miniature Durham is an earth-friendly animal that lends itself to the needs of those with small acreage. Along this line, the wear and tear on grazing fields and holding facilities, even with larger herds of miniature cattle, is minimal is comparison with the ongoing maintenance problems incurred by owners of even smaller herds of cattle. Market bases also target the development of the Miniature Durham to fill the niche for those who enjoy something that is defiantly different in the more exotic form. Sporting beautiful color patterns that provide a veritable feast for passing eyes, the perfect presence of these miniature cattle is hard to match.

Breeding of Mini/Mid Size Durham cattle requires that basic standards be maintained and include:

  1. Animals must be 42" or under at maturity (three years) to be classified as Miniature, or over 42" up to 48" at maturity to be classified as Mid Size. All measurements are at the hip.
  2. Registration Certificates are temporary until maturity (three years of age) at which height measurement is required for permanent registry.
  3. Animals must be originated from purebred parentage, or bred up with usually 7/8 percent being considered pure.
  4. The small Durham should resemble their larger counterpart completely in every aspect as to beef and dairy type of individual. Reflecting this dual purpose breed, they must exhibit a body type suitable for this purpose. The typical bull will show a masculine appearance with ample substance with a mature weight that ranges from 500 to 900 lbs. Disposition should be very tractable and quiet. Gentleness is a must. The typical cow will also show a refined, feminine appearance with ample substance. Neither dairy nor beef type should be emphasized but the dual type always adhered to. The color of the Miniature Durham can be any shade of red, white or mixed of those two colors with brindle and blue roan being acceptable.

Some years ago, I came across some of these little cattle and they immediately brought back memories of my childhood. I purchased the small herd and brought them home to Hill Valley Farms & Aviaries. Others, of a suitable type, were found for breeding and today, I maintain a continuous herd of about 20 head of these Miniature Durham cattle that have never been a disappointment and certainly have exceeded even my greatest expectations in providing a challenge to my continuing commitment in the development and research of this breed.

I suspect that I'm not the only admirer of this wonderful, earth-linked creature known as the Miniature Durham.

International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society and Registry®
a division of Cattle Breeders for the Future Corporation
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Since 2008, we have assembled a nice group of cross bred miniature cows. These crosses include Hereford, Lowline, Guinea Pineywoods, Miniature Shorthorn and Zebu. They suit our needs and meet our requirements of reasonable cost, low intake, ease of handling and care and will fit in our freezer when the time comes. Our herd now consists of a bull and ten cows/heifers and a few calves. Please let us know if you would like to be on our contact list for new calves. 

I recently discovered that the American Lowline Registery has started a type of breed-up program in the last year or two.  The program is described here,  We are officially searching for a new fullblood lowline bull.  We are going to try and locate one that is not too much bigger than our current cows.  I want something that will mature at 40-42 inches tall, with a nice level topline and good legs.  Ideally he will be black and carry a copy of the red gene.  This will allows us to have black, brindle and red calves from our current cattle herd. Once we  have a new bull and he nears breeding age, Cleburne will be for sale.


This is Willie.  He is a registered Lowline bull.  He took over breeding duties for Cleburne in the spring of 2014.  A few of his cows are pictured below,  but not all.  There are 20+ cows with him at this time.  Several of them are purebred zebu with the goal of a mini-brangus type calf.  This is JuneBug. She was sired by a miniature Zebu bull and is out of a guinea Pineywoods cow.  The pineywoods is what the original spanish cattle became in southern AL, MS, GA and northern FL. They are very hardy, disease resistant and will eat stuff that others cows will not. 


Junebug's 2014 calf is pictured on the left.

This is Annabelle. She was sired by a Lowline bull and is out of a very small regular red Angus cow. Annabelle had a nice heifer for us in 2011. Annie is pictured a few lines down.This is Penny. She was added to the herd in the fall of 2011.  I am not sure of her breeding, but she is very similar in size and conformation to our other cows.  She has already been bred by Cleburne and we are looking forward to her calf next fall.    On 5/7/14 Penny calved a pretty little red heifer.  This girl will be kept to breed to our new red lowline bull "Willie".  We have also retained Penny's heifer from last year.  She should already be bred to Willie.  Lacy came to our farm during the summer of 2011.  She should be calving her 2014 calf soon.  This is Annie. She was calved on 4/13/2011. She is sired by Cleburne and out of Annabelle. She will be staying here.  She is growing well and will be a good cow for us. We made a trip back to TN later to pick up DD's dam Dallas.  She is supposed to be bred, so we are anxious to see what she will have.

She is pictured with her 2014 calf to the right.

This is Buttercup.  She was born Christmas Day 2011 at my cousin Kenneth's farm.  She is 3/4 miniature Hereford and 1/4 zebu.  She has become one of better cows.          This is Cleburne, our bull. He was sired by a Lowline bull and out of a zebu cow.  So far we have been very pleased with his calves.  We bought him as a calf in 2008. I think he has matured well.

Cleburne was sold in March 2014.


A couple of his 2014 calves are pictured to the right.

Shorthorn Cattle - Durable Diversity
A miniature Angus(FS 0 - 0000)
AKA: Lowline, American Aberdeen Angus (AAA), Ausline, Loala
Miniature Angus were first marketed as Loala, but that term didn't really catch on. They are sometimes referred to as Ausline in Australia.
Breed Description: The smallest Frame Score (1-0 and shorter) Lowlines are literally miniature (old heritage bloodline) Angus. The term "miniature" refers to the frame score (FS) height of cattle more than their breed. Miniature Angus (the smallest Lowlines) are kept as miniature cattle on small acreages. The larger Lowlines (more typical of the breed), are classic sized cattle that range in frame scores from 2-3. The Lowline was re-branded as American Aberdeen Angus (AAA) cattle in 2017. AAA cattle are not generally considered miniature cattle because most are beef cattle bred by ranches for commercial feedlots and grassfed operations.

miniature Angus


miniature Belted Galloway(unhybridized)
Breed Description: A fullblood breed (100%). The Miniature Belted Galloway is not recognized or distinguished separately by its frame score in the main Belted Galloway herdbook. Miniatures are selected by homestead owners for frame scores 1 and below. In North America, pure (fullblood) miniature Belted Galloways are rare. Purebred (close to 100%) are much easier to find.

US Belted Galloway Society was incorporated in 1964 in Tennessee as the herdbook for Belted Galloway in North America. Sister organization to the American Galloway Breeders Association. All pedigree records are archived and can be traced back to the 1850s to authenticate their purity.

miniature purebred Galloway
B miniature British White Park
Breed Description: British White cows produce steers that marble well on grass. British White and White Park cattle shared history and registries over time, but are presented as separate breeds now by their respective registries. White park patterned cattle descend from the British Isles dating back thousands of years.They have characteristic "white park" markings (white or lightly flecked body with black or red pigment points; ears, muzzle, eyeliner, feet and sometimes more speckling on legs or sides). Many British White Park cattle are standard or classic frame cattle, and a few may qualify as miniature.


Irish Dexter
Breed Description: old heritage breed
Breed chondro status: original carrier breed
(Dexter is source of BD1 worldwide
Dexter is source of BD2 in NZ & AU).
BD Dexter dwarfism is neither encouraged nor discouraged by registries.
Breed Description: If you are looking for a dual (or triple) purpose heritage livestock breed, the Irish Dexters are the perfect old-fashioned family cow. Dexter catte are small and hardy. They are used for beef, dairy, and steers can be used as oxen to pull carts. They are perfect homestead and hobby farm cattle for small acreages. Dexters thrive in hot and cold climates, and do well year round with just grass, fresh water and a windbreak for shelter.
Breed History: Dexters are small mountain cattle originally from the Celtic cattle of ancient Ireland. Dexters were once called the Irish Peasant cow as it was small and easy to keep. Dexters arrived in America when more than 200 were imported to the US between 1905 and 1915. Most Dexters in North America are bred for beef but there are some dual purpose milking lines available.
Breed Traits: Colors include black or red, and a dun dilution (that affects only black cattle). Occasionally brindle or a few white markings appear (although not encouraged by registries). Pure heirloom bloodlines have white horns with black tips. Polled Dexters appeared more recently in history (some breeders do not consider them fullblood).

heritage Dexter

G miniature traditional (solid) Galloway (unhybridized)
Breed Description: The miniature Galloway is not recognized or distinguished separately by its frame score in main Galloway herdbooks. Fullblood miniatures are selected by breeders who keep their frame scores around 1 or below. In North America, pure (fullblood) miniature Galloways are very rare. It is not hard to find purebred (upgraded or high percentage) miniature Galloways.
Breed Traits: The Galloway breed is the oldest known polled breed (carrying the original Celtic polled mutation). It is adapted to harsh northern climates with its double coat (only Highlands, Bison & Yak share that trait). It is hardy, efficient, fertile, long lived, docile, and a browser with strong grass-fed genetics.

miniature purebred Galloway
Hminiature Hereford
Breed Description: The Hereford breed comes in both horned and polled cattle and ranges widely in frame score. Miniature Herefords are dwarf-free fullblood Hereford cattle from old heritage bloodlines when cattle were smaller. Mini Herefords range in frame scores from 1 and below. The average weight of a newborn mini Hereford calf is 35-60 lbs. While the national average weaning ratio of the whole Hereford breed is 35 to 40% of the dam's weight, the Miniature Hereford cow may wean off a calf up to a 65% of her weight. The breed average rib eye area is usually one square-inch per 100 pounds of live body weight, while Miniature Herefords average a 1.5-inch rib eye per 100 pounds of live body weight. Herefords are naturally docile and make excellent show animals. They are early-maturing, excellent feed converters and easy keepers. They are hardy and adaptable to various environments. They reside in more than 30 states, Canada, Australia and many other countries.
Breed History: The Hereford originated in Herefordshire, England. In 1969, a breeding program was initiated to preserve the old heritage type Hereford and kept small in the 1970s by the Largent family of Point of Rocks Ranch, Ft. Davis, TX. The Largents' goal was three-fold: real profitability resulting from fertility, conformation and a small cow with the genetics to wean a calf weighing at > 50% of her own weight; a cow that will simply produce more beef / acre.


miniature Hereford bull
photo credit: "Truk," Hat City Cattle Company

Hminiature Scottish HighlandCattle (unhybridized)
Breed Description: Scotch Highland cattle are a hardy browsing breed from a harsh native environment, the Highlands of Scotland. Developing in vastly different environmental conditions led to a wide range of sizes found within this breed. They have a long double coat of hair, (their oily outer coat can grow up to 13 inches) allowing this breed to thrive in cold wet climates. Mothering instinct is highly developed in the Highland cow. Abandoned calves, even for first-calf heifers, are rare. This strong protective inclination of the cow minimizes predator losses that can even extend to sheep pastured in the same field. The Highland cow has a long productive life and many herds average 12 calves from each cow. Their milk has a very high butterfat content (10%). Their meat is very high quality raised on grass programs, and is growing in popularity, as it is lower in cholesterol than many other breeds of beef. The miniature size is found among fullblood herds of small frame Scottish Highland cattle, and kept pure by a few breeders.

Jminiature & midsize Jersey
AKA: Old World Jerseys
Breed Description #1: The fullblood Miniature (100%) Jersey, unhybridized, is rare, but a few exist. These rare cows measure below 44" over the hip at 3 years of age, and have a pure Jersey pedigree registered by the standard American Jersey Cattle Association. AJCA allows upgrading in the Jersey breed, and allows hybrid animals to upgrade into its main herdbook after 6 generations. Therefore, if preservation of 100% fullblood heritage cattle were a breeder's focus, they would need to do extensive pedigree research to rule out other breeds in its background.
Breed Description #2: The American Miniature Jersey is a small purebred breed that has been developed for years in North America, and nowhere else. Although records of crossbreeding and pedigrees were not kept over the decades, longtime breeders and verbal history provides plenty of testimony that most of today's American Miniature Jerseys were created over many years of selection by crossing small and midsize Jerseys with smaller miniature cattle of other breeds to reduce their height. Many miniature Jersey owners & breeders consider it a breed of its own now. Using the CDCB's BBR DNA test for standard dairy breeds, which includes the Jersey, breeders can use this DNA test to help determine if an American Miniature Jersey is close to pure. CDCB decided that any purity score > 94% is reported as 100% Jersey. Anything < 90% is a strong indication of crossbreeding. Regardless of anyone's personal definition of purity, the American Miniature Jersey can make a perfect and beautiful small homestead cow. The temperament has been rigorously selected for (especially the bulls) and most miniature Jersey cows and bulls are both calm and gentle.

Jersey Island circa 1880
Jersey Island 1880

Standard Jerseys do well in temperate climates. With their finer bone, they can require extra shelter and protection in cold climates. Smaller Jerseys that are shorter-legged and heavier boned for their size, can handle colder weather better.

R  miniature Riggit Galloway
AKA: color-sided Galloways (GCs)
Breed Description: The few fullblood miniature Riggit Galloways in North America are rare as hen's teeth. The original Riggit (white lineback) pattern was lost to obscurity for years due to selection pressure. Occasionally it re-appears among (over-marked) White Galloways. In the UK, their country of origin, the Riggit Galloway is now an ongoing conservation project, restoring the nearly extinct color pattern in purebred Galloway. GCs Galloways are accepted by the Canadian Galloway registry in their White Galloway division. As of 2020, Riggit (or Cs) Galloways are no longer accepted by the American Galloway Registry, regardless of their genetic breed purity.S miniature Shorthorn(unhybridized)
AKA: Native, Heritage, Durham, Milking
Breed traits: Shorthorns are red, white or speckled and/or roan in color. There are several distinct though closely related strains of Shorthorn, including dual-purpose, Milking Shorthorn and Native Heritage Beef Shorthorn. They come in a wide range of frame scores. The wide genetic base results in differing maturity patterns, enabling producers to select the Shorthorn type best suited to their environment and market. All have high fertility, good mothering ability, and a docile temperament and produce excellent tasting beef on grass. They finish readily on good quality pastures and are noted for their good marbling characteristics when finished on grain. Native Shorthorns are sustainable and efficient on grass and wintering on hay. Native lines provide valuable genetics for low-input grass based operations--they are fertile animals that remain productive for many years. They are easy-fleshing, with large rumen capacity for forages. The Shorthorn originated in the Durham County area of the northeastern coast of England in the 1700s which were developed from superior short-horned cattle known to have existed in the area since the 1500s. In the middle 1800s, Scottish breeders selected animals that had increased compactness, thickness and the ability to mature and fatten at an early age. North America's Native Heritage Shorthorn ancestry traces back to the 1822 Coates Herd Book or the 1830 Clay Importation. Polled genetics were introduced in North America in the 1800s.
miniature Native Shorthorn bull JB
  • American Shorthorn Association (ASA) rounds up 99+% cattle to "SH100" status (allowing upgrading)
  • American Milking Shorthorn Society (AMSS)
    uses an "N" designation for Native (heritage) status.
  • Heritage Shorthorn Society (HSS) was formed to support preservation, production, and promotion of rare fullblood (heritage or native) Shorthorn cattle. The opportunities that exist with heritage Shorthorns, epecially for the small producer, are boundless. Heritage Shorthorns are listed on the “Critically Endangered” list by the Livestock Conservancy.
S Square Meater
AKA miniature Murray Grey, or Mini Greys
Breed Description: Quite literally, they're supposed to be about a 'metre square' in shape (though they don't usually conform to this!). Breeders are predominantly in Australia and New Zealand but there are Square Meater breeders in the USA. Square Meaters are small framed Australian Murray Grey cattle recognized as a separate breed with its own herdbook since 1996. Square Meaters were developed by selecting high performing, early maturing, small framed Murray Grey cattle. These short compact cattle are often around FS1 and ideal for smaller acreage. Square Meaters are polled, and have a quiet disposition. They are easy to handle, easy on fences and quiet in corrals. They have high fertility, low birth weights and good mothering & milking ability. Females can produce their first calf at 2 years of age and go on to produce a calf every year. Cows should wean calves over 50% of her weight. Square Meaters are thick-muscled, deep-bodied cattle on short legs, developed to produce a finished carcass with even fat cover in 12 months. Squares have good “doing ability” even in poor conditions. With their compact size they hold their condition longer when times get tough and larger breed females start to fade. Square Meaters are recognized for their beautiful solid colors, which range from silver, grey, dark grey, brown to a dark chocolate color, with their characteristic coat sheen (which could indicate a satin-type gene that would help deflect sun in hot climates). The skin is dark pigment, which provides additional protection from sunburn and skin cancer. While Square Meaters are a measured breed in Australia, and range between FS 1-4, some may be smaller in N.A.
Breed history: Rick Pisaturo of Mandalong Stud, Australia, determined in the early 1990s that a market existed for a specific type of beef animal: fast growing, well muscled and very importantly, early maturing. To do this, he used Murray Grey bulls from the pre-1970s; bulls that were much smaller in frame, yet sired progeny that dominated carcass competitions throughout Australia. Square Meaters are not small miniatures or "the result of a dink gene." They are cattle of the size they were in the 1950's.

Side Note: Mr. Rick Pisaturo bred Thologolong Michael, one of the most significant Murray Grey bulls in the history of the breed.
representing miniature purebred mini greys, or Square Meaters - Nada

American Murray Grey Association (AMGA), Pennsylvania, offers the Square Meater (SM) endorsement for breeders who apply and whose cattle meet the SM guidelines - Dave Moeller, Indiana, is the leader of this group of American Square Meater breeders. "Square" breeders proved to the American Murray Grey Ass'n that the ancestry of the Squares in this country all trace to registered Murrays in Australia, so they accept these animals as purebreds.

Murray Grey International Association (MGIA), Illinois

Square Meaters Association (Australia)
Murray Grey Society (Australia)
Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society (UK)

According to the Australian legend, the first Murray Grey was born on the Thologolong property of Peter Sutherland in New South Wales in 1905, to a light (almost white) red roan Shorthorn cow and an Aberdeen Angus bull. The story goes on to recount how this one cow gave birth to 12 off-color calves by various Angus bulls; from which Mrs. Helen Sutherland, cousin to Peter, developed the breed. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the breed actually originated throughout Australia, as many ranchers used “blue roan” bulls or “blue roan” females. The Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society of Australia was formed in 1964 to archive the pedigrees and establish and promote the breed.

Mini Murray Square Meater Breeder Directory on Heritage Cattle website


miniature Texas Longhorn(unhybridized)
Breed Description: The miniature Texas Longhorn is a fullblood, registered Texas Longhorn that have been downsized by selectively breeding smaller Texas Longhorns over time. Fullblood miniatures are registered in the Texas Longhorn Cattlemens Registry. The height limit for registered miniature Longhorn cattle is 45" for cows and 48" for bulls (measured at the hip when 3 years old). The Texas Longhorn originated in the United States, and shares history with Florida Cracker and Pineywoods cattle. They come in all colors. They about went extinct when the British breeds entered and took over American beef herds. Longhorns are known for low birth weights, as calving ease sires for heifers, and for their overall fertility, hardiness & longevity.

Registry: Texas Longhorn Cattlemens Registry
photo credit: IM Ranch miniature Texas Longhorn bull

miniature fullblood Texas Longhorn bull - IM Ranch
miniature purebred White Galloway


miniature White Park cattle (unhybridized)
The term white park can refer to a genetic color pattern (carried by White Galloway, British Whites, White Parks, and other heritage breeds), or, it can refer to Britsh White Park breeds specifically.
Breed Description: Most White Park cattle (whether they are called British White cattle or whether they are called White Park cattle) fall in the typical heritage breed FS range, although there may be a few that can qualify as miniature. As for purity and registration, basically, this is one single pure old breed, that has been separated into separate herdbooks, to follow divergent goals--such as--what to call them, how big they should be, how beefy they should be, how to market them, and whether to accept polled or horned individuals (which have both existed side by side for generations). As a result of these kind of latter day squabbles, there is built-in confusion about this breed's history, and you will see opposing claims. It is important to remember they were all Park Cattle until the 1940s, and they were all in same herd book in England. Genetically, there is no difference in USA between ABWPA and BWCAA cattle.

British White Parks were originally both polled and horned

  • British White Cattle Association of America (BWCAA)

  • American British White Park Cattle Association (ABWPA)

Z miniature Zebu
AKA: "Nadudana" in Australia (pronounced Nar-Dar-Nah) which is Hindi for "small cattle."
Breed Traits: Mature cows weigh 300 to 500 lbs, and mature bulls weigh 400 to 600 lbs. Newborn calves can be as small as 15-22 lbs and 16-18 inches tall. Most Zebu breeds (like the Brahman) have long drooping ears, but the miniature Zebu does not. They are predominantly colored gray, but can also be white, red, black, brindle or spotted. They are slow-maturing and have an average lifespan of 18 to 21 years. When hand-raised they are quite docile and friendly, and make excellent little cattle for children. Zebu (and miniature Longhorn) cross bulls are often used as youth bucking bulls, in Little Britches Youth Rodeos. When used for beef, they can yield anywhere from 40-60% lean meat. Mini Zebu beef is not typically as tender, marbled or as flavorful as grass fed beef produced by miniature taurine beef breeds. For dairy production, they can produce up to a gallon of A2 milk /day that is high (5-6%) in butterfat. The population of American miniature Zebu is growing, and is mostly in the south.
Breed Origin: Interestingly, there are several breeds of miniature indicine breeds of cattle in India; the actual cattle population that miniatue Zebu of America came from is thought to possibly be extinct. At the time of this writing, it is not clear which miniature breed(s) our mini Zebu came from.
About Zebu Breeds: There is a difference between "miniature Zebu" and "Zebu": which is the common name used for all Bos taurus indicus, or indicine breeds of cattle, AKA tropical cattle or humped cattle. There are some 60-75 breeds of Zebu cattle in the world, that originate from southern India as far back as 6000 B.C. "Zebu" may be used as either singular or plural; "Zebus" is also an acceptable plural form. Zebu cattle have loose dewlaps, thick hides and panniculus muscles (used in twitching) over the entire body to fend off biting flies. They have fine, short glossy hair that reflects hot sunlight and more fully functional sweat glands over their entire body than taurine breeds. Zebus have natural high resistance to pests, flies, ticks, disease, and bloat. They require less "chemical care" (pesticides) and thrive in heat and humidity. On the other hand, Zebus are not recommended for northern climates.

miniature Zebu bull - owned by Phil Vollmer

International Miniature Zebu Association (IMZA), The International Miniature Zebu Association is the oldest (established 1991) and largest registry of miniature zebu cattle. Crawford, NE Phone: 308-665-1431.
American Miniature Zebu Association (AMZA)

Breed History: In 1893, several miniature Zebu cattle were seen at the Chicago World’s Fair. Miniature Zebu were also imported to America in the 1920s as an oddity for display in USA's zoos and zoological gardens. Some also went to Brazil and Africa over the years. Being such excellent little tropical type cattle, miniature Zebu were exported from America to Australia in 1995, and to New Zealand in 2009. The most recent reports indicate there are approximately 2000 registered pure miniature Zebu in the United States.


miniature Baldie
AKA: black or red whiteface (BWF, RWF),
AKA: black or red brockle-face (BBF, RBF)
Breed Description: This is the pattern seen in fullblood miniature Hereford F1 crossbreds. The miniature Baldie is the result of a miniature Hereford X with (usually) a Lowline or a Dexterbrockle face calf, however any fullblood Hereford parent should produce a whiteface (baldie) calf no matter what breed it is crossed with. With bright white faces, pigment over the eyes is desirable to help ward off pinkeye and cancer-eye. Hereford F2 cattle will then often have white spotted faces called brockle-face (left) calves.
black baldie calf


miniature Beefalo
AKA: miniature Bison hybrid
Breed Chondro Status: chondro-free
Breed Description: A composite (fertile hybrid), the Beefalo was developed in the United States during the early 1970's. The Beefalo is 3/8 (37.5%) bison and 5/8th domestic cattle, and must be at least 17% bison to be classified as Beefalo. Animals over 3/8 bison are classified as Bison Hybrids. The Beefalo can vary greatly in appearance but is generally well muscled and often similar in stature to the bison. Many Beefalo have the unique double coat of the bison, making it hardy in both extreme cold and extreme heat. They are very docile in nature. Beefalo can finish with 40 percent less cost input than conventional beef cattle. The USDA regulates & restricts anyone from selling or advertising their meat as Beefalo beef without prior approval & registration with the American Beefalo Association (ABA).
miniauture beefalo: Darla, 1st heifer calf - Billy R Carpenter
(there are only a couple miniature Bison hybrids in N.A.)


miniature Belted Galloway(percentage)

Breed Chondro status: *carrier breeds
Breed Description: Various belted composites or percentage cattle. Most registered miniature Belted Galloways in North America are percentage cattle that descend from original miniaturized cattle from using dwarf Dexter or other miniature cattle. Some are quite small and can make excellent pets as well as colorful & hardy little homestead cattle with friendly, quiet dispositions.

mini Beltie composite


miniature Braford

AKA: mini Zeford
Breed Chondro status: chondro-free
Breed Description: This miniature composite is a small version of the standard Braford. The developing miniature Braford will be approximately 3/8 miniature Zebu and 5/8 miniature Hereford. It is still in development, and it may be a few more years before breeders of miniature Braford start announcing. The standard Braford is an American composite breed that was developed in 1947 by Alto Adams Jr. on his Florida ranch to produce beef cattle that would flourish in southern climates. They are approximately 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Hereford.
a miniature Braford type heifer
mini Braford type heifer owned by Courtney Preston


miniature Brahman
Breed Description: a reproduction-type composite
Included in this list for 2 reasons:
1) There is or was a herd of proportional dwarf Brahman in Brooksville, Florida that are 30% smaller than the breed average. Their particular dwarf mutation was identified in 2012, and was being documented at the University of Florida. I am not aware of any health conditions that result from this mutation. I am not certain whether that mutation is still around.
2) One may occasionally run across miniature Zebu type animals with longer droopy ears like the Brahman. There are breeders who are working on a future miniature Brahman reproduction composite breed (names to be announced).
Brahman History: The Brahman is a uniquely American breed. Between 1854 and 1926 four Zebu cattle breeds from India (Ongole, Krishna, Gir and Gujarat) were imported to the USA. The Brahman developed in the US in the early 1900s from those tropical-hardy breeds, with a bit of local American British beef breed influence. Not surprisingly, polled Brahman (at least in a few tested animals) showed the Celtic polled (Pc) mutation.
miniature Brahman


miniature Brangus
AKA: Bramalow
Breed Chondro Status: chondro-free
Miniature Version: This composite breed in miniature version is in development. It will be a few years before breeders have the miniature Brangus composite fully established in North America. It is being developed with miniature Angus and miniature Zebu. The miniature Brangus composite is fairly well established in Australia, and is known as the Bramalow there.
Breed Standard: The Brangus began in the early 1930s with Brahman and Angus bred by cattlemen across southern US. They established the American Brangus Breeders Association in 1949. The Brangus blends the heat, drought & humidity tolerance, disease resistance, overall hardiness and outstanding maternal instincts of the Brahman with the Angus's superior carcass qualities and extremely functional females that excel in both fertility and milking ability.

Old Style small Brangus

Brangus are 3/8 Brahman, 5/8 Angus,
solid black and polled


miniature Bucking Bulls

AKA miniature bucking stock, mini rough stock
Breed Description: miniature bulls bred for youth bullriding
Breed Chondro status: some herds are *carriers
Breed Traits: Miniature Bucking Bulls are bred for their short size, their willingness to buck, their blitz & bright colors for Little Britches rodeos and their easy-going, gentle temperament with kids. Some bucking bulls descend from the old American Toy Sundog composite.
Miniature Bucking Bull Registry: This registry keeps track of pedigrees of successful bucking stock that are also gentle and good with kids. MBBR adds no charge to the DNA testing fees from UC Davis, and keep those records in their database.
Contacts: Gare & Danika Millison, GDM Farm, Mannford, OK.
Mark Johnson - bucking bull


miniature Highlander(hybridized)

Breed Chondro status: *carrier breed
Breed Description: Most miniature Scottish Highland cattle are composites or small, high percentage Highland upgrade cattle that started out with the dwarf BD1 gene, from chondro carrier Dexters, and are not rare. Some are quite tiny, reaching only micro size. They come in beautiful colors, and are a very unique little ornamental breed, that should function as well in producing efficient homestead beef as they do adorable pets.
Rick Sanders founded the original International Miniature Highland Cattle Association (IMHCA) in California, for this upgraded miniature Highland breed.

(photo credit: a Highlander "shorty"
bred by Hans & Sherrie Peterson)

upgraded mini Highland


miniature Holstein

Breed Chondro status: unknown
Breed Description: a reproduction-type composite
Breed Traits & History: There are only a handful of miniature Holstein left in existence today, and there never were many. Their exact origin is unclear. They are black and white and look like small Holstein, but in a thicker, more dual-purpose conformation. Like Holsteins, they also carry a red gene, and come in red and white as well.

photo credit: J.Scott Jackson, KY; Cumberland Miniatures

miniature Holstein

Jminiature Jerseys(upgrades or composites)
AKA: American Miniature Jersey, Irish Jersey
AKA: proprietary composites: Belmont™ Jersey, Belfair Jersey
Breed Chondro status: some may be *carriers
Breed Description: there are several miniature and midsize crossbred Jersey cattle composites with varying degrees of purity; from dual purpose type crossbreds to high-percentage upgrades that qualify as purebreds. Miniature Jersey hybrid breeds are generally easy keepers with gentle dispositions.
The Belfair or Irish Jersey, is a straight 50-50 cross of a small Irish Dexter X Jersey first bred by Tracy Teed of Washington state. It is recognized as the first dual-purpose miniature breed developed in America. The Belfair is a small dairy cow that produces more meat and more efficient grass fed genetics than a pure Miniature Jersey, and more milk than a Dexter.
The Belmont™ is a 75/25 Dexter X Jersey cross, with either breed contributing the higher percentage.

"Mini Pearl" a beautiful miniature Jersey
KNF's "Mini Pearl" (above)
DOB: 2011, HEIGHT: 40" at 7yrs of age
photo credit: breeder, Tim O'Donnell, Altamont, IL


miniature MeatMaster
AKA miniature BeefMaster
Breed Chondro Status: chondro-free
Breed Description: miniature composite
The standard Beefmaster is an well-established composite breed that was developed with 1/2 Brahman, 1/4 Shorthorn & 1/4 Hereford cattle, and can be polled or horned. The mini MeatMasters are here now, and available to the public. Mini Meatmasters are a chondro-free beef composite, blending the best traits of Miniature Zebu, miniature Shorthorn and miniature Hereford cattle.

photo source: Marc Rottman

Miniature MeatMaster or Beefmaster
T  American miniature Toy Sundog
Breed Description: older composite that is disappearing
Breed Chondro status: *carrier breed
Breed History: "Back in the day," Ralph Sowers of California was visiting Colorado when he happened upon a pair of miniature Zebu bulls. Buying the smallest one, Ralph named his new bull Holy Cow. Being only 35 inches tall and 300 lbs, that is what most people said when they saw him. After years of breeding Holy Cow with many small cows, his herd began to grow. After purchasing several cows from John Poor near Hopland, CA, things really started to happen. Uniformity within the herd began to develop with the characteristics of a miniature Beefmaster. That is when it happened, a beautiful palomino bull was born from PoorCow #1 and Holy Cow. He was named Sundog. Sundog grew fast, was mild mannered and the kids loved him. Servicing cows at a young age, his offspring were equally impressive and carried on his small size, excellent growth traits and mild manner... and the gentle little composite breed began.
Breed Traits: Through the years, only the smallest and best bulls were kept back. If they didn't carry on the desired traits, they were gone. Only herd bulls under 36 inches tall were retained. The animals had to be small, with good conformation. None of the animals appear dwarfy. Without something in the picture for a size reference, a person couldn't tell they are only 3 ft tall. Sundog Cattle may be any color or combination of colors, polled or horned. Disposition is a must; animals that are high strung or spooked easily are not kept in the herd--they are put in the freezer.

Toy Sundog cattle

"Ralph Sowers who started the Sundogs, is in Ft. Bragg, California. I don't think he breeds many Sundogs any more, now he breeds more mini Longhorn bucking bulls. He has had mini cattle for 30 some years; always small and colorful. He keeps no current webpage or email, but give Ralph Sowers a call. He communicates only by phone. The best time to call him is before 8am or after 8pm, at 707-964-3047."


sources: Dustin Pillard (Feb. 2018).
Sue Chan DVM, Vacaville California
now owns Jed the Sundog bull (pictured above).
Ralph's old unattended website;
Ralph Sowers, Ft. Bragg, CA. Oct., 2009

W  miniature Watusi
Breed Description: composite
Breed Chondro status: *carrier breed
Breed History & Traits: Watusi cattle first arrived in America in the 1960s. The miniature Watusi type composite was first bred by Mr Jeff Hatch in Springdale WA. His miniature Watusi composite has heavy based, upright horns. Some carry a distinctive "lightning spotting" recognized by Darol Dickinson (most notably in his bull named "Swede"), a unique genetic paint pattern seen in specific African and Indian origin breeds. It is essentially the opposite of the color-sided, or lineback pattern. "Lightning Spotting" is a splash paint white marking across the sides of a solid or speckled colored body. I do not know the current status of the miniature Watusi, but anyone interested should visit with Mr. Hatch to find out more. He also breeds miniature Longhorn composites and a lot of his bulls sell for miniature bucking bulls. Mr. Hatch communicates only by phone (509) 258-8974.

Jeff Hatch miniature Watusi

photo source: Jeff Hatch, Springdale, WA

W  miniature Western Heritagecattle
Breed Chondro Status: chondro-free
Breed Description: If the Toy Sundog cattle are disappearing, another similar type may be taking its place. Miniature Western Heritage cattle were started by Dustin Pillard in Iowa. They are a very small horned beef composite breed, created in the image of the colorful heritage cattle that helped win the old West such as the Texas Longhorns, Pineywoods, Florida Crackers, Corriente, etc. Those type cattle in miniature, crossed with miniature Zebu were used to develope this composite. They were bred for their bright colors, hardy constitution, good conformation & friendly personalities. Western Heritage cows milk well and are good mothers. Mini Western Heritage cattle are genetically small and were developed using no dwarfism genetics. Many mature bulls are less than 36 inches tall and 500 lbs.
Western Heritage cow

photo source:


miniature White Parkpattern composites
Breed Chondro Status: chondro *carrier
Breed Description: "White Park" can refer to a breed, a group of breeds, or to a unique color pattern found in breeds of cattle that originated centuries ago in the British Isles. Breeds that carry the white park coloration include the Ancient White Park, the White Galloway and the American British White Park. There are several old heritage breeds that have this marking. This unique color is a somewhat dominant color pattern, and is used often in crossbreeding miniature cattle to develop new miniature composite breeds. Most miniature white park marked cattle are composites. There is a high percentage Dexter upgrade (the trademarked White Dexter®). The latest crossbreed is miniature Scottish Highland x British White that has been dubbed the "HighPark". All are beautiful, calm and friendly little cattle that make great pets while producing excellent beef.


miniature White Park color calf - photo credit: Pinterest, Chuck Manthey
(photo credit: Chuck Manthey, Pinterest)

*"breed chondro status" or "chondro-carrier breed": Any breed that has Dexter DNA in it (or); any miniature breed that was developed from upgrading Dexter chondro (BD1) carriers. A "carrier" breed, does not mean every (or any) individual carries chondro. It means it is a breed that may need DNA testing for chondro before breeding.


We are not responsible for misrepresentation & do not represent any guarantees.
Please email any updates or corrections to [email protected]


Cattle miniature shorthorn

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by Heater
Are Mini Highland cows a thing???

Welcome to 44 Cattle Co.

44 Cattle Company is owned and operated by Bill and Dolores Jenkins. We are located 17 miles north of Big Spring, Texas on Hwy. 669. 44 CATTLE CO. was established in 1959 by Dolores’s Dad, Aubrey Lankford.

From 1959 to 1999 Aubrey ran 50 head of commercial cattle. In 1999 Bill and Dolores added 10 head of Maine Anjou and 3 head of registered Shorthorns. Between 1999 and 2005 the registered Shorthorns increased to 20 head. After the death of Aubrey in 2005 Bill and Dolores took over operation of the ranch. By 2007 the herd was primarily registered Shorthorns. In 2009 registered Miniature Herefords were added to the operation. At this time the ranch consists of 30 head of Shorthorns and 25 Miniature Herefords.

Bill and Dolores have 3 children, Amanda Blissard, Raymond Jenkins and Michael Jenkins, and 4 grand children, Myka Blissard, Aubree Blissard, Whittany Jenkins and Mason Jenkins. Raising and showing cattle has been a big part of this family’s life for the past 55 years. At the present time Myka and Aubree Blissard are both showing in junior heifer and steer shows, and Bill, Dolores, Amanda, and Aubree are showing in open Miniature Hereford shows.



You will also like:

If you have a small farm, you want to maximize value. Miniature cattle breeds can help a great deal. It’s important to consider choosing a cow from miniature cattle breeds instead of getting a full-size cow.

It’s a nice option in these times of rising food prices and concerns regarding food quality.

Many people raise miniature cows for meat. Others raise them solely for fresh dairy products. This usually means getting a milk cow.

Many people consider miniature cattle breeds instead of smaller full-size cows. You will need less pasture and will have less milk to consume. For these people, small-breed cattle may be a more viable alternative, even though the miniature cow costs more initially.

A good quality family milk cow may fetch a price in the $1,400 to $1,800 range.

Miniature cattle breeds ~ A small or miniature cow, on the other hand, can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $3,500.

Miniature Cattle Breeds ~ Size of Miniature Cows

These miniature cows can be classified in categories that depend on their height at the hip.

Midsize miniature cows measure from 42 to 48 inches at the hip.

Standard miniature cows range from 36 to 42 inches.

Micro-miniature cows are all less than 36 inches in height at the hip.

So generally, miniature cattle breeds range anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 the size of normal cattle.

Mini Milking Cows: What Are Small Breed Milk Cows?

Why Miniature Cattle Breeds (Miniature Cows) Are the Perfect Animal for Modern Homesteading Farms and Ranches

These breeds can cost more because they actually offer several clear advantages:

Advantages of miniature cow breeds

They can produce just enough milk for your needs

In peak production, a normal-sized cow can offer 6 to 10 gallons of milk per day. That may give you more problems for storage, and you may not really know what you should do with all that milk.

On the other hand, miniature cattle breeds can give you about 1 to 1.5 gallons per milking.

That should be enough to give you a few glasses of milk to drink, some butter and cheese per week, and even a little milk leftover for some neighbors.

You need just 1/2 – one acre of pasture for each animal

Your best option is to divide the pasture to smaller sections, and then you can rotate the grazing pattern. You can even tie your small-breed cattle to a tire to let the animal graze in a specific area.

Then you can just put the tire in another area afterwards.

They’re about 25 – 30% more feed-efficient

Typically, you’ll only need a third of the standard amount of feed for each one.

Miniature cattle breeds are less work

You’ll haul less hay during the fall. During the deep winter freeze, you’ll have to carry fewer buckets of water for your thirsty cows.

Since they eat less, they’ll produce less waste for you to have to cart away

In addition, composted cow fertilizer is beneficial for farms and gardens.  

They don’t require heavy-duty fencing

In many cases, you can simply use a single hot wire.

They’re ideal to raise for meat

If you butcher an entire miniature cow, you get just the right amount of meat for a small family. A single tiny cow can feed a family of 4 people for months.

These miniature breeds convert expensive organic feed into choice cuts more efficiently than their standard-sized counterparts.

This is why demand for their meat is growing, with lots of upscale restaurants and gourmet markets looking to buy the lean and luscious meat from grass-fed mini roasts and steaks.

Showing miniature cattle

Many owners like to show their miniature cattle. This is also a great way for children to become involved in the 4-H Club and in a state or county fair.

Here are more great things about miniature cattle breeds:

Miniature breeds of cows don’t lend themselves to numerous medical conditions

There is the condition that some call the “bulldog” gene, technically called chondrodysplasia. This results in a physical deformity that often leads to the death of the cow, but this is extremely rare.

Also, you can do a blood test to check for this gene when you’re buying your miniature cow.

Smaller size cows only need minor adjustments in regards to their feeding and care

Their hay-feeding equipment and water tanks will just have to be a bit shorter than with full-size cows.

Mini cows as pets are great and very gentle

Owning one can be like having a gentle and huge dog except she gives you milk. Animal therapy workers and petting zoo managers love miniature cows.

They’re cute and small and they have friendly dispositions—what’s not to like? Caring for and tending to backyard animals, including mini cows, can be a great way to involve children. There are many different types of responsibilities they can handle, depending on their age and maturity.

They would be accessible in a food shortage or crisis

Miniature cattle, like raising backyard chickens, will become invaluable should you ever be facing a food crisis.

Miniature Cattle Breeds

There are many books which explain miniature cattle. Owning a reference book or two will help you as you prepare for raising these particular cows as well as help you when issues arise.

Breeds of miniature cattle for small farm or ranch:

Miniature Cattle Breeds Miniature Belted Galloway

Miniature Belted Galloway

The Belties, as the Miniature Belted Galloways are often called, are a very hardy breed. They originated from the southwestern part of Scotland.

They have a double coat, with the coarse outer coat designed to repel water. Their under coat is not so much hair as wool, and it’s to insulate the cow against the cold.

Belted Galloways tend to have a solid color but with a white belt around their midriff. At maturity, their height at the most reaches 42 inches at the hip bone.

Facts about Belties

These Belties are a popular breed for small farms, as they offer several advantages:

They’re considered as the oldest naturally polled beef cattle in the world

This means they are by nature hornless, and that offers several key advantages. The problem with horned cattle is that you’ll have to expend some effort (or pay for the labor) for de-horning or tipping the horns.

If you don’t, then they’ll pose a danger to you and to their handlers.

Galloways are also a proven commodity in terms of profits

Various tests over a 10-year period show that this breed use up the least amount of feed for every kilogram of weight gain they achieve.

These are the high feed conversion rates that make these Belties profitable every year. One of the most crucial breed traits of all Galloways is that their beef quality is always excellent.

It’s lean, and yet it’s also well-marbled.

Due to the efficient protection offered by their double coat, their carcasses don’t have that additional layer of fat in the back that’s quite common to other breeds.

You’ll find that they dress out at about 60 – 62% of their live weight.

Their excellent hair coat also translates to lower feed costs during the winter

Scientists at Montana State University found that when beef cows have hair coat that is just an inch thicker than average, they will require 20% to 25% less digestible feed intake to maintain their body weight in the cold weather.

With the good double hair coat, they need less feed than usual to maintain their body condition.

Double hair coat is that it is able to shed water

Even in very cold weather, the rain hardly penetrates their coat. These Belties can thrive all year long, and they only need minimal shelter from the summer heat to the winter cold.

Galloways are very docile which means that they’re easy to handle and care for

Miniature Belted Galloway facts

They also exhibit terrific foraging ability, and they’re not picky at all. In fact, a Danish study found that compared to all the other breeds in the study the Galloway consumer many more different types of flora.

Since they can digest even less digestible types of flora, they can flourish even though the conditions are less than ideal.

They’re also known for their longevity and hardiness, as they are resistant to disease. They also have high fertility rates, and calving is easy for them.

In addition, they also exhibit great mothering abilities for their calves.

Miniature Belted Galloways are easy to raise

These Galloways don’t really need all that much. They should have access to clean fresh water, and there should be some pasture grass and good-quality hay. That goes for some available mineral or salt block too.

For extreme weather, it may be nice if they have some shelter or shade to keep themselves more comfortable.

They will also need regular parasite control and vaccinations, for potential problems such as leptospirosis.

Over the last decade or so, the numbers of Miniature Belted Galloways have risen significantly, and so has the demand for them for small farms.

They do really well on small family farms. Like so many miniature cattle breeds, they are completely adorable too.

Dexter Mini Cow

Dexter Mini Cow

Modern Dexter miniature cows trace their ancestry to a 1750 herd of sturdy Irish mountain cattle that was assembled by an agent of Lord Hawarden. His name was Mr. Dexter.

The cows in turn were descended from the small cattle of the Celts of ancient Ireland. They were already called Dexter mini cows by 1845, and by then they looked pretty much like the Dexter cows of today.

A Dexter registry was established in Ireland in 1887, and in 1911 an American registry was established as well.

But the Dexters in North America were rare. Today they’re still classified as “rare” in the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.

By raising Dexter cows, you can help preserve an endangered heritage livestock breed.

Facts about Dexters

Here are a few facts you need to know about Dexters:

Dexters are famed for their longevity and for their generally sweet dispositions

They can live for quite a while, with an average lifespan of about 17 to 18 years.

They have a powerful maternal instinct

Dexters will act as surrogate mothers, and they can look after 4 or more calves at the same time. They’re well-known for easy calving.

But they often calve until they’re very old, and some have calved at 20 years old. They can rear about 10 calves during their lifetime.

Mature bull can reach up to about 47 inches in height, and weigh more than 450 kilos

That’s still significantly smaller than your normal-sized cattle. They are mostly black, although there are times when you may find one with a dun or dark red color.

Dexter cows are horned

The horns of the bulls tend to extend directly to each side. They then curve forward and upward, and there’s some space between the 2 horns. Generally, the horns are white in color, but the tips are black.

You should be able to stock more cattle per acre than with normal-sized cows

They’re very good at foraging for their own food. In fact, they’re well-suited for areas with drought problems.

Dexters live on grass. When grass is scarce, they can make do with hay. Some owners tend to give them a bit of grain or a few concentrate pellets during milking time, as a sort of incentive.

Dexter cows also need a lot of water so they can maintain their milk production. The water should be clean at all times.

If you’re keeping them as milking cows, they’ll just produce less milk when they get less food.

They’re at just ⅔ the size of a standard breed, and their need for food is proportionally less.

Dexters are regarded as dual-purpose cows

You can get them for their milk or for their meat. This particular breed is justifiably renowned for their milk production.

Though they’re smaller, they can outstrip the milk output of their bigger counterparts. Their average yield is about 10 liters a day, but they can produce as much as 20 liters of milk daily.

The milk is ideal for making cheese, with an average butterfat level of about 4 to 5 percent, with cream yields of a liter for every 5 liters.

More information about Dexters

These are very hardy animals, and you can keep and milk them outside if you need to. But they do require shelter from extreme weather such as an open shed or a cowshed.

Dexter facts and tips for raising them

You should reserve your best pasture for your proven milk producers. You can plant good herbal ley as pasture grass which can be good for worm control.

When you have rich pasture, you’ll have to reduce their grazing time so they don’t get more weight than they ought to. When they get too big, they can produce less milk, and their size can lead to calving problems.

A standard rule of thumb is to limit their grazing on rich pasture to just 6 hours a day. After that, you should lead them to their corral and feed them hay.

One minor problem for milking is that their teats can be small, so milking them by hand may pose a challenge. You may want to invest in an electric milking machine especially when you have several Dexter cows to milk.

You can also raise Dexter cattle for their meat.

A 3-year old steer can reach up to 460 kilos. Because of their excellent foraging ability, their high feed conversion, and excellent meat-to-bone ratio, Dexter steer can reach 180 kilos in 14 months.

When you feed them grass, the meat is delicious: tender, lean, and fine-textured.

With grain feeding, which is not typically recommended because it is unnatural for them, the meat in the prime cuts are finely marbled, and it has a lighter color.

Miniature Zebu Cow

What’s great about Dexters

These really make for good small farm cattle, as they can be converted into good beef or you can continue to enjoy their healthy milk. And they can also make great pets, although you’ll need to be concerned with the horns, especially around children.

Miniature Zebu Cow

In general, miniature cattle breeds have been bred by man by choosing the smallest cows from a larger breed.

But the Miniature Zebu is a true breed of miniature cattle, which means they’ve developed into a unique species all on their own. They are among the oldest breed of cattle, and may trace back to as far as 6,000 BC.

Some document records place them in Sri Lanka and southern India by 3,000 BC.

The first zebu was imported into the US during the 1920s. They were considered novelties in zoological gardens. They’re becoming a bit more popular as more people learn about them, but they’re still quite rare in North America.

People in the United States call them Brahman cattle as well.

Facts about Zebu Cows also known as Brahman Cows

Zebus are popular because they look so cute that they’re almost like fawns. People recognize them for their characteristically well-developed humps, which are very prominent on mature bulls.

They may have horns which can be in any shape and size.

Because of their appealing look and friendly disposition, Zebu cows aren’t normally bred for meat production. They’re mostly for shows, junior rodeo events, and zoological gardens.

Others use them for their breeding farms. You can raise them as pets, and you can even use them for milk.

A typical zebu cow can produce a gallon of milk a day, and it is very rich in butterfat.

They have sleek coats that are short and dense. Their colors range from black, spotted, or red, to steel gray or nearly pure white.

In mature bulls, it’s common to see nearly all black in the neck, shoulders, and hump areas.

Zebus are measured at the withers, which is directly behind the hump. Zebus don’t go past 42 inches in height; most are about 36 to 38 inches tall.

However, some adults may only reach up to 26 inches. They can range in weight from 200 to 500 pounds.

Miniature Zebu cows carry their babies for 9 months like human mothers. They calve easily and produce good milk. They’re very protective of their babies, especially in the first few weeks.

The baby Zebus really look like fawns, and many human owners (and their children) find them adorable. They’re about 16 to 18 inches tall and weigh about 18 to 22 pounds.

After just a few moments after their birth, they’re able to stand and walk around. They can be as tame and as friendly as a family dog, especially if they’re bottle-raised.

More facts about Zebu Cows

You can easily halter-train small Zebus, and you can have your children walk them on a leash. The breed is so docile and small that they’re considered safe for children and for the elderly.

Feeding them isn’t hard, although the food will depend greatly on your geographic location and the season. They’ll accept hay during the winter months, and for the rest of the year they can live on good quality grass.

For grain, you can use cattle feed or a general purpose sweet feed.

To keep your zebu healthy, you’ll also need fresh water and salt blocks.

They do very well in warm weather, which is why many of the Zebus in the US are in Florida. But they can also survive farther up north as long as you provide them adequate shelter during the colder months.

With proper care, they can live for as long as 20 to 25 years. Their origins have made them immune to most tropical diseases.

The price of a registered miniature bull calf in Florida may range from $500 to $2,000.

A heifer calf can cost from $1,500 to 3,000. Full grown bulls and cows that have proven productive will cost more.

They can be very expensive if they have unusual characteristics, such as if they come from high quality bloodlines or if they’re very small.

miniature jersey cow

Jersey Mini-Cows

Jersey is a British island found in the English Channel, just off the French coast. Because it’s an island, the cattle there were able to develop in relative isolation from other cattle breeds.

It’s one of the oldest dairy breeds, with pure bloodlines tracing back to almost 600 years.

These miniature cattle are famous for their high quality milk production, along with its generally friendly personality and lower maintenance cost due to its miniature status.

While the standard Jerseys today are bigger due to breeding programs, the miniature Jerseys at 3 years of age don’t go over 700 pounds on average and they don’t exceed a height of 42 inches at the hip.

Many are within the 36 to 40-inch range.

These are actually the original traits of the breed, and the standard Jerseys were bred to be larger to boost milk production. Today, the mini Jersey is a rare breed.

Facts about Jersey Mini Cows

They can be very adorable, and that’s undeniable. The color of their coat ranges from fawn to dark fawn, with some sporting splashes of white.

The cows tend to weigh about 600 to 650 pounds, while the bulls weigh in at about 800 pounds. Because of their small stature, they don’t require as much acreage and barn space.

They also require less feed, as they only eat half as much as their bigger counterparts. Their milk is very delicious and quite nutritious too. They contain high butterfat and protein amounts.

They can produce about 2 to 4 gallons of milk a day. If you’re getting a miniature cow, the point is to provide milk and that means you really have to check the udder.

It needs to be attached well, and the teats should be large enough that you can milk them easily.

They should also sport a straight spine, and stand firmly with legs long enough to support their body length and size.

More facts about Miniature Jersey Cow

While modern Jersey bulls are notoriously aggressive, that’s not usually the case with mini Jersey bulls. This is especially true with bulls that have been bottle-fed from birth.

While they can be playful as calves, they can also be very gentle and sweet even when compared to their female calves.

They’re quieter and they don’t spook as easily. But when they mature, it’s still a good idea to just handle him as you need to, but you can just leave him alone.

You can start handling him less when he reaches puberty, which for mini Jersey bulls is at 6 to 7 months. The calves also don’t like the cold very much, especially when the temperature drops below 50.

So you should keep them warm with calf coats or even with heat lamps. Keeping them warm in the winter months is crucial if you want to minimize the risk of stress-related diseases.

Just remember, with mini Jerseys you get the best milk for your family, and a cute and gentle pet besides.

Miniature Panda Cow

Miniature Panda Cow

Now if you’re into truly rare miniature cows with a beauty that can’t be matched, you really ought to take a look at the Miniature Panda.

The first of its kind is the progeny of a miniature bull that is 75% Irish Dexter and 25% Belted Galloway bred to an exotic cow (“Happy Mountain” Cattle).

The result was a small heifer measuring just 14 inches tall at birth. She has a white belt around her middle, along with the face of a panda, all white with black circles around the eyes.

Miniature Panda Cow is unique

There are only a few dozen of these miniature Panda cattle in the world, and they’re all celebrities in one way or another.

There is a pair of them featured at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. Sometimes the celebrity status can even get in the head of the Panda cattle.

According to one Washington owner, his Panda bull calf is never far from his mother, but he “struts” around the farm and other caves follow him around.

Miniature Herefords

If you want a celebrity animal for your zoological garden or farm, you can’t go wrong with a miniature Panda cow. They’re just that cute, lovable, and popular.

But you will have to spend lots of money to get one, or devise a breeding program yourself.

The cost of buying one may reach up to $30,000, but you’re getting instant fame and status.

Miniature Herefords

The standard Hereford cattle breed began in Herefordshire, England, about 250 years ago. The breeding program for the miniature Hereford started in the late 1960s, but it was only in 1989 when breeding stock became available for sale.

They’re widely considered beef animals, although there are many other reasons why you may want to buy one.

You can buy them as a pet for your young children, or enter them in shows. Some buy them because of the agricultural tax breaks they get to enjoy.

You can even just buy them as special tools to mow and fertilize your huge backyard.

Facts about Miniature Herefords

These make for wonderful pets. They’re generally docile and have sweet-temperaments, especially when they’re already halter-trained.

Even the bulls are comparatively gentle compared to the bulls of other miniature breeds. And the calves only weigh in at 30 to 60 pounds, so that even 5 or 6-year old kids can show them around.

They’re also very easy to care for, and they won’t cost you as much for upkeep. In addition, they are very hardy and they adapt well to all environments, so you cut back on veterinary bills.

They don’t need special food treats, they require less pasture space, they’re easier on your pasture and fence, and they produce less manure to haul away.

Mini Herefords are excellent food converters.

This means they don’t have to eat as much to produce weight gain for meat. And their meat is more tender because of their shorter muscle length.

Standard cows need to develop muscle to carry 2,000 pounds in weight.

But the mini Herefords only weigh from 700 to 1,000 pounds, so they require less muscle.

They also offer a larger ribeye area of about 1.5 square inches for every 100 pounds of body weight.

Miniature Herefords – breeding

The breed is very fertile and can breed back rather quickly. Heifers can breed at about 2 to 3 years. The bulls can even start at an earlier age, as they can breed when they’re a year and a half years old.

After giving birth the mother is very nurturing, and she can also provide lots of milk for her calf.

You should find a reputable breeder if you’re considering buying a miniature Hereford. It’s easy to make mistakes, such as paying show-quality prices for a cow when you just want a pet.

Others may pay top fees for a very small animal only to find out that she’s not small-framed genetically.

Just make sure you get the most suitable animal for your needs. If you want them for the beef, then they’re able to provide better beef than just about any beef you can get in the supermarket.

If you want a pet, make sure that it’s docile and that you train it with a harness.

And if you want them for your own breeding program, you will need to research the pedigrees.

Now that you are learning so much about miniature cattle, be sure to learn about how a livestock guardian dog can help.

Miniture Lowline Angus

Lowline Angus

The Lowline Angus descended from the Angus cattle breed that was formed several hundred years ago from the black hornless cattle in the Angus and Aberdeen counties in Scotland.

Some would claim they are derived from Australia and are not considered ‘Mini Cattle’.

These spread worldwide during the 1800s, and soon thereafter, Black Angus started to dominate the US beef industry.

History of Lowline Angus

The Lowline Angus was actually created by accident. They were the result of an Australian study which tried to determine if large or small animals were more efficient at converting grass into meat.

In this 1974 study, they used 85 Angus cows and divided them into 3 herds.

The High Line herd was defined by high yearling growth rates, and the Low Line herd had low yearling growth rates. The third herd was the control with randomly selected animals.

Researchers found out at the end that the High and Low Line herds demonstrated about the same level of efficiency in converting grass to protein.

They were supposed to slaughter the Low Line herd, but it soon became evident that these smaller animals had far greater value than what was first thought.

After 15 years of selective breeding the Lowline Angus cattle breed was born.

They stabilized at about 30% smaller than their Highline counterparts, and that makes them one of the smallest beef cattle breeds in the world.

These animals were extremely docile. They adapted to Australian conditions. The researchers conducted a disposal sale in 1993, and introduced to the US in 1997.

More facts about Lowline Angus

On average, a purebred Lowline Angus calf weighs 42 pounds. A mature cow is 39 inches tall and weighs 800 pounds.

A mature bull reaches a height of 43 inches and 1200 pounds.

They’re ideal for intensive grazing conditions, and their feed requirements are considerably less than what their bigger counterparts need. They only need about a third of the stand cattle’s nutritional requirements.

You can raise about 54 breeding cows per 100 acres, compared to 33 for Angus and 38 for Wagyu.

Yet you can get an average of 154.3 retail pounds of product from your Lowline Angus.

That’s a lot compared to the 110 pounds per acre for the Angus and 83.1 pounds for the Wagyu.

Lowlines offer superior carcass traits, with 30% larger rib eye area per hundredweight and excellent marbling.

The cows calve with excellent ease, with a short gestation period of 271 days and afterwards they exhibit great mothering ability.

More great reasons to own Lowline Angus

They’re also naturally polled, so that means they’re naturally hornless and that’s a very advantageous trait.

They can live for as long as 12 to 25 years, as they’re easy to keep, and terrific foragers. Lowline Angus can adapt to a wide variety of climates, from the hot and humid Deep South to the cold of Canada.

They do not test for the Anchondroplasia gene and the dwarfism gene. Lowlines look great with their nice proportions, and they’re very easy to handle.

Miniature Texas Longhorns

What the Lowline Angus represents is a chance for you to get a taste of delicious beef even if you do own a very small farm.

And if you want to make a business of it, it’s a great investment because they’re still rare and the demand for their beef is very high.

Miniature Texas Longhorns

If you’re in the US, you probably heard of the Texas Longhorn football team. But you won’t ever forget the first time you see a Texas Longhorn in person, as their horns can grow as long as 7 feet from tip to tip.

They’re among the first cattle the Europeans brought to North America. They’re a mix of breed from India and Iberia.

Yet despite their horns, the Texas longhorn is actually very gentle and even quite intelligent for their species. And if you want the smaller and cuter version, you can go for the miniature Texas longhorns instead.

They began from a 1990 breeding program that downsized purebred, registered Texas Longhorns. The process simply bred then smallest Texas Longhorns they had until the resulted in this miniature version.

Like their bigger counterparts, they have the horns, the general build, and the mild, tractable personality without any nervousness or aggressiveness.

Facts about Miniature Texas Longhorns

Technically, their horns must measure from tip to tip at least 50% their hip height, although it would of course be better if they horn measurement can actually reach the length of the height at the hip.

Miniature Texas Longhorn cows should be no more than 45 inches at the hip bone for you to classify them as “miniature,” although some purists insist that they should not exceed 42 inches in height. For bulls, the maximum is 48 inches.

They live for about 10 years and they can weigh from 350 to 800 pounds. They’re diurnal active during the daytime), and they just need hay and grass.

You don’t buy these animals for their meat, even though people recognize the standard Texas longhorn lean beef for its low fat, cholesterol, and calories.

These minis are companion animals. They are excellent show animals and pets.

They’re so small you don’t needs as much acreage, and because of their gentle temperament you don’t have to worry about them hurting your children.

Miniature Scottish Highland

Scottish miniature highland cattle

If all you know of the Scottish Highlands is what you got from watching Braveheart, then you should at least know that the Scots are tough because they had to be.

That’s especially true in the Highlands, where it’s so rugged that only the tough survive. And that also true of their cattle.

The Highland breed has thrived ever since the 6th century AD, and they share the same traits with the miniature Scottish Highland breed.

The smaller miniatures don’t go past 42 inches in height, and a few can only reach up to 27 inches even after 3 years.

That makes them one of the cutest farm animals to have around, especially when combined with their characteristic long hair on top of their heads.

People admire the Highland breed for their distinctive looks, and when that look is in a miniature version the cuteness score is off the charts. They’re just so adorable. It’s why calves go for about $6,500 even, registered or not.

But they’re not purely just for decoration, and there are advantages to raising them in your small farm. They exhibit all the major traits of their bigger counterparts.

The difference is they require less food and acreage, making them better suited for smaller farms.

Facts about Scottish Miniature Highland Cattle

Longevity, self, sufficiency, and hardiness are traits to portray them

You can raise them in any state in America and they’ll thrive, although for best results you should get your miniature Highland from a farm with a climate that’s similar to your own.

They have the famous double hair coat with the long, coarse outer layer and the soft wooly inner layer

This coat means that you won’t have any need for special and expensive shelters and barns. This coat also means that they don’t need a heavy layer of fat to insulate themselves against the cold.

They marble naturally on lower food amounts and produce high quality, lean, and low fat cuts of beef. The hair sheds out in the spring, and in the warmer climate they just don’t produce as much hair.

The Highland breed has been living with humans for hundreds upon hundreds of years, and they’re no problem at all

The early Scots would even keep them in their homes during the winter, with a woven wattle fence to keep the cattle and human areas separate inside.

They’re docile, calm. They do not spook easily. Despite their long horns, they’re very easy to work with.

More great things about Miniature Scottish Highlands

They calve easily, and calving difficulty like dystocia is very uncommon They can produce well into their late teens, so you don’t need to replace the herd frequently. Once they give birth, they protect and devoted themselves to their young.

They are excellent browsers

You can use them to clear brush lots and improve the grazing.

While they are dual purpose cattle which can offer both milk and meat, it is their beef which can really stand out

A study found that their beef is 24% more tender than commercial beef. It also contains 4% less cholesterol, 17% more iron, and 7% more protein.

So if you’re into hobby farming or if you want a pet cow, the miniature Scottish Highland is a great choice. They’re good-looking and unique, they’re very docile, and they can thrive beautifully in even harsh conditions.

Miniature Holstein Milk Cow

Miniature Holstein Milk Cow

There’s a reason why Holstein Cows dominate the US milk production industry. These milk cows: 

  • Can provide a lot more income than what their feed costs
  • Are very hardy and genetically sound
  • Adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions

Miniature cattle producing milk

Also, mini Holsteins can produce large amounts of milk. In fact, Holsteins have held the world record for milk production for many years now.

One record holder in 2010 from Wisconsin produced 72,170 pounds of milk in a year. That’s more than 8,660 gallons for the year.

Typically, they can give you as much as 9 gallons of milk per day. And perhaps that may be too large an amount for you to handle. So you may want to get a miniature Holstein instead.

Advantages of the Miniature Holstein

This smaller version offers the same benefits as its bigger counterparts, except that they don’t produce as much milk. They can give you about 2 to 3 gallons of milk a day.

Standard lactation lasts about 305 days a year. You can milk some 3 times a day, every day of the year.

The smaller Holstein also offers clear advantages over the standard-sized Holsteins. They only measure in at 42 inches in height, unlike full-sized Holsteins that come in at 58 inches tall at the shoulder.

They eat less so they produce less manure, and they’re very easy to handle.

Since they’re small and very friendly, you can teach children all about taking care of a cow with your miniature Holstein. They can learn to milk the cow and help feed it.

And you won’t have to worry about their disposition as they’re very gentle and easy to handle.

Guide to Miniature Cattle Breeds

Regardless of the breed you choose for your small farm, the advantages of the miniature cattle breeds cannot be denied.

Mini Cows for Sale

Interestingly, mini cows are up for grabs in different ranches in your area.

If you’re trying to look for one near your vicinity, you can simply just search in google or type in “cow ranch near me” and it will automatically show you different ranches available in near you.

Best inexpensive products for miniature cattle breeds:

  1. Use a brush for a simple way to clean their coats and untangle their hair.
  2. Lead your miniature cow with an easy-to-fit cow halter.
  3. Show your miniature cow with a show stick.

Advantages of raising miniature cattle

They’re easier to handle than full-size cows. They are safer for families with children.

Your fencing costs are much more minimal. They do less damage to your pasture. You also save money on feed, since they don’t eat as much.

They can provide some supplemental income, as well as meat or milk at more reasonable amounts that you can handle more easily.

Raising miniature cows make excellent FFA and 4-H projects for your kids.

Also, miniature cattle are just plain adorable!

Do your research. A lot depends on where you buy your cows, so you really need to get them from reputable farms and ranches.

Inbreeding is always an issue, since these animals are relatively rare.

Consider getting miniature cattle for your small farm or ranch, no matter what the size. You can discover for yourself just how much joy and pleasure they can bring to your family.

When you are ready, you can consider at livestock guardian animal to protect your miniature cows as well.

When you carefully consider your area to know which breed to choose, you can easily learn the basics of caring for livestock, including miniature cattle breeds.

Mini Cattle Related Articles:

What Do Bulls Eat

Raising Livestock is the Path to Sustainability
Bison vs Buffalo: The Truth About Their Differences
Prepping Is for Everyone: What to Consider When Preparing
Best Farm Animals: How to Populate a Healthy Farm


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