7 Popular Cattle Breeds in the U.S.

Cattle comprise a significant portion of the nation’s agriculture industry and its overall economy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the value of cattle and calf production in 2019 was 48.2 billion dollars. The retail equivalent of all this beef was 111.2 billion dollars. Cows and bulls come in many varieties. There are over 250 recognized breeds over the globe, with over 80 in the states alone easily accessible to producers. There are some that are more popular than others — here are seven of them.

1. Angus

Angus cattle like the ones grown on the ranch owned by Michael Jusbasche are the top breed in the U.S. Black Angus, also known as Aberdeen Angus, are the go-to choice for prime cuts of meat, especially steak. Red Angus ones are also favored. There is a distinct preference for the former, but genetically the two are identical. There exist high standards the cattle must meet to earn the classification of Certified Angus Beef from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graders. 

2. Hereford

This strain derives its name from the British county of Herefordshire, its place of origin. They were initially valued for their size potential, though producers today breed them with less of an eye towards bigness. They may be identified by their white face, crest and underline. Their coats range from red to yellow. 

3. Texas Longhorn

The distinguishing feature of this breed is its long horns, which may reach a length of 100 inches from tip to tip. Members of it were the first cattle to set foot on the Americas, introduced by Spanish colonists and Christopher Columbus. Their coats may be a blend of numerous colors, with red and white combinations being more common, and they have the benefit of being resistant to drought.

4. Holstein

Holstein females are prized as milk cows, though those of the breed are also bred for meat. One of their best traits is the consistency of the quality of said beef, achieved through their genetic similarity. They are patterned in either black and white or red and white. They originated in the Netherlands. 

5. Limousin

Possessing golden-red coloring, Limousin cows and bulls come from France, where they are native to two regions, one of which is the Limousin they are named after. They are sturdy, adaptable beasts once valued highly for their ability as work animals as well as their meat. Now they are reared specially for the purpose of beef production, even bearing the nickname the “butcher’s animal” in their original country. 

6. Gelbvieh

The Gelbvieh cattle are from Germany. Artificial insemination was the means by which Americans were introduced to the breed. Their coats are red in color. 

7. Simmental

This is one of the oldest breeds in the world, dating back to the Middle Ages. It is also one of the most widely distributed ones and is raised for both milk and beef. The Swiss cattle have had a part in the creation of several other European breeds.

There are many kinds of cows and bulls in the world. Cross-breeding and advances in genetics mean that more will probably continue to come into being in the future.