Famous Cow Breeds of India – I

India has a very rich reservoir of genetic diversity and possesses some of the best breeds of cows and bulls in the world. Below is the list of few of them. In next series we will include more Indigenous breeds of cows.


Gir: Gir breed of cows are found in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Other names of this breed are Bhadawari, Desan, Gujarati, Kathiawari, Sorthi, and Surati. They are high milk yielders. Their milk yield ranges from 2000 kg to 6000 kg per lactation with fat percentage ranging from 4.5% to 5%. Basic colours of their skin are white with dark red or chocolate-brown patches or sometimes black or purely red. Bullocks are heavy and powerful draught animals.

Sahiwal: The Sahiwal originated in the dry Punjab region which lies along the Indian-Pakistani border. In India this Herds established in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana. Their name comes from Sahiwal district in Pakistan. Their colour is reddish dun or pale red, sometimes flashed with white patches. Sahiwal cows are well-known for their milking capacity, Tick and parasite resistance, Heat tolerant, Ease of calving, Drought resistant and Good temperament. Milk yield varies from 2000 to 4000 kg per lactation, with fat content varying from 4% to 4.5 %.


Red Sindhi: Red Sindhi cow originated in Sindh, Pakistan but are now widespread. Their colour is red with shades varying from dark red to light, strips of white. Their Milk yield per lactation varies from 1200 to 2000 litres, with fat content varying from 4% to 4.5 %. They have been used for crossbreeding with temperate (European) origin dairy breeds in many countries to combine their tropical adaptations (heat tolerance, tick resistance, disease resistance, fertility at higher temperatures, etc.) with the higher milk production found in temperate regions.

Rathi: Rathi herds are found in Bikaner and Ganganagar districts of Rajasthan, Sirsa district of Haryana and part of Ferozepore district of Punjab. They are famous for good potential for milk production and resistance to adverse climatic conditions of the desert area. They are usually brown with white patches all over the body but animals having complete brown or black with white patches are often encountered. Their milk yield ranges from 1800 kg to 3500 kg per lactation with fat content of around 4%.


Tharparkar: This breed of cow majorly found in Tharparkar District of Sind (Pakistan) and Kutch, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer desert area of India. Body colour is white or light grey. Tharparkar Bullocks are slow workers while Tharparkar Cows are good milkers, with average milk yields varying from 1800 to 3500 kg per lactation. It is a dual purpose breed known for both its milking and draught potential. Their characteristics are similar to Rathi that is why they are also known White Sindhi, Gray Sindhi and Thari (for their origin in Thar).

Deoni breed of cattle is found in the taluks of Basavakalyan, Bidar and Bhalki of Bidar district in Karnataka and adjoining Latur district of the state of Maharashtra. They are also known by the name of Dongepati, Dongari, Wanners, Balankya and Shevera. Deoni cattle are believed to have been developed from Gir cattle about 280-300 years back.  They are Known to be both good milk yielders and draft animals. Deoni is considered as an important dual-purpose breed of cattle in India. Deoni cow's Milk yield ranges from 636 to 1230 kg per lactation (with 4.3% fat) and Deoni bullocks are suitable for heavy cultivation. This breed has spotted black and white colour.


Hariana: The Hariana, a prominent dual-purpose breed of northern India, was primarily reared for bullock production. Its native breeding tract encompasses large part of Rohtak, Hisar, Jind and Gurgaon District of Haryana, while the breed is also found in U.P., Bihar and parts of Rajasthan. This is one of the most widely spread breed in the Indo-Gangetic Plains. It is an important dual purpose cattle breed of India. Hariana bullocks are useful for ploughing and transport while Hariana cows are good milkers. Their Milk yield is 1000 to 2000 kg per lactation.

Kankrej: This breed of cattle Originated from Southeast Rann of Kutch of Gujarat and adjoining Rajasthan. Its horns are lyre-shaped and colour of the animal varies from silver-grey to iron-grey or steel black. Kankrej cow’s milk yield is 1500-4000 kg per lactation and Kankrej bullocks are strong and hard-working. They are valued for fast, powerful, draught cattle and are useful in ploughing and carting. Guzerat cattle are a breed developed in Brazil from Kankrej cattle imported from India.


Ongole: It is originated from Guntur and Ongole Districts of Andhra Pradesh. Ongole cattle are famous for their bulls. Ongole Bullocks are useful for ploughing and cart-work / transport while Ongole cows are fair milkers with milk yield range from 600 kg to 2518 kg. Ongole cow milk has a butterfat content of over 5%. Ongole cattle are known for their toughness, rapid growth rate, and natural tolerance to tropical heat and disease resistance. The Brahmana bull in America is an off-breed of the Ongole.

Red Kandhari: The breeding tract of Red Kandhari cattle breed comprises Latur, Parbahni, Nanded, Hingoli and Beed districts of Maharashtra. The climate of the breeding tract is dry and semiarid. It is dual purpose and hardy in nature. Bullocks are good draught animals while cows are good milkers. It Produces an average of 600 litre milk per lactation length of 280 days. Red Kandhar is good looking with dark red colour, broad fore head.


 Nimari is originated out of Gir (cattle) and Khillari cattle breeds, and is found in the regions of Narmada valley in the state of Madhya Pradesh and Jalgaon district in Maharashtra. It is dual purpose cattale. It is draught breed and cows are very average milk yielders. The cattle are of medium to large build and aggressive in temperament.