The most common black and white cow is the Holstein-Friesian breed (the stereotypical black and white patches dairy cow), however, there are many other black and white cows including the striking Black Angus, and the beautiful Belted Galloway.
In this article, we’ll look at seven different breeds of cows and take a look at their unique black and white markings.
Black and White Cow Breeds
|Black and White Cow Breed||Farmed for|
|2. Belgian Blue||Beef|
|3. Belted Galloway||Beef|
|4. British White Park||Show (Formerly Dairy and Beef)|
|6. Holstein Friesian||Dairy|
|7. Panda Cow||Show Cows|
1. Belted Galloway
The Belted Galloway is a striking breed, with a completely black body and face apart from a single band of pure white fur stretching all the way around them like a belt.
If you didn’t see this breed with your own eyes, you would probably think it was fictional.
Belted Galloway are from the border region between Scotland and England but are originally descended from the Lakenvelder breed (see below) from what is now the northern part of The Netherlands.
Sometimes called “belties”, this breed is known for its gentle nature and top quality beef.
There are many other belted breeds that are either descended from the Belted Galloway or share a common ancestor (Usually the Lakenvelder mentioned above). These include the American Belted, which is sometimes known as the ‘Oreo’ cow.
2. Holstein Friesian
Holstein-Friesians are the stereotypical black and white cows that you probably think of when you think of a black and white cow. Their coats are made up of black and white patches with clearly defined separation between the colors.
This is in contrast to other black and white animals like the Belgian Blue, which has a blend of black and white growing together, making their coats appear grey.
They were originally bred in Friesland (in modern-day Holland) and have been selectively bred for dairy for over 2,000 years.
Read More: How Were Cows Domesticated?
3: Belgian Blue
What has science done?
Belgian Blues are a sight to behold, and not necessarily in a good way. They look like pro bodybuilders, with defined and sculpted muscles bulging out of every part of their bodies.
This rare condition is the result of a rare genetic mutation known as double-muscling or hyperplasia, which has been intentionally introduced into the breed through selective breeding.
The coat of the Belgian Blue fur is a mottled mixture of black and white speckles, resulting in a grey appearance overall, though you’ll probably be too awestruck by their shape to notice…
Read More: How Strong are Bulls?
4. British White Park
The British White Park breed is an ancient breed, having lived on the island of Great Britain since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago.
White Park are notable for their long horns and pure white coats, save for their ears and noses, which are solid black.
Because of their unique markings, they are highly recognizable but are rarely bred for beef on an industrial scale. Instead, White Park beef is sold only by a few select farms and the meat commands a premium.
Related Article: Where Do Cows Go When It Rains?
5. Panda Cows
Panda cows are a relatively new breed, with the first recorded Panda cow being successfully born in 2011 in Colorado after many years of trying. They are a miniature breed, standing only four feet in height, and they are still very uncommon. Reportedly, there are only 24 panda cows currently in existence.
There are quite a few miniature breeds of cows apart from Pandas, including the Dexter, and the Lowline Angus. Miniature breeds are desirable for small-scale farmers or individual families because they don’t require so much land.
The Girolando is a relatively new hybrid breed, originally created in the 1940s in Brazil by combining Gyr cattle with Dutch Holstein cattle.
The breed combines the Gyr’s hardy nature and ability to survive in hot, arid climates and the Holstein’s high-yield.
Girolandos can have any mix of black and white, but usually have black backs and rumps with white undersides. The colors meet and dither, with flecks of black in the white underside becoming fewer and fewer until the cow is pure white, and white flecks doing the same on the black fur.
Although the colorings of the Girlando are more similar to the Holsteins, you can still see their Gyr ancestry in the shape of their skulls and backs, which have a Bos-indicus shape like the Gyr.
The Chianina is the undisputed king of the bovine world, at least when it comes to size.
The Chianina breed has a white coat and head but has a striking black tail that looks like it’s been dipped in oil.
Chianina cattle are generally regarded as the largest cow breed in the world, having originally been bred as a draft animal during the age of the Roman Empire, though today they are often used for meat.
What Types of Cows are Solid Black?
There are many solid black-colored cow breeds. The most common is the Aberdeen Angus (sometimes called the Black Angus) which is commonly raised for beef in Europe and North America. They are recognizable by their pure black bodies and lack of horns.
Are There any Pure White Cows?
There are a few almost pure white breeds, including British White Park and Chianinas, but very few solid white breeds. The most common white breed is probably the Charolais, which has a single-colored coat and is usually white or very light brown.
Are All Dairy Cows Black and White?
By far the most common dairy breed is the Friesian-Holstein. Holsteins are black and white, but there are plenty of other dairy breeds that are not black and white, including the Swiss Brown (which is brown) and the Jersey (which is tan and white).
Read More: What Color are Dairy Cows?
Are All Black and White Cows Female?
Sex has no bearing on the color of the cow’s coat, however, there are a very large number of female black and white cows, since only female cows can produce milk and most dairy cows are black and white.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.