Dual purpose cattle breeds  are breeds that are kept for both meat and milk. Females are used for milk and breeding purposes; unwanted bulls are killed for beef. Dual purpose breeds are majorly ideal for smaller farms with limited specialization. Whereas dual purpose breeds are used for both milk and beef, some have taken the breeds and improved them to suit their own farming needs and aspirations; either exclusive beef or milk breeds resulting in subdivisions among the breeds. Below are some of the breeds that produce good quality carcass as well as considerable amount of milk.

Fleckvieh  Cattle Breed

Fleckvieh dual purpose breed has its origins in central Europe, dating back to around 19th century. The breed is known by other names as Simmental and was imported from Switzerland and the local breeds. Unlike other breeds, Fleckvieh/Simmental have high hybrid vigor with the ability to reach 75% on first filial generation when crossed with other breeds. The breed is well adapted to adverse climatic conditions like a sudden change in temperature and is also more resistant to diseases when compared to dairy breeds. With the continued selection, the Fleckvieh breed now has small white in its body with the rest being red. It has developed a red pigment around its eyes, protecting it from cataracts and other eye problems caused by sun’s rays. Currently, there is an estimated population of about 41 million Fleckvieh cattle in the world, making it the second largest population of cattle breeds worldwide

Characteristics of the breed

  • They are either poled or horned
  • Mature male weighs 1100-1300kg while a female weighs 700-800 k
  • Its coat color is solid red or red pied; normally characterized by a white face.
  • Male’s height is 150-165cm while female height is 140-150 cm.
  • The breed has a natural ability to convert rough grass, roughage, and cheap feeds into flesh and milk making it a popular breed among farmers as compared to other breeds of cattle.
  • Its milk production ranges from 6500-7500kg annually’ with 4.2% butterfat content and 3.7% protein content.

Sahiwal cattle Breed

It has its origins in Punjab district in Pakistan. The breed is regarded as one of the best dairy breeds in India and Pakistan. the breed, due to its excellent ability to produce sufficient amounts of milk, good carcass quality and its resistance to drought, parasite-borne diseases, and harsh climatic conditions has become popular among farmers and is now distributed worldwide.

Characteristics Sahiwal dual purpose cattle breed

  • Its coat color ranges from reddish brown to all red, with a varying white color on the neck and on the breast and the underline. The color darkens in males especially towards the extremities like head, tails, and legs.
  • Its average milk production is 2270 kg per lactation.
  • They are a docile breed, making it suitable for draft work.
  • They have a high resistance to unfavorable climatic and geographical conditions hence can survive even the harsh arid and semi-arid conditions.
  • The breed is also resistant to tick, tick-borne diseases, and other parasite infestations.
  • Have easy calving and high longevity with the ability to reproduce up to 20 years.
  • They are resistant to digestion related problems like acidosis and bloat.
  • Its calves though small at birth, grow very fast.
  • Its carcass is lean with evenly distributed fat.

Gir Breed

The breed originated in the Gir forest of Gujarat at around – it is one of the zebu breeds of cattle. The breed has evolved over the years, due to the consistent efforts by farmers to improve qualities. The gir breed is distinct from other cattle breeds due to its qualities like weight, height and natural beauty. It has a high tolerance to diseases, harsh climatic conditions, and tick infestation among other qualities. These and other inherent qualities have made the breed a darling among farmers across the globe; thus, the breed is currently distributed worldwide. The breed has been employed in breeding programs by farmers in hot and tropic countries. It has been bred for milk production in countries like Brazil and its popularity is also increasing in USA, Venezuela, Mexico and many more.

Characteristics of the breed

  • The breed is considered the most gentle among the zebu breeds.
  • A mature cow weighs 400-475 kg while bulls weigh 550-650kg.
  • In appearance, it has dome-shaped/convex and rounded forehead, pendulous ears and spiraling horn that face back and outward.
  • Its coat color range from red, yellow to black with others having white and black spots. Black color becomes thick and concentrated towards the extremities in some bulls. Legs are black and hard, increasing its hardiness.
  • The shape of its head and ears act as a coolant/radiator to pituitary glands and the brain.
  • It produces 4000-5000kg of milk peer lactation with 4.5% butterfat content.
  • It has low calving problems due to calves being born small.
  • The calves have high growth rate.
  • The breed has high longevity with the ability to produce more than 10 calves in a lifetime.
  • Males stand 1.4m and females stand 1.3m in height.

Shorthorn Breed

This Shorthorn cattle breed has origins in northeast England at around the late 17th century. it was bred for both meat and milk production; thus a dual purpose breed and was one of the early purebred breeds to be introduced in Australia in the 18th century. The Shorthorn breed evolved as a result of farmers electing for fast maturity, fattening at an early age, compactness, and thickness.

Characteristics of the Shorthorn cattle breed

  • coat color is red, roan or white.
  • It is either polled or horned.
  • The breed has a high fertility and relatively good mothering ability.
  • It has a generally docile temperament.
  • Have good marbling quality when finished on grains and an ability to finishes well on a pasture of good quality.
  • The breed is good for crossbreeding and as a terminal sire due to her ease at calving.
  • The average mature weight of bulls of older bloodlines is 800kg while that of cows is 500kg. For the Australian and blended bloodlines, bulls weigh up to 1000 kg and cow up to 700 kg.
  • Average milk production in milking shorthorn is 7000kg per lactation with 3.8% butterfat and 3.3% protein content. The protein butterfat content ratios are ideal for cheese making.
  • The breed has considerable resistance to diseases like mastitis compared to Holstein counterparts.
  • Its milk has low somatic cell count.

Red Poll Cattle Breed

Red Poll cattle breed is a dual purpose breed believed to have been developed in England in the late 19th century. The breed is one of the last originally British to produce an excellent cross due to its hybrid vigor. It is a cross between the red Norfolk red beef cattle and the Suffolk Dan dairy breeds.

Characteristics of the breed

• Its coat color is red with only tail switch and udder being white.
• They have easy calving and good mothering ability.
• The breed is polled, characterized by a tuft hair on the poll.
• It is a hardy and docile breed.
• Its average milk production is 7000kg per lactation with 4% butterfat content and 3.2% protein content.






Shorthorn Breed/

Cattle Breeds: Shorthorn

New Zealand Shorthorn