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Heritage Cattle Breeds

Heritage cattle breeds are valued for their ancestry as well as their distinctive physical triats, which make their meat and milk stand out from conventional cattle products. These in-depth profiles detail the history and characteristics of various heritage cattle breeds.

Ayrshire Cattle
The Ayrshire cow is medium sized (50 to 53 inches tall when standing) and has a red-and-white combination coat that can be anywhere from white with red spots to mostly red. Breeders admire the Ayrshire cow for their low-cost, grass-based dairy production.

Devon Cattle
The American Devon, sometimes called the Beef Devon, is noted for its ability to gain and grow on grass alone. The breed also tolerates heat, especially the bulls, which maintain excellent fertility even in high temperatures. Despite a history of triple purpose — beef, milk and draft — the modern American Devon is primarily a beef breed. 

Dexter Cattle
Irish native Dexter cows are best raised as a family cow instead of part of a large herd, and breeders should also be aware of “dwarf factor” genetics. When a Dexter heifer has a calf, she'll probably produce 1 to 2 gallons of milk a day.

Dutch Belted Cattle
Dutch Belt or Dutch Belted cattle originate from Holland and are known for their high quality milk production and distinctive coat — jet black or red with a white belt from the shoulders to the hips that wraps entirely around its midsection.