Native cow varieties of India

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Why make this list?

A recent investigation by the Tehelka magazine[1] arrived at the conclusion that in 10 years, India will be forced to start importing milk, and that Indian cow will cease to exist. Why? Due to several reasons:

  1. India, over the past few decades, imported several exotic cow varieties to gain a boost in milk production. In Punjab, for example, 80% of the state's one lakh stray cattle are exotic breeds. These breeds theoretically produce a lot of milk, but are not well-adapted to Indian conditions.
  2. 69% of Indian cows are owned by the economically poor strata of the society. These folks cannot afford to house these exotic breeds in regulated climate conditions.
  3. The government has significantly mismanaged cow breeding. The average milk yield per animal in India is just 3.2 kgs, compared to a global average of 6.6 kgs. The dairy policy and outlook is highly outdated and needs to be replaced with modern, evidence-based thinking.

India has 37 pure cattle breeds. Five of these — Sahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Tharparkar and Rathi — are known for their milking prowess. A few others, such as Kankrej, Ongole and Hariana, belong to dual breeds that have both milch and draught qualities; ie, they are good plough animals. The rest are pure draught breeds.

Source: Tehelka[1]

Indigenous cattle varieties

Data derived from the following sources:

Name Average yield/lactation Geographical range Description (Source)[2] Image Other names
Gir 2000-6000 kg Saurashtra, Gujarat This breed produces the highest yield of milk amongst all breeds in India. Has been used extensively to make hybrid varieties, in India and in other countries like Brazil. Brazilian Gyr Cattle.jpg
Sahiwal 2000-4000kg Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana The cow is easily identifiable by its prominent red color 200px
Red Sindhi 2000-4000kg Originated in Sindh, Pakistan. Now widespread. Red sindhi cattle.jpg
Rathi 1800-3500 kg Bikaner, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab Type of a w:Zebu cattle. Bos taurus indicus.jpg Bos primigenius, Bos taurus, Bos indicus
Tharparkar 1800-3500 kg Sindh (Pakistan), Kutch, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur Bullocks are slow workers. Cows are good milkers. Same species as Rathi. Bos taurus indicus.jpg Bos primigenius, Bos taurus, Bos indicus
Deoni Marathwada, Maharashtra Deoni Bull.jpg
Hariana 1000-2000 kg Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan Bullocks are useful for ploughing and transport. Cows are good milkers. Hariana Cow.jpg
Kankrej 1500-4000 kg Bhuj, North Gujarat, Rajasthan Bullocks are strong and hard-working. Among the largest cattle breeds in India Guzerá macho - EMAPA 100307 REFON 1.jpg
Ongole NA Guntur, Ongole in Andhra Pradesh Bullocks are useful for ploughing and cart-work / transport. Cows are fair milkers. Has natural resistance to both foot and mouth disease and mad cow disease 200px
Red Kandhari NA Marathwada, Maharashtra. Bullocks are good draught animals. Cows are good milkers. Lal Kandhari.JPG
Nimari NA Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh This is a dual purpose milk and draught breed. Animals are copper colored, with patches of white. Nimari cow.jpg
Malvi NA Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan Bullocks are useful for ploughing. Cows are average milkers. Malvi cow.jpg
Dangi Western Maharashtra Especially good for heavy rainfall areas for draught purpose. Dangi Cow.jpg
Khillari cattle Southern Maharashtra, Northern Karnataka Bullocks are hardy and well-known for being fast in work. Khillari Cow.jpg
Amritmahal 1000-1200 kg per lactation Karnataka Bullocks are well-known for draught power and endurance. Amrit Mahal.jpg
Hallikar Hassan, Mysore, Tunkur districts of Karnataka Draught breed both used for road and field agricultural operations. Closely related to Amrit Mahal. However, are much thinner and produce low yields of milk. Hallikar.jpg
Kangayam Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu Bullocks are strong draught animals. Their skin is very strong and tight. Kangayam.jpg
Nagori Nagore, Rajasthan It is an excellent draught breed. Bullocks are good for draught purposes. Nagori.jpg
Baraguru Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu Bullocks are good work animals. Baraguru.jpg
Kenkatha Banda, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh. Bullocks are small but fairly sturdy animals and good for cultivation in rocky areas. Kenkatha.jpg
Siri Hills around Darjeeling and Sikkim. Originally from Bhutan. This breed can stand the rugged conditions of the mountains very well. Bullocks are eagerly sought after for draught purposes (ploughing and transport) due to their reputed great strength. Siri Nublaung.png Nublaung (Bhutanese)
Bachaur Sitamarhi, Bihar. Bullocks are used for draught purpose. Cows are poor milkers. Bachaur.jpg
Kherigarh Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. The cattle of this breed are very active and thrive on grazing only. Bullocks are good for light draught and quick light transport. The cows are poor milkers. Kerighar.jpg
Mewati Rajasthan Mewati cattle are in general sturdy, powerful and docile and are useful for heavy ploughing, carting and drawing water from deep wells. Cows are said to be good milkers.
Umblachery Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu It is a draught breed of the Zebu type, similiar to Kangayam but smaller. They are gray with white spots. The bulls are used in the sport of Jallikattu or bull-taming, which is different from the Spanish custom of matadors and running of the bulls. Amblacheri bull.jpg
Krishna Valley Southern border of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh Bullocks are powerful and good for heavy ploughing and slower draught purpose. Cows are fair milkers. Krishna Valley Cattle.jpg Krishna Tira
Ponwar Pilbhit, Uttar Pradesh Draught purpose. Cows are poor milkers. Ponwar cow.jpg
Vechur Kerala Smallest cow breed in the world! Bullocks are mainly used for draught purpose. Cows are poor milkers. In the image alongside, the smaller cow is a 16 year old Vechur cow, while the larger cow is a 6-year old cross bred cow. Vechur cow.jpg
Malenadu Gidda Coastal and hilly areas of Karnataka Malenadu Gidda.jpg
Kasaragod[3] Kerala Kasaragod.jpg

Additional reads

  • A Pastolral Elegy Outlook Magazine. "Contrary to popular belief, indigenous breeds are a sturdier option than disease-prone crossbreds"


  1. ^ a b The Desi Cow, Almost Extinct Published in Tehelka on January 24, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Report on National Commission on Cattle Chapter 2. Accessed: 26th January, 2013
  3. ^ Kasaragod dwarf cattle may get native animal status Times of India, July 2012


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Only 15 articles are shown in this list. A total of 64 articles in the database as of this moment. For the complete list, click on further results on the bottom right corner of the above table.

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Title Native cow varieties of India Article is on this general topic Biodiversity data Author Gaurav Moghe
Specific location(s) where study was conducted Not noted General region where study was conducted Not noted State where study was conducted Pan-India
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Species Group Animals User ID User:Gauravm Page creation date 2013/1/26

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