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Last updated date: 01st Mar 2024
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The scientific name of the cow is Bos Taurus and are the members of Bovinae. The family also includes Gazelles, Buffalo, Bison, Antelopes and Goats. In many countries like India, cows are considered sacred, but in many countries, some breeds of cow are used as a dish for consumption. Cows are raised for multiple reasons including dairy products, cheese and milk.


Cows are domesticated animals and often chew grass in farmers’ fields. Globally, there are around 900 breeds of cows and 1.3 billion head of cattle. Humans consider cows as the foster mother because it produces milk that people drink.


There are Different Names for this Bulky and Slow Walking Animal

  • A mature female is called 'cow'

  • Mature male is called a "bull"

  • Group of cows are called as 'herd'

  • A young female cow is called as 'heifer'

  • A baby cow is called a 'calf"


Origin of Cow

According to different studies, it is found that the origin of cows goes back to 10,000 years ago. In ancient times, domestic cows were not very common because they demanded sedentary society. As time passed, cows became the much-needed domesticated animal.


In Ancient-Egypt, cows were worshipped. In fact, they used to worship a cow goddess called Hathor, representing motherhood, feminine and joy. She was known for guarding the fertility of the land and helped women while giving birth to the child. Later in 2000 BC, the cow got the tag of sacred animal in Hindu religion too. Many images of god were constituted with cows, making them a holy animal.


The Old Testament in Hebrews referred to the cow as a sacred animal. It was also referred to as the "land of milk and honey". It means fertility and provides the required nourishment.


In America, the first cattle arrived in 1525 in Mexico and were brought by Spaniards to the New World.


Different Types of Cattle

Cows, which are also called cattle, have different breeds under its family. There are around 900 breeds and 250 recognized ones. Some of the types of cattle breeds are-

  • Black Angus

Also called Aberdeen Angus, these are the most famous breeds found in the US. One of the reasons why they are in demand is because of the meat that is tasty and widely consumed. This crossbreed meat is always on premium sale. The breed comes from Northeastern Scotland and was brought by a Kansas rancher in 1873. This breed is hornless and has black skin with hair. Moreover, they are known for early development.

  • Belted Galloways

Also called the Oreo Cattle, this breed has a unique skin colour. The name Oreo is possibly because of the half white and black skin. The origin of this breed is in Scotland and was first imported in the US in the year 1950. This breed is often purchased because of its ornamental qualities and produces quality beef for consumption. Belties carry double coats of hair making them feel warm.

  • Brahman

The most sacred cow breed found in India. People who do not consume meat worship them. These Brahmans have developed themselves being resistant to pests, disease and parasites. They carry a large hump on their shoulder and have upward- horns, large ears and excess skin. People, who do not consume meat, use the cow urine for sacred purposes to sprinkle at home.

  • Charolais

These are light coloured breed cows originated in France, used for meat, milk and drafting. In ancient times, this cow breed was used for farming purposes and to pull wagons. In 1930, it was first imported to the US, but due to the disease outbreak, the import halted. The best thing about this breed is it can adapt itself in any environment and graze in warm weather.

  • Dexter

Originating in southern Ireland, Dexter arrived in the US in the 1900s. They are the smallest; this breed weighs not more than 1000 pounds. Due to their less pasture, the size of their body does not grow much. They have the ability to thrive in hot and cold climates and are easy to handle. Their beef is quite dark red compared to other breeds of cows.

  • Holstein

Best known as dairy cows, Holstein is not used for breeding stock or milk production, instead of raised for beef cattle. Originated 2000 year ago, Holstein was brought to America in the 1850s for their demand in producing milk. These cattle are widely known for producing an amazing quality of milk and the lifespan is not more than six years.

  • Red Angus

A part of the Angus cow breed, Red Angus were developed in Scotland in the 1700s. Both, black and red were considered purebred, red Angus in the US is widely used in artificial insemination.

  • Scottish Highland

This cow breed lived for centuries in Scottish highlands where it developed itself to resist in harsh climatic conditions. One of the oldest breeds, Scottish Highland can survive in cold weather and snow. This helps the cattle for lean beef with less fat.

  • Shorthorn

Originated in the Northeast coast of England, Shorthorn were brought to America in 1783. This breed of cattle is very much human friendly and is adaptable to any region. These are best for meat and milk. In the US during the 1880s, Shorthorn was the first major beef breed and could adapt and mothering ability.

  • Simmental

This is the Swiss breed and is the oldest one. It is now found in different parts of the world. They were raised in the US in the 1800s. Most of the Simmentals are red and white, but also have no colour restrictions. What makes Simmental different from other breeds of cattle is their rapid growth, milk production, large size and other features.


Uses of Cow

Cows are raised as livestock for meat, milk and hides to make leather. In countries like India, cows are considered sacred and their milk is widely consumed. It provides a maximum requirement for farming activities and helps in the transportation of goods. It is believed that Cow ghee helps in the development of children's brains. The regular consumption of cow ghee can help in the increase of HDL cholesterol. Furthermore, it also helps in making the teeth and bones strong.


Cow milk is the most beneficial milk after the mother's milk. It is the primary animal milk consumed widely by humans. The milk is rich with vitamins, including B2, B3 and A, helping to increase the immunity.


Benefits of Cow Dung and Urine

There are multiple benefits of cow dung and urine. They both help in making pesticides, fungicides and insecticides. The cow dung is an indigestible plant material that is released on the ground by the cow through the intestine. Cow dung or manure has a soft texture and circular shape. The manure later is used as a rich fertilizer and the biogas purpose. This manure also plays a vital role in animals and plants.


The dried cow dung has the best use in fuel. Pieces of cow dung helps in providing heat and flame for cooking. In countries like North America and India, people make the best use of energy stored in the cow dung. The biogas, which is prepared using cow dung, is the mixture of anaerobic digestion of organic matter by the bacteria.


In rural India, the mu and cow dung are mixed and applied on walls and floors. This is to create a waterproof wall and bring down the heat coming from the outside.


Some Facts about Cow

Cow body parts are largely used for various purposes. Every part of a cow is used in making artificial items. Cow feet and hooves are used for human and pet food, gelatin, glue and buttons. Moreover, some of the parts of the cow are used for making soaps, the foam in fire extinguishers and fertilizers. Know the main cow information listed below:

  • Similar to humans, cows too love to be social and always stay in groups, thus developing a bond.

  • Cows can walk up to the stairs, but will not be able to walk down the stairs. The reason behind this is that their knees do not bend.

  • Similar to dogs, cows love getting their bodies rubbed.

  • They carry a strong 300 degree vision. The only blind spots are directly in front of and behind them.

  • In India, cows are highly regarded as sacred and are a punishable act to kill.

  • In many countries, during the winter season, grass does not grow which can be problematic for cattle. This is when farmers harvest grass so that cattle can eat during the winter season. This harvesting process is called Making Hay. For farmers, this is the most critical time for cattle farming.

  • The stomach of a cow, also called as the rumen can hold up to 50 gallons of food, including partially digested once. A cow can consume 40 gallons of food in a day.

  • To keep a tag on cow's age, weight and birth date, farmers use ear tags for the identification purpose. 

  • Cows carry digestive areas in one stomach. The Rumen is the most important one that holds the majority of the food.

  • According to one study by the University of Duisburg- Essen in Germany, it found that cows tend to face magnetic north or south while grazing, irrespective of the position the sun is.

  • Cows can face stress when they get separated from the group. This is seen when the heart rates are reduced compared to the normal ones.

  • Cows are good swimmers. They made headlines when people discovered the Cape Lookout National Seashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. During the hurricane, several cows swam 4-5 miles to find a safe hideout.

  • Cows have a good sense of smell and taste. They can smell things from six miles.

A domestic bovine, regardless of sex or age, usually of the species Bos taurus, is known as a cow. The appellation is given to mature females of numerous huge mammals, including cattle (bovines), moose, elephants, sea lions, and whales.

Domestic cows are one of the most common agricultural animals worldwide, and the English language has multiple words to characterise them at various stages of development. Calf refers to a young cow. A female calf is typically known as a heifer calf, whereas a male calf is known as a bull calf. A heifer is a female that has never given birth. Heifers are normally young females; nevertheless, after giving birth to her first calf, a heifer becomes a cow. A bull is a term used to describe an adult male. Castration is used to minimise aggressive tendencies in male cattle and make them more tractable.


Digestion is the process through which our bodies break down and absorb nutrients from food, however not all animals have the same ability to digest food. Cows, for example, have a digestive system that is substantially different from ours, allowing them to thrive on a grass-based diet.


Cows differ from other animals in that they have fewer teeth. Teeth (incisors) are exclusively found on the bottom jaw near the front of the mouth. A rough leathery pad (known as the "dental pad") replaces the top incisors. Furthermore, cattle's upper lip is relatively immobile (compared to goats and sheep). A cow's tongue is used to grip a clump of grass and then bite it off due to its unusual oral architecture. Molar teeth (teeth in the back of the mouth) are found on the top and bottom jaws. Plant materials may contain rough stems, but because cows chew their diet in a side-to-side motion, the grass is shredded into little bits that are easier to digest.

The Benefits

The rumen absorbs nutrients from the food that other animals are unable to digest. As a result, cows can eat plant parts left over after grains are collected for human use (such as seed coatings, shells, and stems). "By-products" is a term used to describe residual materials. Farmers and companies can save money by not having to pay to dispose of by-products and make money by selling them as animal feed.

Plant by-products are created when oil is extracted from grains (for example, soybean oil from soybean seed and Canola oil from rapeseed), or when grains are used to brew alcohol or generate fuel-ethanol. Despite the fact that vital nutrients (such as fat, sugar, and protein) are removed from plant materials during processing, these by-products can be fed to cows if handled correctly. Cows can eat and survive on plant by-products that other animals can't digest thanks to their four-compartment stomachs and rumen microorganisms.

FAQs on Cow

1. How Do Cows Produce Milk?

Before cows produce milk, they need to give birth to a calf. Cows usually become pregnant with their calf at years and a half of age. Dairy farmers need to spend hours to check if cows are herding well. The farmer needs to keep the vet updated about the pregnancy and herd routine. When the cow reaches two years, she gives birth to a calf. The farmer also needs to check if the cow is healthy to produce milk. Cows are milked twice a day. Nowadays, farmers use milking machines to extract milk easily. It carries a suction cup fitted on each teat for vacuum purposes.

2. How Do Cows Eat Grass?

Cows have unique teeth that help them to chew grass and other foods. Cow teeth, also known as the Incisor, are located on the jaw bottom. It has a leather pad. They also have immobile upper lips. Due to its unique oral shape, the cow uses its tongue to bite its food. Teeth in the back of the mouth are located at the top and bottom jaws. When it comes to digestion, cows have a different digestive system. Like humans, where after chewing the food, the stomach holds the food where the digestion takes place and is separated into nutrients.

3. Does Milking Hurt Cows?

It completely depends on the process of the milking. You need to be very careful while milking them. A little harshness can lead to pain. The best is to use a milk extraction machine that makes the process of milking handy and painless. Cows keep producing milk for 10 months. Once it is over, there is a two-month rest, called a dry period. For a cow, it is important to get rest, before producing for the next round of milking.

4. Are Cows Sacred in India?

Yes, in India cows fall under sacred animals. They are being worshipped along with gods. Killing them is a punishable act. However, in some states, some breeds of cattle are butchered for eating purposes. Beef is a common food in many places. People love consuming it. They are considered auspicious animals. It is said to be the best friends of Lord Krishna (Hindu Deity). You can learn more about cows via the free PDF from Vedantu. 

5. Is the Cow - Different Types, Uses, Benefits, Facts and FAQs helpful?

Yes, the free pdf from Vedantu about Cow - Different Types, Uses, Benefits, Facts and FAQs is very helpful. It provides knowledge about cows, their types, uses, benefits and fun facts. You will be able to know about the mammals properly and acknowledge their existence. They are sacred, work shift and are admired all over India. Students are educated here to know about the topic and write about it in their words properly. The main aim is general knowledge and English learning.