Bos tauruscow holstein 2


  • Bovidae


  • Lifespan may exceed 20 years but it is limited by human culling


  • Height: 58-60 inches at shoulder
  • Weight: 1500-2000 pounds


  • Only found in captivity, this animal can graze in fields and grasslands


  • In the wild: Not found in the wild; cattle ancestors would have eaten grasses and similar plant matter
  • At the zoo: Hay and high fiber grain in cold weather or for treats


  • 1-2 young are born after a gestation of 9 months.
  • Holstein heifers (young female cattle that have not yet been bred) can be bred as young as 15 months old but the ideal age to first breed a female is between 24 and 27 months

Special adaptationscow holstein

  • Cattle are ruminant digesters and process food through a 4-chambered stomach. This adaptation allows them to leech as many nutrients from their food as possible, which in turn allows ruminants to be able to survive in places where non-ruminant herbivores could not live. They also do not have to consume as much food to supply their bodies with energy.
  • Cattle tongues are extremely long – they lick their interior nasal cavities to increase the amount of good bacteria in their digestive tract, which help break down the course matter in their diet.

Interesting facts

  • This breed originated in the Netherlands about 2000 years ago
  • Holsteins are one of the most easily recognizable dairy cows in the world
  • Cutie Pie, our resident Holstein, loves attention and people. She can almost always be found at her fence line waiting to greet visitors!
  • Ruminants usually do not have upper incisors or canines, just a rough pad on the roof of their mouths
  • Cattle are considered to be the most important livestock animal and are among the most populous domestic animal
  • There are over 9 million dairy cows in the U.S., with approximately 90% of them being of Holstein decent
  • Holstein cows give more milk than any other dairy breed in the U.S.
  • The average Holstein cow produces around 23,000 pounds of milk, or 2,674 gallons, of milk each lactation. With a standard lactation lasting 305 days, that comes out to 75 pounds, or almost 9 gallons of milk per cow per day

Conservation status

  • CITES –Not Listed
  • IUCN –Not Evaluated


  1. Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February, 2016.
  2. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. (February 5, 2015) Accessed January 2016.
  3. Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed January 2016.
  4. Holstein Facts about Holstein Cattle. Accessed February, 2016.
  5. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2015) Accessed January 2016.

cow holstein winter

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.