Bos taurus taurusScottish Highland Cow 


  • Bovidae


  • Late teens to mid twenties


  • Height
    • 35-43 inches at shoulder
  • Weight
    • Males: 1500-1800 pounds
    • Females: 900-1200 pounds


  • As suggested by its name, this breed originated in the Scottish Highlands


  • The Scottish Highlands - a rugged, remote rocky region comprising Northwestern Scotland.  This area has many mountains with course vegetation growing throughout.


  • Wild
    • Rough plant matter such as grasses, lichens, and mosses
  • Captive
    • A mixture of timothy and alfalfa hay


  • Due to late maturation and small size, the Scottish Highland should not be bred until after 2 years of age.  A single calf is common after a gestation of 280 days (9.5 months).  Calves usually weigh between 60 and 70 pounds at birth and should be able to stand within an hour of birth.  Scottish Highland cows are reported to be excellent mothers.

Special AdaptationsScottish Highland Cow

  • Scottish Highland cattle have long, thick, course hair to protect them from cold temperatures and moist conditions common to the Scottish Highlands
  • This breed appears to be more resistant to common bovine diseases than other cattle breeds


  • Red is the most common color found today but Highlanders can be found in black, dun, silver, and yellow
  • Ruby, our Scottish Highland cow, is very inquisitive, but shy and will not usually approach strangers
  • Horns are found on both the male and female of this breed
  • This breed produces lean cuts of beef due to having a double-layer of hair which helps insulate them and prevents a need for fat insulation
  • Ruby is fairly calm throughout the year, but on the first large snowfall she frolics through the snow like an energetic calf!

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Not Evaluated
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • Although domestic cattle are not threatened, there are 5 Bovid species which are in need of protections:
    • Bos gaurus (Gaur)
      • IUCN: Vulnerable
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in India, China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia
    • Bos javanicus (Banteng)
      • IUCN: Endangered
      • CITES: Not Listed
      • Found in Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, and sporadically in Indonesia.  Small population introduced to Australia
    • Bos mutus (Wild Yak)
      • IUCN: Vulnerable
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in China.  Historically found in China and India.  Believed to be extinct in all countries except China
    • Bos sauveli (Grey Ox/Kouprey)
      • IUCN: Critically Endangered
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in Cambodia and southern Laos
    • Bubalus arnee (Indian Water Buffalo)
      • IUCN: Endangered
      • CITES: Appendix III
      • Found in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia; all extremely fragmented

Scottish Highland dashing through the snow


  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012.
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012.
  3. American Highland Cattle Association… the Grande Old Breed… 2011. The American Highland Cattle Association. 13 November 2011

  4. Feldhamer, George A. et al., Mammalogy: Adaptation, diversity, and ecology. 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.

  5. Highland.5 June 1996. Oklahoma State University. 13 November 2011

  6. “AHCA Highlands Breeder’s Guide”. The Bagpipe. Volume 15, Issue 2: Pages 27- . 13 November 2011

**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.