There are over 800 recognized breeds of cattle world wide. Most of these breeds are large animals, over 1,000 pounds, that could easily crush a human, however there are at least 27 recognized breeds of miniature cattle. These miniature cattle breeds offer great opportunities for people with smaller places or whom simply don’t want to risk keeping the larger animals, or do not have room enough for the larger cattle breeds.
Miniature cattle often are derived from larger breeds through careful genetic selection, producing a miniature version of the full sized animal. At maturity they are usually around 26-48 inches in height, and weigh 150-800 pounds when fully grown.
A Micro Mini is under 36 inches at three years of age, a Full Mini is between 37 and 42 inches at three years of age, and a Mid-Sized Mini is between 43 and 48 inches at three years.
Advantages of miniature cattle include that a person can keep a few milk cows on less land, and with less environmental impact. Some are beef breeds, are bred to be slaughtered. Because of their small stature they are excellent for petting zoos or as pets. The biggest disadvantage is that due to their breeding they may have a harder time calving.
Some of the breeds of Miniature Cattle are:
American Beltie, these are black in the front and back, and white around the middle, much like a Belted Galloway.
Miniature Angus, should look just like a full sized Angus, only petite. They are black and polled. Also referred to as Lowline Cattle.
Barbee, a newer breed.
Bellfair, is a breed that is very new, having originated from breeding small Jersey cows to a small Dexter bull. They look like Jerseys, with the idea that they will be milk cattle who can be bred to produce a meat calf.
Belmont/Irish Jersey, these are a dual purpose animal, both for milking and beef. They do have horns.
Belted Lessor Jersey, this is an animal that is a shade of brown with a white belt around its middle.
Belted Milking Dexter, a breed that formed by crossing a Miniature Belted Lessor Jersey bull to miniature Dexter cows.
Dexter, this is an older breed, one that was losing popularity until recently. They are a dual purpose breed.
Four Breed Grad-Wohl, a beef breed, named by its developer.
Five Breed Grad-Wohl, a beef breed, named by its developer.
Happy Mountain, this is a beef breed, that is fairly new.
Highland, these are often kept as Mid-Sized Minis, they have long shaggy hair and horns.
Kingshire, is a cross between a mini hereford, mini angus, and mid-sized highland.
Lessor Jersey. This is a naturally polled dairy breed of mini cattle.
Miniature Hereford, these are simply miniature versious of the regular Hereford types, as such they are a hardy breed, excellent for meat production.
Open Breed, this is a registry for any breed of cattle who meets the height requirement to be considered a miniature.
Panda, these are similar to the American Beltie, in that they are black and white, but through happy accident one was born with a white face, like a panda bear.
Texas Longhorn Mini, just like a full sized longhorn, but in tiny size.
Zebus are an older breed that are well adapted to hot, tropical climates, they resemble a Brahma, and are often used as draft animals.
Many of the miniature cattle breeds were developed at Happy Mountain Miniature Cattle Farm, who also run the International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society and Registry. More and more are being developed all the time.
You might also like this article on Miniature Horses
Published April 25, 2009, http://www.helium.com/items/1429004-miniature-cattle-breeds