The Diary Shorthorn is native to the English, being a selectively bred type of cattle. Since it’s sprouting away from the meat industry, this cow has proven to be a real champ in the milk department.

If you want a reliable producer with a high rate of milk production year after year, this is a terrific choice. Let’s take a closer look at the Dairy Shorthorn.

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Quick Facts about Dairy Shorthorn Cattle

Breed Name:Shorthorn
Place of Origin:United Kingdom
Bull (Male) Size:1,800 to 2,200 pounds
Cow (Female) Size:1,400 to 1,500 pounds
Color:White, red, road
Lifespan:5-20 years
Climate Tolerance:Cold hardy
Care Level:Moderate

Dairy Shorthorn Origins

When the cattle industry took off, using dairy cows for mass production, having an efficient breed was a catalyst. It was developed near the Tees River in England through the process of selective breeding.

Originally used mainly for meat production, the Shorthorn showed potential to be more than that. Its usefulness in the dairy industry became prevalent Over the course of a few breeding years.

These cows produce favorable amounts of milk and work terrifically for multipurpose situations on small farms. They are one of the most common cows throughout parts of England, Australia, and the United States, though they are far more widespread globally.

Dairy Shorthorn Characteristics

Many farmers appreciate the Diary Shorthorn due to its high adaptability and overall usefulness. Also, they are very easy to manage given they have docile personalities and calm demeanor.

These cows are ideal candidates for first-timers, as they are all-around happy campers that get brownie points for their award-winning production and sweet nature. They are quiet members of the pasture, low-maintenance, and drama-free.

Bulls can’t be trusted, regardless of the bovine’s general gentleness. They have a classic bull temperament, making them unpredictable and potentially aggressive.

They are perfectly content meandering around in an enclosure, peacefully coexisting with other farm life.


The Dairy Shorthorn, as the name implies, are dairy cattle raised for milk production. In a day, the Shorthorn produces 19,842 pounds of milk in a 305-day span.

To put that into perspective, Holstein cows produce upwards of 25,000 pounds per year.

Appearance & Varieties

The standard Diary Shorthorn is a sturdy gal with excellent structure and lean muscle mass. They have among the lowest protein-to-fat ratio of all dairy cows, making them top candidates for the production of milk and cheese.

Although the Dairy Shorthorn cow stands alone, it stems from the standard Shorthorn, which is a cattle breed raised for beef. They were once simultaneously used for milk and beef–but with needing specialization, they have branched off into two separate shorthorn groups.

This has proven to straighten dairy/meat specification, with short horns rising to the occasion on both sides of the coin.

Population & Distribution

Dairy Shorthorn cattle are readily available and easily accessible for purchase in all 50 states and other countries, too.

It isn’t unusual to see a herd in the countryside. While they aren’t quite as popular as some mainstream cattle, like the Holstein, they definitely rank high.

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Are Dairy Shorthorns Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Since Dairy Shorthorns are herd animals, you should always have at least a pair. As a general rule of thumb, 5 acres would suit a pair just fine. If you are looking for strong milk production from reliable cattle, the Dairy Shorthorn is a safe and reliable choice.

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Featured Image Credit: Dairy Shorthorn Cattle, Shutterstock