The Estonian Red Cattle breed is used for milk production. A mix of the Angeln breed and the local Estonian cattle breed resulted in the breed you see today, starting in the middle of the 1800s. The reason for cross-breeding was to produce cattle with a higher yield of milk and also a higher fat content.

The result was seen in 1885 when the very Estonian Red Cattle were written into what is known as the herd book. The bulls weigh up to 2,000 pounds, and the cows top out at 1,200 in most cases. The Estonian Red Cattle breed is extremely popular all over Europe.hoof print divider

Quick Facts about the Estonian Red Cattle Breed

Breed Name:Estonian Red Cattle
Place of Origin:Estonia
Uses:Dairy, Meat
Bull (Male) Size:1,750 to 2,000 pounds
Cow (Female) Size:900 to 1,200 pounds
Color:Light to dark red
Lifespan:18 to 22 years
Climate Tolerance:Okay
Care Level:Moderate
Production:Milk Production, Meat

Estonian Red Cattle Breed Origins

The Estonian Red Cattle breed originated in Estonia as a cross-breed between the Angeln and the local Estonian cow breeds. Later on, Danish Red animals were used as well, which accounts for the light-to-dark red color of the breed. To improve this breed, breeding was done with the Angler, Danish Red, and North-Schleswig breeds.

In the past few years, a major breakthrough has been undertaken, with the results being in milk production. Some of these cows are producing over 3,000 gallons (10,000 kilograms) of milk yearly when the average cow only produces 2,000 gallons yearly.

Estonian Red Cattle Breed Characteristics

The Estonian Red Cattle breed is of medium stock and has a strong frame. Their color ranges from light to dark red, with the bulls being the darkest.

Protein yield has increased significantly due to breeding, and milk production is also at the top of its game.

Since this breed is most often found and bred in Estonia, it’s best suited for a climate with mild winters and rainy summers. This breed isn’t hard to care for, and if taken care of properly, will produce quite a bit of milk a year. As with any breed of animal, it’s best to know what you’re doing when you raise these cattle as well. The breed is also used for meat production.

This breed also accounts for over 63% of all cattle in Estonia.


Estonian Red Cattle is a multi-purpose breed herd of cattle. The breed is used for milk production and meat production as well. However, they are used primarily for milk production as the cows produce a high quantity of milk yearly, and the milk is said to be exceptionally good and nutritious.

Appearance & Varieties

The Estonian Red Cattle is a light red to dark red color. You can usually tell the bull of the breed because he’s darker than the cows. The cattle have medium-sized heads and a short forehead. Often, the chest of the breed is narrow, and their rump is wide. The legs of the Estonian Red Cattle breed are of a medium length and set right.

Their udders are of a medium size, and the skeletons of this breed or fairly strong. This is a strong breed of cattle and is perfect for milk production.


The habitat of the Estonian Red Cattle breed needs to be a climate with mild winters and rainy summers. The breed is raised in Estonia and Europe on one of 77 breeding farms. At last count, the population of the Estonian Red Cattle breed was 492,000, though, in the last 10 years, breeding has seen an uptick.

Are Estonian Red Cattle Breeds Good for Small-Scale Farming?

The Estonian Red Cattle breed might not be the best choice for small-scale farming since their cows can produce quite a bit of milk yearly. While they are moderately easy to take care of and can survive in a warmer climate, they aren’t the best choice for a farmer who just wants some milk from his cows.

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Final Thoughts

This concludes our blog on the Estonian Red Cattle breed. While they aren’t great for small-scale farming, the breed would be perfect for someone who is looking to move into greater milk production and meat.

Featured Image Credit: Clara Bastian, Shutterstock