The Santa Cruz cattle breed was created by King Ranch, which was trying to make a more acceptable beef animal that could survive in unfavorable environments. This breed was made with Santa Gertrudis, Red Angus, and Gelbvieh.

These cows aren’t especially popular today because they are so new. They are not that widespread yet.

Some of these cows have horns, and some do not. As a mixed breed, this cow does vary somewhat, though they have become standardized over the last few years.

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Quick Facts About the Santa Cruz Cattle Breed

Santa Gertrudis
Image Credit: cctm, Shutterstock
Breed Name:Santa Cruz
Place of Origin:USA
Bull Size:1,800–2,000
Cow Size:1,100–1,200
Climate Tolerance:High
Care Level:Low

Santa Cruz Cattle Origins

This cow was developed by the King Ranch, which was trying to make a cow that could withstand the Texas climate. This cow was also designed to taste good to today’s consumers.

This breed was developed after more than a decade of intensive research with breeding specialists. To accomplish this new cow, Santa Gertrudis cows were crossed with Red Angus and Gelbvieh bulls. This mix was then continuously bred following a rigorous selection process.

Today, these cows are still raised at King Ranch and continue to be improved today.


The Santa Cruz cattle have been carefully bred from a limited number of cows. Therefore, they often have excellent conformation. They are usually light red or honey in color, lighter than the Santa Gertrudis cherry red. They can be horned or polled.

They are known for their great fertility and mothering abilities. They are prolific when it comes to carrying and raising their young. Calves get big quickly and are adaptable to various environments.

This breed was primarily created to withstand the heat and harsh climate of South Texas. Therefore, they are adaptable to many environments and are known for their hardiness.

These cows also provide high-quality carcasses and have lean, high-quality beef. In fact, this is primarily why they were bred.

This breed also reaches sexual maturity at around 1 year old. Therefore, they are able to breed at a relatively early age.

Santa Gertrudis cattle
Image Credit: Celso Margraf, Shutterstock


Primarily, these are meat cattle. They were bred to combine excellent beef with hardiness, enabling the cows to be raised in southern Texas. As the consumer’s taste for beef shifted, this breed of cow was produced to match the demand.

Therefore, they are generally considered to produce high-quality meat. Their beef is lean and marbled, which is exactly what many consumers look for.

Appearance & Varieties

These cows are light red and get quite large. There aren’t any different varieties, as the breed is not old enough yet. Since they are a mixed breed, they are closely related to a few other breeds, though.

For this reason, you may notice similarities to other types of cows, but this doesn’t mean they are simply a different variety of those other breeds.


This type of cow is spread out throughout America. They are mostly in southern Texas and places with similar climates. They are a hardy breed, so they do well in many different areas.

They are still being bred and improved at King Ranch.

new hoof divider Are Santa Cruz Cattle Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Though it is not their primary purpose, as they are more utilized for large-scale production, these cows can be used for small-scale farming. In fact, if you live in a rough climate, they may be your best option. They are hardy to hot conditions, like those found in Texas. They will be easier to care for than most other cows.

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Featured Image Credit: Celso Margraf, Shutterstock