When you drive down the road and see a herd of cows, you probably don’t realize that you’re also looking at a group of dollar signs walking around in the grass. Cows are very important for food and milk production, so we’re glad to have them. But did you know that each cow could be well over $1,000, and that’s on the cheap end? Today, we’ll talk about the most expensive types of cows in the world and discuss why they have that significant price tag.
What Makes These The Most Expensive Types of Cows in the World?
There are many reasons why a single cow can cost from $1,000 to well over $30,000. It could be that the type of cow is physically strong and able to be productive even in the winter months, or it could be that the cow is able to reproduce easier than others. Sometimes, it’s the type of beef that the cow produces. Whatever the case, the cost of cows is truly fascinating.
So, let’s jump into the most expensive types of cows in the world.
16. Belted Galloway Cows – Approximate Price – $1,000
Their scientific name is Bos taurus, but whatever you call them, you’re looking at a quality cow that won’t come cheap. While far from the priciest, Belted Galloway cows are still one of the most expensive types of cows in the world. They originate from Scotland, and they’re commonly used for beef production.
The breed was developed during the 18th and 19th centuries in order to create standardized cattle that could adapt to the rugged terrain and steep hills. The cow is also famous for its maternal ability and high-quality beef. You can recognize this cow by the white band around its midsection that separates either side of the rest of its body, which is black. Currently, you can typically find a Belted Galloway for $1,000, give or take.
15. Hereford Cows – Approximate Price – $1,500
Originally found in the English County of Herefordshire, the Hereford cows were the first to be recognized as a true breed. They’re highly sought after due to their physical strength and stature, as they are muscular and well-developed in the loin, back, and hindquarters. They fetch between $800-$1,500 because they provide good beef, and their ratio of weight gain and age to feed is higher than with other cows.
14. Maine-Anjou Cows – Approximate Price – $2,500
Coming from France, the Maine-Anjou cows also have the scientific name of Bos taurus. Similar to the Belted Galloway, this cow is often identified by the patches of white around its body, typically on its legs and underbelly. It’s a big cow too, often ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 pounds, so they’re sturdy and dependable animals. They are often considered to be gentle giants due to their passive nature. The Maine-Anjou variety is most commonly used for milk production. While the cow’s age and health status may be a factor, you’ll typically pay about $2,500 for this cow.
13. Shorthorn Cows – Approximate Price – $2,500
Also fetching about 2,500 each is the Shorthorn cow, which is another of the most expensive types of cows in the world. Their breed is native to Northeastern England, and they have been responsible for the creation of over 40 breeds worldwide. Shorthorn cows are usually around 85 pounds when born, which is large. This birthweight results in higher growth potential, which is one of the reasons for their higher price tag. Many carters also cross-breed because the babies are easier to handle and can bring in a profit. You can usually expect to pay about $2,500 for a Shorthorn cow.
12. Charolais Cows – Approximate Price – $2,700
This breed has roots back in northwestern France. Charolais cows typically are white in appearance, though there are black and red varieties. They get a decent cost because they’re reared for high-quality beef, and they have elevated growth rates. Farmers want to purchase them due to their all-purpose cross-breeding. Charolais cattle will fetch at least $2,700, though many of this breed have sold for a lot more.
11. Jersey Cows – Approximate Price – $3,000
The Jersey cows were common in the UK and France for many years, and today, they’re also common in the United States. This breed has many notable characteristics, including the fact that they produce a pound of milk at a lower cost as compared to other breeds. Their milk commands a premium price in many markets. Jersey milk is also healthier and more fulfilling. It typically contains 20% more calcium, 18% more protein, and 25% more butterfat. Jersey cows are also less susceptible to udder disorders and other health issues that other cows often experience. These are among the many reasons for the higher price tag.
10. Holstein Friesian Cows – Approximate Price – $3,000
This type of cow goes back to the 18th century, and they were developed by crossing the cattle brought into Holland and Friesland with Dutch castle breeds from Friesian. Fast forward, and you’ll see that the cows were then cross-bred in the 1970s with the Holstein cows, and the Holstein Friesian cows were the result. Holstein Friesian cows are quite large. They are grazing animals that are predominantly a dairy breed.
Some Holstein cows can be purchased for as low as $900, but they can cost as much as $3,000. They often have a large price tag because they provide milk and lean meat of superb quality. They’re also known for frequent calf yields and healthy male calves.
9. Simmental Cows – Approximate Price – $3,500
The Simmental breed of cows has been around. Though they originated in Switzerland, they have lived on six continents. They are a massive breed with large frames. Females typically weigh between 1,500 – 2,000 pounds, while bulls can get up to 2,800 pounds. Because of their large weight, they’re great dairy and meat producers. They’re also invaluable for cross-breeding, and they provide a better meal yield. You’ll typically expect to pay between $2,800 and $3,500 for Simmental cows.
8. Gelbvieh Cows – Approximate Price – $4,600
Hailing from Bavaria, Germany, the Gelbvieh breed (pronounced Gel-fee) are purebred male calves that are born of average weight. They are known for their pre-weaning growth rate comparable to other quality cows. The females are known to mature earlier and possess high milk yields and high fertility. They’re also famous for their large rib-eye muscles. Due to their quick growth rate, the cows are a great source of tender young beef. The USDA Meat Organization reports that they’re the only widely-used breed that is great for mild yield, calving ease, retail yield, and yearly growth combined. That’s why they can fetch close to $5,000.
7. Piedmontese Cows – Approximate Price – $5,000
These cows get their name because they hail from the region of Piedmont in northwest Italy. You might call these Super Cows because, due to a mutation of their Myostatin gene, they’re capable of unrestricted muscle development, often referred to as double-muscling. This makes their muscle development 14% higher than other breeds. In the end, the female cows will weigh around 1,200 – 1,300 pounds. The calves are born and weigh about 100 pounds.
The milk that these cows produce is used in the production of various cheeses. Many of the finest cheeses, from Bra to Tome to Castelmango, are made with Piedmontese cows. The breed will typically cost about $5,000, and a lot of that is also equated to the fact that the cows have a long lifespan, they mature early, they have high fertility rates, and they easily adapt to different climates. The high-quality beef they produce is low in fat and cholesterol.
6. Limousin Cows – Approximate Price – $6,000
The Limousin cows have been around for a long time. They were first introduced in Australia in 1971, and more recently, they have been in the U.S. Though the breed is intermediate in size, it’s known for its hardiness, easy calving, good milking qualities, and high-yielding carcasses with little fat. They are recognizable due to their rich, gold color and the lighter color of their legs. Limousin cows will fetch different prices, but they can be as much as $6,000.
5. Devon Cows – Approximate Price – $6,000
Originating from the United Kingdom, the Devon cows (scientific name: Bos taurus) are another of the most expensive types of cows in the world, and part of the big price hike is partly due to their strength and body appearance. The Devon variety made its way to the U.S. in the 1600s when the colonists landed at Plymouth Rock. Though technically, they’ve been around since 55 BC.
From that point, the owners realized that this cow had high fertility rates and the ability to thrive even during cold weather. That’s because they have a thick coat of red hair that gets longer during the winter months, so they can continue to thrive. The cows also feature a solid bone structure, stocky appearance, and many muscles that make them very dependable. That’s why you can expect to pay between $5,800 – $6,000.
4. Longhorn Cows – Approximate Price – $10,000
Then we have the longhorn cow that originally hails from Spain and has the scientific name Bos taurus. The difference between the longhorn and many other cows on this list is that the longhorn is typically purchased as a show animal. You’ll often see them competing in events like the Horn Showcase, which is held in Texas. The longhorn is very impressive because of its physical attributes, the fact that it can weigh over 1,000 pounds, and its majestic horns. The longhorn cows were introduced in the U.S. when the Spanish explorers came over and left them behind. Because of the awards they could win, longhorn cows can typically go for close to $10,000.
3. Black Angus Cows – Approximate Price – $12,000
The Black Angus cow comes to us from Scotland, and as anyone who has frequented a good steakhouse will likely know, it’s typically used for delicious beef production. This breed (scientific name Bos taurus), has its roots back to 12th-century Scotland and made its way to America around the 1880s.
A Black Angus cow can typically go for around $10,000 each, and that’s because they can be used for so much more than just producing meat. When this cow is slaughtered, 98% of its body is used for numerous products:
- Collagen from the skin is used during plastic surgery procedures.
- The cow’s fat is refined and then used in body creams.
- The skin, cartilage, and tendons are turned into gelatin, which is a component of jello and other foods.
- Components of the cow are made into insulin for those with diabetes.
Of course, the most important part is the beef, and buyers are willing to pay a lot due to the profit they can make later on.
2. Brahman Cows – Approximate Price – $20,000
The Brahman cows have the scientific name “Bos indicus cattle,” and they hail from both India and the United States. It’s commonly bred and used for beef production and breeding. This is also one of the more interesting looking cows, with their white appearance, large humps, and huge ears. The Brahman cow is mostly used for meat and dairy production and some breeding needs. A Brahman cow will typically cost around $20,000 because it’s considered to be a specialty breed. Part of that is related to the fact that Brahman cows have a higher pedigree, according to the American Brahman organization.
1. Wagyu Cows – Approximate Price – $30,000
Steakhouse aficionados will also understand why the Wagyu cows are the most expensive type of cow in the world. Their meat is among some of the most delicious and highly sought-after in the world. This cow originally hails from Japan. Wagyu is often considered to be delicious because it has a lot of marbled fat, which makes it very tender and juicy.
Although we’re glad they exist, Wagyu cows don’t have the most exciting lives. They’re intentionally raised in small pens so that they’re unable to move a lot. The reason is that the lack of movement helps farmers to control their meat development. During that time, the farmers feed the cows a strict diet to help with the fat marbling. It’s a fattening diet that makes the cow approximately 50% fat by the time it’s slaughtered. The cows don’t leave their pens until they’re sold.
Although you would typically pay around $30,000 for a Wagyu cow, the highest price paid on record was $400,000 in Australia. It was the record-setting price for the most expensive beef animal on record.
These are the 16 most expensive types of cows in the world, and as you can see, they all have their unique and valuable characteristics. If you’re looking for a new way to raise money and you’re passionate about animals, then buying and raising cows may be for you. In the meantime, read online to learn more about these wonderful breeds.
Summary of the Most Expensive Cows