Breed Profile: Highland Cows

Charming Companions with Unique Qualities

Imagine a world where cows come in picturesque packages, boasting perhaps the most cuteness and charm of any farmyard creature. Interest in heritage breeds of cattle has exploded over the past few years due to their compact size, milk and meat capabilities and smaller space requirements.

In this article, we explore one of the most sought-after heritage cattle breeds in the world, the Highland Cow! However, before we begin, we must note that "mini-Highland cows" actually don’t exist. Highland Cattle may be more compact than other dairy cows or meat cows, but they are incorrectly deemed "mini."

beautiful highland cow
Photo: @happyhensandhighlands




For the purpose of this article, we will refer to what most people know as mini fluffy cows as their proper nomenclature, "Highland Cows."

Highland cows, aka Scottish Highland cattle, have taken the world by storm with their incredible appearance, long hair and big personalities. Join us as we dive into the delightful world of Highland Cattle, exploring their size, costs, practical uses, and even their potential as pets.

Featuring images from Happy Hens & Highlands, one of the most amazing Highland Cattle Instagram accounts we've ever seen!

baby highland cow
Photo: @happyhensandhighlands




How Much Do Highland Cows Cost?

Highland Cattle are a unique addition to your farm or property. Before diving into this adorable endeavor, it's essential to understand the cost involved.

These bovine marvels, with their distinctive appearance, can vary in price depending on factors like lineage, size, and coat color. Prices can vary from a few thousand dollars upwards to tens of thousands due to their recent surge in popularity.

Remember, investing in these charismatic creatures comes with responsibilities that go beyond their price tag. For example, all cattle require adequate space, feed, fencing and veterinary care. Don't forget that all breeds of cattle are herd animals and require bovine companionship as well. They do poorly without a friend of the same species. 

And make room for treats as Manna Pro just released a new line of Farmhouse Favorites treats for cows.


How Big Do Highland Cows Get?

On average, these fluffy cows stand around 4 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh on average about 1200 - 1300 pounds. Some will be several hundred pounds smaller and others will tip the scale at over 1800. 

running highland cow
Photo: @happyhensandhighlands



What Are Highland Cows Good For?

Highland cows may be adorable, but they're not just eye candy. They have a practical side too! While they might not be suitable for large-scale meat production like commercial cattle breeds, they have a range of uses.

Their gentle temperament and manageable size make them excellent companions for small farms, petting zoos, and hobby farms. Additionally, they're great for pasture maintenance, as their grazing habits can help control unwanted vegetation.


Do Highland Cows Produce Milk?

The appeal of Highland cows goes beyond their looks. However, when it comes to milk production, it is limited compared to dairy cattle. Originally a dual purpose breed, they have not been selected over the generations for heavy milk production. Although many individual cows may be suitable for personal use rather than commercial dairy operations.

But hey, there's nothing like having your own source of fresh milk, even if it's in smaller quantities.

highland cow eating grass
Photo: @happyhensandhighlands



Highland Cow Size: A Closer Look

Highland cows are captivating in a number of ways, from those adorable, fuzzy babies to the elegant mature cow. Their beautiful profiles, including those sweeping, majestic horns are complemented by trademark shaggy coats that come in various colors, including red, black, yellow, and brindle.

These coats aren't just for show; they help these hardy creatures stay comfortable in a range of climates, from the chilly Highlands to more temperate regions.


Highland Cow Lifespan: What to Expect

If you're considering welcoming a Highland cow into your life, it's essential to understand the commitment involved. These endearing creatures have an average lifespan of around 15 to 20 years. This means that adopting one is a commitment that requires proper care, attention, and resources to ensure they live a happy and healthy life.

highland cow and calf
Photo: @happyhensandhighlands




Highland Cow Full Grown: Adorable Adulthood

As Highland cows mature, they develop into the charming adults they're meant to be. Their gentle disposition makes them great for interactions with people, especially if they've been properly socialized from a young age.

Just like with any animal, their personalities can vary, but many Highland cows are known for their friendly nature and the joy they bring to those around them.


Highland Cow Babies: A Bundle of Joy

Is there anything more heartwarming than a Highland cow calf? These little ones, often referred to as "mini moo-moos," are a sight to behold. Their small size and playful antics make them a source of endless delight, but remember - they do grow up.

Caring for a Highland calf requires attention to their nutritional needs, health, and growth, setting the foundation for a healthy and happy adulthood. Newborn calves should never be separated from their mother and hand raised as bottle babies unless it is absolutely necessary for the health or life of the mother or calf. Bottle-raised calves of any breed are prone to behavioral problems making them very difficult to manage and potentially dangerous (particularly bulls) as they mature.

baby highland cow with dog
Photo: @happyhensandhighlands




Highland Cow as a Pet: Things to Consider

The idea of having a Highland cow as a pet might be intriguing, but it's crucial to approach this decision thoughtfully. While they can make wonderful companions, they require space, proper care, and attention to their unique needs.

Their friendly disposition and manageable size can make them excellent additions to farmsteads with the right resources and commitment.


The Purpose of Highland Cows: Beyond the Aww Factor

Highland cows offer more than just an opportunity to coo over their cuteness. They have a genuine purpose that goes beyond their aesthetics. Whether they're providing companionship on a small farm, assisting with vegetation control, or simply being a source of joy, these amazing cows remind us that even the smallest creatures can have a big impact. And they do produce excellent beef.


Final Thoughts

In the world of livestock, Highland cows stand out as charming and unique characters. From their manageable size and distinctive appearance to their practical uses and potential as pets, these beautiful cows capture the hearts of those lucky enough to encounter them.

As you delve into the captivating world of Highland Cattle, remember that their appeal goes beyond their fluffy coats – they embody the magic of nature's diversity in unexpected ways.