Ayrshire cattle

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An Ayrshire calf
Country of origin Scotland
Distribution World-wide, mainly temperate climates
Use Dairy, with exceptional foraging ability
Weight Male: 635 to 900 kilograms (1,400–1,984 lb)
  Female: 450 to 600 kilograms (990–1,320 lb)
Coat Red and white
Horn status Horned
Bos (primigenius) taurus

Ayrshire cattle /ˈɛərʃər/ are a breed of dairy cattle originating from Ayrshire in south west Scotland. The average mature Ayrshire cow weighs 450 to 600 kilograms (990–1,320 lb). Ayrshires typically have red and white markings, although the red can range from a shade of orange to a dark brown. They are known for their ability to convert grass into milk efficiently and their hardiness. The breed's strong points are the now desired traits of easy calving and longevity.

The breed was traditionally known as Dunlop cattle or Cunninghame cattle, after the town of Dunlop and the district of Cunninghame, both in Ayrshire. They were exported to all parts of the world and extensive cattle docks used to exist at Cunninghamhead station for loading and export purposes.


Ayrshires are medium-sized cattle weighing over 1,200 pounds (550 kg) at maturity. They are strong, rugged cattle that adapt to all management systems including group handling on dairy farms with free stalls and milking parlours. Ayrshires excel in udder conformation and are not subject to excessive foot and leg problems. These traits make Ayrshires outstanding commercial dairy cattle. Other traits that make Ayrshires attractive to the commercial dairyman include the vigour of Ayrshire calves. They are strong and easy to raise. The Ayrshire is a moderate butterfat breed and relatively high protein breed. The actual average of all Ayrshires on official Ayrshire Breeder's Association programs in 2002 is 17,230 pounds (7 815 kg) of milk with 665 pounds (300 kg) of fat and 542 pounds (246 kg) of protein.

Ayrshires (especially the ones from Finland) are also crossed with Holstein cattle in order to improve the Holstein's hardiness and fertility.[1]


Ayrshires are found in most parts of the world. Ayrshires in Southern Africa are used for the company Woolworths, which replaced Simmental Cattle in 1988. In New Zealand, they are still called Dunlop Cattle. There are some Ayrshires in the Drakensberg and the Transvaal. Ayrshires are also widely farmed in Australia. There are some Ayrshires in the tropics, such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and parts of Africa. There are also Ayrshires in Scotland and Finland.

As mascots[edit]

Most Ayrshire mascots are cartoons and plush toys, the mascot of the New Zealand company called Calci-yum, in one picture, she is standing on the tracks next to an NZR Ab class.

There is another one from South Africa, a cartoon Ayrshire drinking milk, mainly in the flavoured milks.


  1. ^ "Breeds of Livestock - Ayrshire Cattle". Ansi.okstate.edu. 2001-01-05. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 

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