The popularity of miniature cattle is on the rise due to their compatibility with small acreage farms. Miniature breeds were created by "breeding down" or selecting the smallest stock from established breeds like Angus and Hereford. Many miniature breeds were created in the last 2 decades by crossing Dexters with other breeds, to create color variations and breed types that fulfill a range of purposes in the miniature cattle world.
As with full size cattle, miniature breeds commonly have registries formed by networks of breeders, and these organizations maintain the pedigree records and promote the individual breed.
Miniature cattle are typically between 36-46 inches (90–120 cm) in height (cow and bulls). There are also breeds, such as Shetland, that are small but perhaps not quite miniature. There has been a recent increase in the breeding and popularity of miniature cattle due to their economic benefits. A person's choice in breeds is often based on the suitability for the climate, terrain, the purpose of the animal (pet, milk, beef, draft-work) and just personal preference based on the aesthetic qualities of the breed. Some of the older breeds represent a unique gene pool that is being lost through specialization of commercial cattle, and this also creates a market among genetic preservationists.
The following are examples of miniature breeds that have individual breed organizations.
There are also 26 breeds of miniature cattle recognized by the International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society and Registry, a private company dedicated to the recording of miniature cattle.
- American Beltie ("Mini-Cookie")
- Australian Kyrhet
- Miniature Angus
- Belmont (Irish Jersey)
- Black Baldie
- Belted Milking Dexter
- Four Breed Grad-Wohl
- Five Breed Grad-Wohl
- Happy Mountain
- Lessor Jersey
- Belted Lessor Jersey
- Red Kentshire
- Miniature Texas Longhorn
- Open Breeds
- American Livestock Breeds Conservancy - Links
- Welcome to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust | RBST
- Dexter Cattle Society New Zealand
- Dexter Cattle Society Website
- American Lowline Registry
- Australian Lowline Cattle Association
- Welcome to MHBA Online!
- American Miniature Jersey Association
- International Miniature Zebu Association (IMZA)
- International Miniature Cattle Breeds Registry, INC