Kangayam cattle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Conservation status
Other names
  • Kangeyam
  • Kanganad
  • Kongu
  • Cangaian (in Brazil)
Country of originIndia
  • Male:
    523 kg[2]
  • Female:
    341 kg[2]
  • Male:
    140 cm[2]
  • Female:
    125 cm[2]
Coatgrey, darker in bulls
Horn statushorned
  • Cattle
  • Bos (primigenius) indicus

The Kangayam or Kangeyam is an Indian breed of draught cattle from the state of Tamil Nadu, in South India.[3]: 211  Its area of origin is Kongu Nadu, the region surrounding Coimbatore, close to the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala,[4][5]: 214  but it is distributed over a considerably wider area.[6]: 410  The breed name derives from that of the town of Kangeyam.[7] It may also be called Kanganad or Kongu.[2]


Kangeyam Heritage Cow in 'korangadu' dry-grass land, Kangeyam region

The Kangayam is a traditional draught breed of Tamil Nadu. It is not closely related to the other draught breed of the state, the Umblachery, but may have some influence from the Ongole.[5]: 214 [3]: 211  Its area of origin is the Kongu Nadu region, the western districts of Tamilnadu surrounding Coimbatore, close to the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala,[8][5]: 214  but it is distributed over a considerably wider area;[6]: 410  the name of the breed derives from that of the town of Kangeyam in Tiruppur District.[7]

Nallathambi Sarkarai Mandradiyar, a pattakkaarar from Palayakottai village in the present-day Tiruppur district was responsible for shaping the present-day Kangayam bull. In the 1920s this family had involved in the selective breeding of this cattle, without altering the purpose to increase its charm and beauty.[9][4]

Before Independence of India, the erstwhile Government of Madras took steps to popularise this breed. In 1942, ‘Kangayam Cattle Improvement Scheme’ was implemented by Imperial Council for Agricultural Research. After Independence, with the help of Five Year Plans, the breeding and adjoining tracts of Kangayams were improved.[4]

In 1940s, the population of the breed was around 3400 000, reduced to 479000 in 1979 and 242 000 in 2003.[5]: 214  In 2022 a total population of between 127500 and 152500 head was reported to DAD-IS.[2]

It has been exported to Brazil, where it is called the Cangaian.[10]


Kangayam cattle are valued for their moderate size, robust nature, and impressive athleticism, making them highly sought-after as draft animals. The breed's cows are generally not known for their milk production capabilities, but for other purposes.[11][12]

Body Traits[edit]

The Kangayam is of medium size, with a height at the withers of some 125–140 cm and a body weight of 340–525 kg;[2] two body types are described, a larger and a smaller.[5]: 214  [11]

With a thick and short neck, a short and broad back, and well-sprung ribs, the Kangayam breed displays a compact body structure. The quarters have a subtle droop, while the dewlap extends only up to the sternum, remaining thin. The sheath is neatly tucked against the body, and although the hump in bulls is well-developed, it retains a firm appearance. The breed's hair is fine and short, and the skin possesses a dark pigmentation and a delicate texture. A moderately long tail, featuring a black switch that extends well below the hocks, completes the breed's physical traits.[11][13]

The two variations of this breed exhibit remarkable strength and agility, boasting compact bodies and sturdy, short legs with robust hooves. In the smaller variety, the horns are positioned relatively straight, with a slight backward curve. Conversely, the larger variety showcases longer horns that curve outward and backward, nearly forming a complete circle as they approach the tips. The breed's head is proportionate to its body, featuring a modest size and a straighter profile compared to most Mysore-type cattle. The erect and pointed ears are small in size, while the eyes, adorned with black rings, are prominent and dark.[11]

Food habits[edit]

Korangaadu, a Kongu Tamil word for dry-grass silvi-pasture land is most suitable landscape for this breed.[14] The staple food of this breed that grow in this region are Kollukattaipul (Cenchrus ciliaris), Vennampul (Trachys muricata), Ottampul (Setaria verticillata) and legumes such as Naripayathan Kodi (Phaseolus trilobus). The pods that fall from the Vellai Velan tree (Acacia leucophloea) are the supplementary fodder.[4]

Poochi Kaalai (a stud bull) is selected on the basis of its height, the length of its legs, and the formation of its hump. When the bulls attain a moderate level of dentition around three years of age, they are left to cover the heifers to get the best offspring. The cows usually calve 12 times in their lifecycle.[4]


The calves are red when born, but change to grey by the age of two; cows are grey or dark grey, bulls are darker and may be black on the head and foreparts. The colour of cows and oxen fades as they age, and cows may become completely white.[5]: 214 

Kangayam cattle primarily exhibit gray or white coloration. Male individuals typically display a gray hue with black or dark gray patches on the head, neck, hump, and quarters. On the other hand, cows predominantly possess white and gray coats, often adorned with distinct markings on the knees and above the fetlocks of all four legs. Calves exhibit shades of light or dark brown, with gray or white areas on the inner thighs, ears, and forelegs. Occasionally, gray or white rings can be observed on the pasterns and fetlocks. As heifers reach two years of age, they transition to a gray or dark gray color, which persists into maturity. However, as the animals age beyond maturity, their color fades, eventually turning white. Male calves gradually become dark gray or iron gray, with intensified black shading on the head, neck, hump, dewlap, forequarters, and hindquarters. Castrated males, however, exhibit a gradual fading of this coloration.[11]


Statue of Kangeyam Bull in Coimbatore International Airport

The Kangayam was one of the two principal draught breeds used in Tamil Nadu, the other being the Hallikar. The cows give little milk: annual yield is in the range 342–1455 kg, with an average of 540 kg; the fat content is approximately 3.9%.[5]: 214 

Being a excellent draught breed, this breed cows and bulls are widely used to operate Yetram, a manual method in which a scoop-like pouch, made of leather or rubber, was used to lift and pour the water from the wells. The animals moves front and back to lift water from the well using the pouch that hangs on a rope.[4]

Bulls are used in traditional bull races, as are Hallikar and Ongole bulls.[5]: 214  They are mostly used in traditional sport of Rekla race in Kongu Nadu because of their strong thigh muscles and also rarely in the sport of Jallikattu.[7][15][4]


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, Dafydd Pilling (editors) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, an annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Archived 23 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Breed datasheet: Kangayam / India (Cattle). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed January 2021.
  3. ^ a b N.R. Joshi, Ralph W. Phillips (1953). Zebu Cattle of India and Pakistan. FAO Agriculture Studies No. 19. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Kangayam cattle: freighted with history and pride of Kongu Nadu". The Hindu. 29 September 2022. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
  6. ^ a b Marleen Felius (1995). Cattle Breeds: An Encyclopedia. Doetinchem, Netherlands: Misset. ISBN 9789054390176.
  7. ^ a b c Animal Husbandry: Kangayam Cattle. Tiruppur District Administration. Accessed June 2022.
  8. ^ "Kangayam cattle: freighted with history and pride of Kongu Nadu". The Hindu. 29 September 2022. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  9. ^ "Home". kangayambull.org. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  10. ^ Breed data sheet: Cangaian / Brazil (Cattle). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed January 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Kangayam Cattle - Oklahoma State University". breeds.okstate.edu. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  12. ^ Animal husbandry, Tiruppur district. "Kangeyam Bull - Tiruppur district". Tiruppur district official.
  13. ^ "Kangeyam Bull". dairyknowledge encyclopedia.
  14. ^ "Kangayam cattle: freighted with history and pride of Kongu Nadu". The Hindu. 29 September 2022. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  15. ^ L. Rajagopal (14 January 2018). Tamil Nadu: Bull dose Jallikattu revives Kangeyam popularity. New Indian Express. Accessed June 2022.