Why dairy cows look the way they do.

Dairy farmers treat their cows with compassion and respect.  They are fed a menu specially formulated for their age and stage in life. With all this great care and food, you might wonder why dairy cows look thin in comparison to beef cows.

Dairy cows are raised for milk production and most of their energy goes to making fluid milk.

They are genetically predisposed to have lean and chiseled bodies like that of a dancer or marathon runner.  Their bodies are characterized by delicate, flat, bone structure.

Beef cows are raised for beef and their energy goes into making muscles for steaks, roasts and hamburgers.  They have burley, husky bodies like a football player or weight lifter.  Their shape is characterized by sturdy, round, bone structure.

Cows, like people, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes: Whether tall, short, large or small, our dairy cows are fit and healthy.




Delicate leg bone Round leg bone
B Long, lean neck Short, thick neck
C Prominent spine/backbone Spine/backbone not visible
D Angular body Round body
  • Dairy Farmers of Oregon Logo
  • © 2012 Dairy Farmers of Oregon.  All Rights Reserved.                Site Map