Texas Living

Home on the Range: How to Identify Cow Breeds in Texas

By Susannah Hutcheson 5.10.21

Texans love cows — it’s just the truth. In fact, Texas continually ranks No. 1 in the nation for cattle and calf inventory, hosting almost 15% of the United States’ cattle population within its borders. But, as any road-tripping Texan knows, the cattle you see grazing off the highway in West Texas aren’t always the same as the cattle chowing down on grass in South Texas.

Here’s your guide to the most common cow breeds in Texas, from the Angus to the eponymous Texas longhorn.

Texas Longhorn

When imagining a Texas cow, the first breed that often springs to mind is the iconic Texas longhorn. Instantly recognizable by their horns that can span up to 100 inches, you’ll find Texas longhorn herds across the state — though their permanent Texas home sits at the Fort Griffin State Historic Site.

Brahman cow breeds in Texas


Brahman cattle originated in India but were brought to Texas in the mid-1800s. You’ll recognize them by the characteristic hump over their red or gray shoulders. While most cow breeds in Texas seek shade during hot days, Brahman are usually grazing out in the sun.

Santa Gertrudis cow breeds in Texas

Santa Gertrudis

Native to the state, the Santa Gertrudis are bred on the renowned King Ranch in South Texas. They’re crossbreeds of Shorthorn cows and Brahman bulls, made to be heavy and hardy and withstand the hot Texas sun. You can recognize Santa Gertrudis herds by their enormous size (they can weigh up to 2,000 pounds!), low-hanging torsos, and red-brown hides. 

Angus cow breeds in Texas


Anguses are some of the most common cows you’ll see in Texas’ ranges and fields. One of the larger breeds, an Angus is recognizable by its completely solid black or red hide; thick, smooth muscle; and lack of horns.

Hereford cow breeds in Texas


One of the most common types of cattle in the state, Herefords have lived in Texas since the 1800s. Their faces, hooves, bellies, and feathery neck hairs are white, and the rest of their bodies are auburn-red. Some may have short, thick horns.

Interested in learning more about cows in Texas? Read this story about Cupid, the record-breaking Hereford steer.

© 2021 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance