Gir Cattle: Characteristics, Origin, Uses & Full Breed Information

The Gir cattle is a famous dairy cattle breed originating in India. It is one of the principal Zebu or Bos indicus breeds in India, and has been used locally in the improvement of other breeds.

The native tract of Gir cattle is Gir hills and forests of Kathiawar. Which includes Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Rajkot districts of Gujarat. The breed derives its name from the Gir forest, which is the natural habitat of the breed.

The breed is also known as some other names in different parts of their breeding tract. Such as Bhodali, Gujarati, Sorthi, Surti, Kathiawari and Desan.

Gir cattle is also very popular outside India. United States, Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil have imported this breed. And they are being bred successfully there. The breed was also one of the cattle breeds used in the development of the Brahman cattle in North America.

Gir Cattle Characteristics

Gir cattle is distinctive in appearance and a heavy breed. Their body is well proportioned and the udder in cows is well developed and round. Their body color is shining red to spotted white.

Although, their body color can vary from pure red to speckles, yellowish red to white with large red spots. Their skin is soft, thin and glossy. They have a big head with prominent bulging sheild and a long face.

The convex forehead of Gir cattle is the most unusual feature of this breed. Their convex forehead acts as a cooling radiator to the brain and pituitary gland. Their ears are very long and are an excellent fly and insect swatter.

Their eyes are hooded and black pigmented and there are lot of loose skin around their eye area. They have very hard feet which is black in color. The horns of Gir cattle are set well back on their heads and thick at the base.

Their horns grow downwards and backwards with an upward curve. They have large hump. The average body weight of Gir bull is about 545 kg and 385 kg for cows. Photo from Wikipedia.
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Gir cattle is a dairy cattle breed and mainly raised for milk production in India. But in some other countries, they are also raised for beef production. This breed has also been used locally in the improvement of some other breeds.

Special Notes

The Gir cattle is an important dairy cattle breed of India, and they are best known for their milking prowess. They are very hardy, and are famous for their tolerance to stress conditions and resistance to various tropical diseases.

Gir bulls are used for dragging heavy loads on all kinds of soil. They are very gentle and friendly in nature and love being with humans. They are very lovely and adore being scratched and brushed on their big dew laps, between the back legs and around the head.

The Gir cattle is very gregarious, and at night they form a circle very close together with their calves sleeping under their necks. It is a very popular dairy cattle breed in India.

And the average milk yield of a Gir cow is 1590 kg per lactation, with a record production of 3182 kg in India. The cows also perform very well outside India. In Brazil they produce an average of 3500 kg milk per lactation.

Average lifespan of Gir cattle is about 12-15 years. And a cow produce 10-12 calves during their lifespan. Review full breed profile of Gir cattle in the chart below.

Gir Cattle | Breed Profile

Breed Name Gir
Other Name Gyr, Bhodali, Gujarati, Sorthi, Surti, Kathiawari and Desan
Breed Purpose Mainly kept for milk production in India
Special Notes Hardy, Friendly, Lovely, Loves Being with Humans
Breed Size Heavy
Weight On average bulls about 545 kg and cows about 385 kg
Climate Tolerance All Climates
Skin Color Their body color is shining red to spotted white. Although, their body color can vary from pure red to speckles, yellowish red to white with large red spots.
Horned Yes
Milk Yield Good
Rarity Common
Varieties Many
Country of Origin India

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