Icelandic Cattle: Characteristics & Breed Information

The Icelandic cattle are a dairy cattle breed from Iceland which are primarily raised for milk production. The breed was first brought to the island during the Settlement of Iceland a thousand years ago.

It has been genetically isolated for centuries, but it is most closely related to the cattle breeds in Norway called Nordland and Blacksided Trender cattle.

Currently the Icelandic cattle are found on the island of Iceland in the North Atlantic Ocean. They have been protected by strict disease-prevention measures as not cattle are permitted to be imported into Iceland.

Today total population of the Icelandic cattle counts only 75,000 including about 30,000 lactating cows. Read more information about the breed below.

Icelandic Cattle Characteristics

The Icelandic cattle are pretty smaller sized dairy cattle breed with a small sized body. About 95 percent of the animals are naturally polled. They are colorful animals with about 6 basic colors and more than 100 colors schemes.

Most common colors of the animals are red or red pied, brindle, brown and black or black pied.
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The cows have relatively large udders. Average live body weight of the cows is about 430 kg. And the bulls on average weight about 600 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


Icelandic cattle are a dairy cattle breed. They are raised mainly for milk production, but also good for meat production.

Special Notes

The Icelandic cattle are hardy and relatively smaller sized animals. The cows are very good milk producers.

And on an average, the cows can produce about 6000 kg of milk per year, and some good cows even produce more.

Milk of the Icelandic cows is of very good quality containing about 4.0 percent butterfat content and about 3.33 percent protein. The animals are relatively docile in temperament like most other dairy cattle breeds.

The breed is also pretty good for meat production. Review full breed profile of this breed in the following chart.

Icelandic Cattle | Breed Profile

Breed Name Icelandic
Other Name None
Breed Purpose Milk and also meat
Special Notes Good milkers, well adapted to local climates, docile
Breed Size Small to medium
Weight Bulls Around 600 kg
Cows Around 430 kg
Climate Tolerance Native climates
Coat Color Many. They are colorful animals with about 6 basic colors and more than 100 colors schemes
Horned No
Milk Yield Excellent
Rarity Common
Country/Place of Origin Iceland

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