Popular cattle show breeds

At cattle shows in Australia, you'll typically find various cattle breeds being exhibited. The choice of breeds often depends on the region, the specific show, and the preferences of individual breeders. We start with the key differences between showing beef and dairy cattle and then look at some popular show breeds.

Key Differences in Showing Beef vs. Dairy Cattle:

  1. Purpose: Beef cattle are primarily raised for meat production, so they are judged based on their conformation, muscling, and overall appearance. Dairy cattle are bred for milk production and are judged on their udder conformation, milk yield, and overall dairy characteristics.
  2. Conformation: Beef cattle are judged on their body structure, muscle development, and overall build. Dairy cattle are judged based on their udder quality, dairy frame, and femininity.
  3. Grooming: Both beef and dairy cattle require grooming, but the focus differs. Beef cattle need to look muscular and well-maintained, while dairy cattle require cleanliness and udder preparation.
  4. Temperament: Dairy cattle are generally more docile and accustomed to close human contact due to daily milking. Beef cattle may need more training to behave well in a show ring.
  5. Show Classes: Beef cattle are often categorized by age, weight, and breed. Dairy cattle classes are typically categorized by age and lactation stage.
  6. Judging Criteria: Beef cattle are judged on appearance, muscle, and structural correctness. Dairy cattle are judged on udder conformation, body condition, and milk production potential.

Main Beef Cattle Breeds:

  1. Angus: Angus cattle are known for their black color and marbled meat. They are prized for their meat quality and are popular in both beef production and showing.
  2. Hereford: Herefords are recognized by their red body with a white face and markings. They are known for their docile temperament and excellent meat quality.
  3. Limousin: Limousin cattle are muscular and have a reddish-brown coat. They are valued for their meat yield and quality.
  4. Charolais: Charolais are large, white cattle known for their meat production. They have a distinctive appearance with a broad body and a short, wide head.
  5. Simmental: Simmental cattle are large and have a reddish or yellow coat. They are versatile and are raised for both meat and milk production.
  6. Shorthorn: Shorthorn cattle come in red, white, or roan colors. They are known for their dual-purpose capabilities, producing both meat and milk.
  7. Brahman: Brahman cattle are distinctive due to their humps and loose skin. They are well-suited to hot climates and are raised for beef production.

Main Dairy Cattle Breeds:

  1. Holstein: Holsteins are the most common dairy breed and are known for their distinctive black and white coloration. They are prized for their high milk production.
  2. Jersey: Jersey cattle are smaller and typically light brown in color. They are valued for their rich milk, high butterfat content, and adaptability to various climates.
  3. Guernsey: Guernseys are reddish-brown with white markings. They produce milk with a rich butterfat and protein content.
  4. Ayrshire: Ayrshire cattle are medium-sized and have a red and white coat. They are known for their adaptability and ability to produce quality milk.


Success in showing either beef or dairy cattle requires dedication, knowledge of the breed standards, and proper preparation. Each type of cattle showing has its own unique set of challenges and rewards. If you have specific questions about showing your Highland cattle or other breeds at The Farmers Lot, feel free to ask for more detailed information.