What Cow Breeds Are Brindle?

There are many breeds of cattle that will amaze you with their strange and varied characteristics to a large extent. Brindle cattle is not a well-known type of cattle, and you may not find confirmed sources about the breeds and characteristics of this type of cattle.

We conducted our comprehensive research to bring you the most important information about brindle cattle. We hope you like it.

Brindle cattle is most popular in two cases which is Bó Riabhach  and Hybridization. Before we get into more details about each one of them, let’s first talk about what brindle cattle really is.

What Does Brindle Color Mean In Cows?

The term brindle in cattle refers to the coat coloration in cattle. Brindle cattle have a coat with black stripes on a red base coat. There are three basic colors for the coat of cattle, namely black, brown and red. The black gene is dominant over the other two genes, while the red gene is recessive to the other two.

What Cow Breeds Are Brindle?  

The brindle cattle appeared in two cases, which are the most famous for this trait in cattle. These cases are:

  • Bó Riabhach.
  • Hybridization.

Let’s dig deeper into each one of them:

Bó Riabhach 

The Bó Riabhach was  one of the greatest breeds in Ireland in a certain time, it was present in large numbers. Although there are no accurate records about its qualities and milk production, it has been reported that it was famous for its great milk production.

It was also famous for its strength and durability in terms of body build. The full-grown cows of this breed were 135-140 cm. It is mentioned in the history of Irish agriculture by Fergus Kelly in Early Irish Agriculture. It is also referred to as Inquisitorial in Middle Ireland (between 800 AD to 1200 AD).

But the number of Bó Riabhach continued to dwindle over the years to the point that they were on the verge of extinction by 2016. The matter was saved by a group of farmers who devoted their efforts to protect them from extinction. However, only very few numbers of Bó Riabhach remained in Ireland.

It was mentioned in some sources that it is between 40 and 50 spread among three or four breeders. In other sources it was reported to be between 60 and 70 owned by ten loyal breeders of all the country, in any case it is A paltry number, no doubt.[1]

Bó Riabhach enjoyed great prestige and was part of Irish heritage. It was frequently referred to in Irish folklore, and many stories were reported about it, the most famous of which is the story The Days of the brindle cow, that received multiple royalties.


Some refer to brindle cattle as a hybrid genetic trait that may appear when mating occurs between some strains. It is recorded that brindle cattle appeared when a reddish brown Beefmaster mated to an Angus/Hereford cross cow.

What Causes Brindle Appearance In Cattle?

The appearance of brindle color in cattle is caused by a complex gene process. But in a simplified way, the black stripes are produced from a substance called eumelanin, which is a black/brown pigment), while the base produces red from the substance pheomelanin, which is a red/yellow pigment.

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Doaa Salah
The shy one (too shy to put her photo) and the only girl in our team! Doaa is a veterinarian who is passionate about writing content. She knows a lot about animals and birds, as she has been studying them for many years now. Her goal? She is researching and learning to convey to you all the knowledge she have and what's new about farming.