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Zebu - miniature cattle

(Bos primigenius indicus)

Dwarf Zebu is the sub-breed of the domestic cattle that was interbred with the Zebu breed -originating from South Asia. Usually, they are red or grey. Zebu is recognisable by its fatty hump on the back, a large dewlap, and dropping ears. Nowadays, there are different breeds of Zebu cattle. Our region is inhabited by dwarf zebus. When they reach adulthood they can grow as tall as 90 cm. It is assumed that they are one of the oldest breeds in the world. They reach sexual maturity at the age of two and can adapt quickly to the environment. They can live in humid areas with high temperatures. This breed is highly resistant to many tropical diseases, parasites and, most importantly, ticks.


Nowadays, Zebus can also be found in Africa. Many years ago they were brought there from Asia. Their origins can be traced back to the island of Sri Lanka. They are breeding them in every single tropical country. Originally, this is a subbed of an Indian cattle. If the zebu is exposed to an arid environment and is running low on water, it can survive on the fat which is deposited in its hump.

The purpose of breeding

Old zebus haven´t got tasty meat nor milk. In India, old cattle are often used for ploughing or for pulling carts. The milk, that they produce, is only given to their calves. The period of gestation lasts for around nine months. In Europe and America, they breed them for decorative purposes.


Currently, zebus are inhabiting every single continent. The majority lives in India and Brazil where the largest commercial herd is made up of 155 million cattle. India has more than 270 million zebus, the USA on the other hand, has more than 2 million of them. The archaeological evidence points that zebus lived in South India in 6000 B. C.


Grass, twigs, leaves, grain…

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