Gir Cattle: Characteristics, Origin, Uses

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.

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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.


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.

Breed NameGir
Other NameGyr, Bhodali, Gujarati, Sorthi, Surti, Kathiawari and Desan
Breed PurposeMainly kept for milk production in India
Special NotesHardy, Friendly, Lovely, Loves Being with Humans
Breed SizeHeavy
WeightOn average bulls about 545 kg and cows about 385 kg
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Skin ColorTheir 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.
Milk YieldGood
Country of OriginIndia

Frequently Asked Questions

People ask many questions about Gir cattle. Here we are trying to list the most common questions about this excellent cattle breed and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

How do you identify a Gir cow?

Identifying a Gir cow is relatively easy and simple. Because, the Gir cows have distinctive appearance. They generally have a rounded and domed forehead (being the only ultraconvex breed in the world), long pendulous ears and horns which spiral out and back. Gir are generally mottled with the color ranging from red through yellow to white, black being the only unacceptable color.

Why is it called a Gir cow?

The Gir cows were named after the Gir forest in Gujarat (the geographical area of origin of the breed).

How many Gir cows are in India?

The breed is mainly found in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and near by states like Rajasthan and Maharashtra. It’s very difficult to tell the exact number of these cattle in India. Current population of the Gir cattle in Saurasthra region is around one million (more than nine lakhs).

How is Gir cow milk?

Milk of Gir cow is of very high quality. The milk is full of potassium, calcium, phosphorus and good fats which help stabilize blood pressure. The milk from these cows is light on the stomach. And the CLA present in the Gir cow milk also helps to reduce bad cholesterol and keep the hearth health in check.

Why Gir cow milk is costly?

Milk form these cow is of very high quality containing good amount of potassium, calcium, phosphorus and good fats. Thats why it is costly than most other milk.

Does Gir cow gives A2 milk?

Yes, Gir cows produces A2 milk and their milk is rich in Carotene, Vitamin A and vitamin E.

Why Gir cow milk is white?

Milk is naturally a white substance due to the make-up of water and other components including fat and protein that mix together to form tiny particles which reflect light.

How much Gir cow give milk per day?

Exact amount of milk production can vary from cow to cow. But generally, average milk production of the Gir cow is around 4-5 kg daily.

How many years does a Gir cow give milk?

Average lifespan of the Gir cows is between 12 and 15 years, and they can produce 6-10 calves in their life. After calving the animal gives milk for about 310 days. In a year, a cow gives milk for about 10 months.

Does Gir cow urine contain gold?

The analysis of urine samples of 400 Gir cows done at the Food Testing Laboratory of JAU showed traces of gold ranging from three mg to 10 mg from one liter urine. The precious metal was found in ionic form, which is gold salts soluble in water.

Why Gir cow ghee is yellow?

The color yellow comes from the fact that the cow’s milk fat contains a pigment called the Beta-carotene, the carotenoid which is a precursor of vitamin-A.

What is the cost of Gir cow?

Exact price of a Gir cow depends on numerous factors such as age, milk production, lactation status and also pregnancy status. Generally, price of the a Gir cow can vary from 1 lakh to 2 lakhs rupees.

What is difference between Gir cow and normal cow?

The main difference between Gir cow and other cows begins with the type of milk. Generally, other breed cows produce A1 milk whereas native breed cows like Gir produce A2 milk.

Is Gir cow farming profitable?

Milk of Gir cow is sold at high prices in the market. So, commercial Gir cow farming will be very profitable.

Is Gir cow hybrid?

No, Gir cow is a pure Indian cattle breed.

What do Gir cows eat?

Gir cows are to be fed with Jowar, Bajra-straw, dry fodder, cotton seed cake, soya husk, jaggery etc. Also vegetables like carrot, drumstick & beet-root can be fed to the cows.

Which cow is costly in India?

Gir cow is costly in India.

How many calves can a Gir cow have in a lifetime?

Average lifespan of a Gir cow is between 12 and 15 years. And a cow can give birth to 6-10 calves during her lifetime.

Why Gir cow is special?

The Gir cow is very known for it’s milk producing qualities and is often bred with Friesian cows to make the Girolando breed. The Gir is distinctive in appearance, typically having a rounded and domed forehead (being the only ultra-convex breed in the world), long pendulous ears and horns which spiral out and back.

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