Irish Moiled Cattle

The Irish Moiled cattle are a dual-purpose breed of cattle from Ireland which are raised for both milk and meat production. It is a rare breed of cattle originated in County Leitrim, County Sligo, and County Donegal.

But currently the breed is found throughout Ireland. The breed is one of the oldest breed of cattle in Ireland, and it has earned the reputation as a truly dual purpose breed.

It was traditionally a dairy cattle breed, but now good for producing both milk and high quality beef from poor quality grazing. The Irish Moiled cows have been very successful in proportion to it’s numbers in open competition with other breeds in the milk recording contests.

The breed was named from the term ‘Maol’. The term ‘Maol’ is Gaelic and references to the dome and the fact that these cattle do not have horns.

The breed declined in numbers in the twentieth century as it was superseded by new more specialized cattle breeds.

The decline of their total population was so dramatic that the number had been reduced to less than 30 cows by the 1970s. And those 30 cows were maintained by two breeders (David Swan of Dunsilly and James Nelson of Maymore) in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Moiled Cattle Society was formed in 1926 to develop and improve the breed. And the Society was revived with the encouragement of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 1982.

Currently there are approximately 140 members of the Irish Moiled Cattle Society with over forty breeders on the mainland of Great Britain and the other being in Northern Ireland and the South of Ireland. Read more information about the breed below.

Table of Contents

Irish Moiled Cattle Characteristics

The Irish Moiled cattle are average sized animals. They are usually red in color with white areas along the back and underside, and flecked faces. They are polled cattle, that means they don’t have horns. They have quite a prominent dome on their foreheads.

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The mature cows on average weight around 650 kg. And average live body weight of the mature bulls is around 800 kg. Photo from PetMapz and info from Wikipedia.


Irish Moiled cattle are dual-purpose animals. They are used for both milk and meat production.

Special Notes

The Irish Moiled cattle are generally of docile temperament and they are very easy to handle. The cows are very fertile and can produce a calf every 12 months if kept in good health and body condition.

The cows are very good milkers also, and they can produce up to 5000 kg of milk per lactation. The breed is also very good for meat production. Their meat is of superb quality with a distinctive flavor.

The breed is known for producing high quality beef in poor conditions, but they need care for protecting them from becoming overweight and making the beef too fatty.

Irish Moiled cattle are excellent grazers. And they are ideal for grazing, as they leave the stubs of grass in the ground in order for that grass to grow back more rapidly. Review full breed profile of the Irish Moiled cattle in the following chart.

Breed NameIrish Moiled
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMilk, meat
Special NotesGood milkers, well adapted to local climates, high quality beef, relatively docile temperament
Breed SizeMedium
BullsAround 800 kg
CowsAround 650 kg
Climate ToleranceNative climates
Coat ColorRed with a white line on the back and stomach
Milk YieldGood
Country/Place of OriginIreland

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