South Devon Cattle

The South Devon cattle are an excellent breed of cattle from England, which are raised for both milk and meat production. The breed originate from the counties of Cornwall and Devon in Southwest England.

They have been a distinct breed of cattle since the 16th century. The breed is the largest of the British native cattle breeds, but are not related to Devon cattle which are also from England.

The South Devon cattle are believed to have descended from the large red cattle of Normandy. The large red cattle of Normandy were imported during the Norman invasion of England. Over 100 years of selection for performance have given the South Devon cattle their outstanding qualities of beef and maternal characteristics.

By the year 1800, it had been established as a breed. The breed was considered as a dual purpose animal during the early years of 20th century. And since the 1960s the breed has been used as a purely beef breed. But recently, there have been attempts to re-introduce the South Devon cattle breed into dairy farming.

Today the breed is available in many countries of the world. And they are mainly being used for meat production. The South Devon Herd Book Society, which is the official governing body of this breed was founded in 1891.

And the breed become one of the 14 breeds of cattle whose herd books date back to the second half of the 19th century. Read more information about this cattle breed below.

South Devon Cattle Characteristics

The South Devon cattle are large animals which are a rich, medium red with copper tints, though they varies in shade and can even appear slightly mottled.

They are the largest of the British native cattle breeds. They are available in both polled and horned version. The bulls grow faster and mature pretty earlier.

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The cows are also early maturing, and may be calved at around 2 years of age. The cows on average weight about 600-700 kg.

And average body weight of the bulls is between 1200 and 1600 kg. Although the largest bulls recorded has been weighed at 2000 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


These animals are dual purpose. Although they are now mostly raised as a meat cattle breed for meat production.

Special Notes

Presently South Devon cattle have well established themselves on five continents. They are exceptionally adaptable to varying climatic conditions and are very hardy.

And wherever they have been introduced, the breed have been well accepted and exhibited strong performance for both production and profitability. The first South Devon cattle were brought to the United States in the year of 1969.

And the North American South Devon Association was formed in the year of 1974 for development, registration and promotion purpose of this cattle breed in the United States.

These animals are also available in most states of Australia. They were imported from England to Australia in the late 19th and early 20th century. Review full breed profile of this breed in the following table.

Breed NameSouth Devon
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMilk, Meat
Special NotesHardy, strong, fast growers
Breed SizeHeavy
BullsBetween 1200 and 1600 kg
CowsAbout 600 to 700 kg
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Coat ColorRich, medium red with copper tints
Milk YieldGood
Country/Place of OriginEngland

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