Kalmyk breed - cows hardened by the harsh climate


Kalmyk breed of cows today is considered one of the best in the meat direction. Featuring good productive qualities, this cattle has a unique endurance, increased resistance of the body, as well as the ability to give a high weight gain on poor feed. For more on this breed, let's find out right now.

Breed description

Kalmyk cows were bred in Kalmykia on the basis of Mongolian cattle brought earlier. Today this breed is more than 350 years old and it is widespread in our country. So, for example, today the Kalmyk cows are successfully grown in the North Caucasus, in the zone of the Lower Volga region, as well as in Eastern Siberia. It is an ideal breed for livestock in harsh climatic regions.


Today, there is still no consensus on how this breed appeared. However, one can definitely say that Kalmyk cows are very different from European ones and, most likely, are genetically more associated with Indian cattle. Some researchers suggest that the progenitors of these animals are Asian tours.

The main differences of the Kalmyk breed are that the animals lived and were bred in the harsh mountain and steppe regions of Western Mongolia, Southern Altai and Western China. At that time, the nomadic people of Kalmykia, together with their cattle, moved from one locality to another, while animals were kept on pastures year-round.

Of course, cold winds, snow and frost often caused the death of cows and bulls, only the strongest survived. As a result of such a natural harsh selection over the years, Kalmyk cattle acquired unique abilities to withstand cold and exist at the often poor feed.

Distribution and breeding

At the end of the last century, some farms of the Lower Volga region and the Rostov region decided to improve the natural external qualities of Kalmyk cows. They were crossed with sentimental breed. Breeding with the Shorthorn bulls was also carried out to improve the productive meat qualities. However, in the greater part of Russia, it is still the original branch of Kalmyk cattle that still prevails and is more popular.

To date, the development of the breed involved farms located in the zones of arid steppes and semi-deserts. More than 90% of the livestock is concentrated here. And to a greater extent this is due to the fact that no other cow can develop productively well here. Today, these hardy cows are used in the Volgograd and Rostov regions, in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kalmykia, as well as in the Stavropol Territory and the Chita Region.

External characteristic

Kalmyk cows are quite beautiful in their exterior. They have a strong constitution, a wide chest, withers and back, strong legs, a short body. In animals with good feed, muscle mass increases rapidly, muscles become well visible, especially in the back of the body. They also have a wide powerful neck and a developed dewlap. The height of adults is about 130 centimeters at the withers.

Kalmyk breed belongs to large meat, the average weight of bulls is 600-1100 kilograms, cows reach a mass of 400-550 kilograms. Today, there are also two intrabreed types: early and late. The first type has a lightweight body and a smaller size.

The main color of the animals is red or red with white spots or markings. See the photo for details.

Unique features

It is important to note that Kalmyk livestock has a number of unique differences from other known breeds. For example, these cows for the long years of existence in harsh climatic zones have formed a certain ability to increase subcutaneous fat, even on dry pasture.

For the entire pasture season, both females and males are able to accumulate up to 60-70 kilograms of blubber. Its animal organism uses in the winter for nourishment and warming. Also, these cows have a unique skin. Unlike livestock, they have both long protective hair and warming fluff.

In the warm season, after molting, the body of Kalmyk cows is covered with shiny, smooth hair that reflects direct sunlight. This is what allows animals from the earliest spring days to spend all the time on the mountain slopes and in the steppe. This property is no longer possessed by any breed in the world.

Body temperature

Another unusual ability of an organism of this breed is to maintain a constant body temperature both under the scorching sun and in harsh winter days with a chilling wind. Scientists noted that the temperature throughout the year fluctuates only within a few degrees. In many ways, this phenomenon provides a special skin. By winter, the dermis thickens in animals. And these cows have the largest number of sweat and sebaceous glands on the skin. On free spaces, in search of food, cows can travel up to 50 kilometers per day.


As for milk production, it is low - only 1000-1200 kilograms. However, the product of these cows is characterized by high fat content - up to 6.5% and albumen - 4.8%. Such indicator of milk is also unique for meat breeds. As for meat productivity, the slaughter yield is today an average of 60% of high-quality juicy meat.

It is important to note that Kalmyk cows have a very high maternal instinct. This feature is today attributed to the disadvantages, as the animal shows aggression near the calf and often does not allow even the owner. The breed has high rates of fertility and reproducibility. Even with a significant loss in the winter, the masses are excellently accommodated and in the spring quickly recover their lost shape.


  • Very high endurance;
  • Unpretentious content;
  • Good meat productivity;
  • Nutritious Fat Milk;
  • Precocity;
  • Easy calving and high reproducibility;
  • Fast development;
  • Good digestive system, adapted to coarse feed and grass.




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