Cattle: systematic classification

Cattle: systematic classification

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Systematic classification

Taurine cattle:
- Mammals class
- Artiodactyl order
- Suborder Ruminants
- Bovidi family
- Cattle subfamily
- Kind Bos
- Species taurus

Zebuini cattle:
- Kind Bos
- Species namadicus

Classification of Cattle Breeds

The bull breeds currently bred in the world they would all derive - by evolution and / or selection and / or crossing and / or mestizo and / or mutation - from the following 4 ÷ 5 strains, now extinct, in turn coming from a common ancestral progenitor (Leptobos indicus) lived in the Pliocene era (over 2 million years ago):
- Bos primigenius (the ancient wild Uro, present in Europe until the mid 1600s), of great size, with reddish coat at birth and gray when ripe, equipped with large circular section horns, shaped like a moon in the male and lyre in the female, believed to be the main progenitor or progenitor of all Macrocere breeds, both Celtic and Podolic;
- Bos longifrons, with elongated head and short horns with an elliptical section, widespread in the Alpine region, believed to be the main progenitor of the Alpine brown breed and of the Norman breeds;
- Bos frontosus, broad-faced and with short horizontal horns, believed to be the main progenitor of the dappled-red breeds of continental Europe;
- Bos brachiceros, with a broad but short face and short horns, believed to be the main progenitor of the local Swiss and Austrian breeds;
- Bos akeratos, acorne, whose existence as an autonomous strain is however doubtful, considered the main progenitor of the acorn breeds.

The zebuine cattle breeds currently bred in the world they would all derive from a single common progenitor, now extinct, which was the Bos namadicus.

The Bos taurus species mates with the Bos indicus species, generating unlimitedly inter-fertile individuals that gave rise to the Tauro-Indica races (eg the Santa Gertrudis breed), particularly resistant to tropical climates; mates with the genus Bison, originating little fruitful animals, called Cattali; but it does not mate, for amissia, with the species Bubalus bubalis.

Classification of the main cattle breeds

- Specialized dairy breeds: Frisona, Bruna, Modenese, Reggiana, Rendena, Burlina; Ayrshire, Jersey, Guernsey;
- Dual-purpose breeds: Pezzata rossa, Normanna, Grigia, Valdostana, Norica;
- Specialized meat breeds:
Italian: Chianina, Romagnola, Marchigiana, Piemontese;
French: Charolaise, Limousine, Blonde dAquitaine, Belgian Blue;
British: Shorthorn, Hereford, Aberdeen-Angus;
Rusticas: Maremmana, Podolica, Modicana, Sarda, Sardo-Bruna, Sardo-Modicana; Salèrs, Aubrac.

List of cattle ethnic groups bred in Italy, in order of importance

- Breeds on the way, with a numerical consistency of less than 5,000 heads each, of almost exclusively zoological and / or environmental interest: Valdostana p.n., Cinisara, Modenese, Reggiana, Agerolese, Montana, Burlina, Cabannina, Pisana;
- Local or regional breeds of modest numerical consistency (5.000 ÷ 100.000 head), regional zootechnical interest: Romagnola, Grigia, Maremmana, Bruna of Sardinia (officially Sardo-Bruna), Sarda, Podolica, Valdostana pr, Modicana of Sardinia (officially Sardo Modicana ), Rendena, Pinzgau, Pezzata Rossa dOropa;
- Important national breeds, of good numerical consistency (100.000 ÷ 1.000.000 heads): Piemontese, Marchigiana, Chianina, Modicana;
- Cosmopolitan breeds of great diffusion also outside Italy: Frisona, Bruna, Pezzata rossa.

by dr. Alessio Zanon - University of Parma

British Longhorn breed bull (photo Alessio Zanon)

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