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Breeds of Cows Directory: "M": Madagascar Zebu - Murray Grey

Information contained here is summarized from many different sources. Please refer to those sources for complete information. Major contributors are Oklahoma State University, Coroba University of Spain, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, School of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Domestic Animal Diversity Program of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Google Images and Wikipedia


Maas-Rijn-Yssel see Meuse-Rhine-Yssel (below)
Madagascar Zebu, Also Known By: Malagasy, Malgache
The Madagascar Zebu is a tri-purpose breed, kept for meat, milk and work. The breed has lyre-shaped horns and is found in many colors. They are one of the breeds used in the development of the Rana and Renitelo breeds.[Oklahoma State University]
Maine Anjou
American Maine Anjou Society
The Maine-Anjou breed originated in the northwestern part of France. This area is excellent for beef production as it has both grassland and tillable land.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the cattle in this region were large, well-muscled animals with light red coats spotted with white. These cattle were known as he Mancelle breed. In addition to their size and muscling, the Mancelle had a reputation for their easy fattening. Leclere -Thouin, an agriculturalist, wrote in 1843 that on the community pastures of the Auge Valley, the Mancelle "were the last to be put onto the grass, but were the first to be picked out to go to the markets in the capital city".

In 1839 the Count de Falloux, a landowner, imported Durham cattle from England and crossed them with the Mancelle. The cross was extremely successful, and by 1850 Durham-Mancelle animals were winning championships at the French agricultural fairs. In 1908 the Society of Durham-Mancelle Breeders was formed at Chateau- Gontier in the Mayenne district. In 1909 the name was changed to the Society of Maine-Anjou Cattle breeders, taking the name from the Maine and Anjou river valleys.

The Society has worked steadily for the improvement of the breed. Breeders of the cattle were mostly small farmers whose goal was to maximize income from their small area of land. For this reason, the Maine-Anjou evolved as a dual-purpose breed, with the cows used for milk production and the bull calves fed for market. It is still common on many farms to find Maine-Anjou being milked. In many herds, half the cows are milked and the other half raise two calves each.

The Maine-Anjou is one of the larger breeds developed in France, with mature bulls weighing from 2200 to 3100 pounds on the average. Mature cows will range from 1500 to 1900 pounds. The coloring is a very dark red with white markings on the head, belly, rear legs and tail. White on other parts of the body is also common.

The first Maine-Anjou imported into North America came to Canada in 1969. These cattle were then introduced to the United States through artificial insemination.

The Maine-Anjou Society Inc. was incorporated in Nebraska in 1969 and included both American and Canadian members. In 1971 the name was changed to the International Maine-Anjou Association and headquarters were set up in the Livestock Exchange Building in Kansas City, Missouri. The name was changed In 1976 to the American Maine-Anjou Association. [Oklahoma State University]

Makalanga, Makaranga see Mashona (below)
Malagasy, Malgache see Madagascar Zebu (above)
Malinke see N'dama
Malir (Baluchistan) see Red Sindhi
The Malvi is primarily a draft breed which has developed in to different strains which are heavy, light or medium in size, depending on soil conditions. These cattle are mainly bred in the Malwa tract of Madhyabharat State of India. In the western parts adjoining Rajputana the type bred is larger in size. In parts of Madhya Pradesh where Malvis are bred, it is smaller in size. It is also bred in the northeastern section of Hyderabad state, where it is a popular breed for medium and light draft on the roads and for cultivation. It has been said that the Malvis resembles the Kankrej in many ways.
Malvi cattle have short, deep and compact bodies. The back is straight but the hindquarters are drooping. The legs are powerful but short and the hooves are strong and black in color. The dewlap is well-developed and the sheath is moderately pendulous. The head is short and broad with dished forehead. The hair around the eye sockets and the eye membranes are black in color. The muzzle is broad, dark colored and slightly upturned. The horns, which emerge from the outer angles of the poll in an outward and upward direction, are strong and pointed. The ears are short and pointed and not drooping. The tail is of moderate length with black switch reaching to about the fetlock. The color is gray almost black on the neck, shoulders, hump and quarters. The cows and bullocks eventually become nearly pure white with age.

The breed is well-known for draft qualities. It is observed to be good on the road for quick transportation. Also the bullocks work well in the black cotton soil. They show great endurance and ability to carry heavy loads on rough roads. The cows observed in the village areas are observed to be poor milkers but selected cows on the farm show that they can produce 2.000 to 2,700 pounds of milk per lactation.[Oklahoma State University]

Development of the Mandalong Special began at Mandalong Park, near Sydney, NSW, in the mid 1960s. Five base breeds were used - the Charolais, Chianina, Polled Shorthorn, British White and Brahman. After four generations the breed was stabilized with a content of 58.33 percent European, 25 percent British and 16.67 percent Brahman bloodlines.

The breed was developed with the objective of producing a hardy animal, small at birth for easy calving but with a high growth rate and the ability to produce a high quality, well muscled carcass, with well distributed fat cover at all stages of growth.

The breed is large, may be polled or horned and varies in color from light cream to dun [Oklahoma State University]

Mandingo (Liberia) see N'dama
Marchigiana, Other Names: Del Cubante (Avellino)
The Marchigiana breed originated in the Marche and surrounding provinces of Italy near Rome. This area is typified by rough terrain and the available feed is often less than ideal. The breed now makes up about 45% of Italy's total cattle population.

There seems to be considerable differences in opinion as to the exact origin of the breed. According to The Meaty Marchigiana, a leaflet published by the American International Marchigiana Society, they were brought into the area by the Barbarians after the fall of Rome in the fifth century. Anther version, put forth by Dr. Briggs in Modern Breeds of Livestock, is that it is a relatively new breed, being differentiated as late as 1933 and known locally at the time as the Improved Marche. According to this version, the indigenous stock of the area had been intermixed with the Chianina and two other varieties of mountain cattle. Selection then followed for the large type of cattle which were desired on the lower and more fertile slopes of the region where forage was more abundant.

The breed resembles the Chianina in color and general conformation. They are large and quite muscular but have relatively refined bone structure. They are a short-haired breed that varies in color from light gray to almost white. The skin is pigmented and the tongue, muzzle, and external opening are black. The tail switch is dark and they are usually dark around the eyes. The medium-sized horns are black at the tip, white in the middle, and have a yellowish cast at the base and usually curve forward in bulls and upward in females. Due to the introduction of the poll gene from foundation females used in grading up, percentage cattle are often selected for the polled trait in the United States.

The legs are more moderate in length than those of the Chianina. The selection in Italy has been effective in establishing a breed that seems to reach sexual maturity early, has easy calving and good fertility. The cattle have also been selected to grow rapidly and utilize feed efficiently. The dispositions are said to be mild under the variety of conditions under which hey have been used. [Oklahoma State University]

Found in the regions of Maremma, Tuscany and Latium in Italy, the Maremmana is primarily raised for meat production althought it was formerly also used as a draft animal. The calves are born red and turn grey as they reach maturity. The bulls have long, open-lyre horns and the females have cresent shaped horns.[Oklahoma State University]
Masai, Also known by: Maasai
The life of the Masai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania revolve around cattle. Virtually all social roles and status derive from the relationship of individuals to their cattle. Cow's milk, together with blood, is the staple food of the Masai who eat no fruit or grain. Once a month, blood is taken from living animals by shooting a small arrow into the neck. This blood is then mixed with milk in a gourd which has been washed with urine to prevent spoilage.

Masai cattle vary considerable due to the centuries old practice of stealing cattle from neighboring tribes. This is sanctioned by the Masai legend with relates that Ngai (God) sent them cattle at the beginning of time and gave them the sole right to keep them. Compared with cattle belonging to the surrounding tribes, Masai cattle are the largest and in the best condition. This is due largely to the generous amount of milk the young calves get. As a rule, the Masai have so many cattle that only a portion of the milk is needed for human consumption and there is plenty left for the calves.

Females stand 125 cm tall and weigh about 360 kg while bulls are 140 cm at the withers and weigh 400 kg. The breed has a characteristically small narrow head. The dewlap is quite large, the chest is relatively deep and the whole body is well muscled. Coloration varies although the Masai favor brindled animals.

[Oklahoma State University]
Mashona, Also Known As: Makalanga, Makaranga, Ngombe dza Vakaranga, Shona Mashuk, Mashukulumbwe
Mashona cattle originated from the Shona people of eastern Zimbabwe. They are bred in a wide spreading territory covering most of the eastern half of Zimbabwe and an adjoining region of Mozambique that is free of the tsetse fly. The Mashona cattle are of the Sanga type. Following the decimation in the Shona herds caused by the cattle plague of 1896-98 and the East Coast fever epidemic of 1900-1906 larger number of mainly Angonis cows were mated with Mashona bulls.

This breed is reared for meat production and it is said they make docile working animals. A herd book was established in 1954, after a decade of selection for beef production and polled characteristics (hornless). The breed is usually black or red and most are now polled. The mature weight of the breed ranges from 275 to 350 kg (600 - 775 pounds).

History and description:

Indigenous cattle of varying types found throughout the length and breadth of Africa, but only since the turn of the present century has any attempt been made to study and classify them. Because of the dearth of reliable evidence and the general lack of historical records in Africa, the conclusions arrived at must be regarded as somewhat speculative.

Although the indigenous cattle of Africa generally lack uniformity of type, they may be placed in the following five main groups:

The Humpless Longhorn Cattle:

These were the original cattle of North Africa as illustrated in paintings in the tombs of Egypt 7,000 years ago, but are today only found in West Africa.

The Humpless Shorthorn Cattle:

These begin to be depicted in the Egyptian tombs from about 2500 BC from which time they obviously displaced the longhorns to the south and west. The cattle of the Mediterranean region today are mainly of this type.

The Neckhumped Lateral-horned Zebu:

There are records of this type of humped cattle from the old civilizations north of the Persian Gulf and later records, about 1500 BC, of their appearance in Egypt. It is thought that they may have entered at the "horn" of Africa and become established in Ethiopia, from once they spread north and south. Today, however, they are only represented by the Afrikaner breed which was developed from Khoi Khoi cattle which the early settlers found at the Cape.

The Chesthumped Shorthorn Zebu:

This appears to be the most recent type to enter the continent and evidence indicates that is was introduced down the East Coast by Arab and Indian Traders from about the middle of the seventh century A.D. It is now the dominant type in East and Central Africa.

The Sanga Cattle:

This type is widely spread in South, Central and West Equatorial Africa and is obviously the result of crossbreeding between the original humpless cattle and the invading zebus. They are usually neckhumped but vary greatly in the size and shape of the horns. The indigenous breeds of Zimbabwe fall into this group.

As the migrating Bantu tribes moved down the continent they took their cattle for them, crossing the Zambezi about 700 AD Portuguese explorers reported the presence of cattle in what we now know as Zimbabwe in the 16th Century, and the first white settlers found large numbers of stock, estimated at 500,000 in the hands of the local inhabitants. They were distributed mainly along the central plateau, which was free of tsetse fly.

The cattle which the pioneering settlers found were almost exclusively of the Sanga type. They were neck-humped, small in stature, rounded in appearance with sloping rumps, their coats were sleek and shiny, they were fine of bone, had small, broad alert heads and long thin, active tails. The horns in the cow curved outward and forwards and were round and fine in cross-section.

The horns in the bull were also rounded but shorter and heavier, curving out and upwards. The horns in the oxen were longer and more widespread. A few of the animals were naturally polled. Color patterns were many and varied. The predominant color was black followed by reds and browns, with yellows and duns being less common. These colors were often accompanied by white patches or stipples very broken in outline. Black and red were frequently mixed giving rise to variations of the attractive M'Sundu pattern or more rarely the brindle (Nhuru).

In, 1896, disaster struck in the form of the Rinderpest epizootic which swept down from the north killing cattle and antelope alike; to be followed a few years later by the introduction of East Coast Fever from Macambiqu. The herds were decimated and by the time these diseases were under control it was estimated that only 50,000 head remained in the century.

To help build up numbers again, cattle were introduced from Zambia. They were mostly cows and were probably Angoni type shorthorn Zebus, but it is not known what lasting genetic influence they had on the native herds. From about this time both Government and private individuals began importing bulls from South Africa and overseas with which to grade-up and "improve" the indigenous stock. In most instances this process led to indiscriminate crossbreeding, without any corresponding improvement in management and resulted in heterogeneous, degenerate animals completely lacking the desirable characteristics of their parent stock.

The indigenous breeds which exist in Zimbabwe today, the Mashona, Nkone and Tuli have developed from this original stock. As might be expected there are close genetic similarities, especially between the Mashona and Nkone, but surveys of transferring types and estimated hemoglobin gene frequencies from herds throughout the century have shown that animals do in fact all into distinct breed groups. It can be speculated, however that all the original genotypes must have been Mashonas.

The Nkone cattle have descended from the cattle belonging to the a'Mandebele tribe which settled in Matebeleland in 1838. The largest concentrations of these animals are found in the Gwaii and neighboring communal areas in the western part of Zimbabwe. A small breeding herd was established at Tjolotjo, approximately 130 km northwest of Bulawayo in 1946, and this subsequently grew to become the main center of research and developed of the breed. A second herd was established at Msengenzi Experiment Farm in the Makwiro district of Mashonaland in 1953, and the Nkone Cattle Club was established with a number of commercial breeders in the early 1960's.

In 1942, Mr. Len Harvey, who was a land development officer, noticed a distinct yellow type of animal in the indigenous herds in the low veld south of Gwanda. Government subsequently decided to purchase some of these cattle to see if the type could be improved, and established the Lowveld Cattle Breeding Station with Mr. Harvey as Officer-in-Charge. This became the center of work on the breed and became known as the Tuli Breeding Station. Commercial breeders became interested in the breed and an official Breed Society was informed in 1961.

Prior to 1890, Thomas Baines, the explorer and big game hunter, recorded that he obtained "two little cows which being from Mashonaland were excellent milkers." However, probably the first serious written record on Mashona cattle was contained in a letter written by a member of the Pioneer Column, Mr. Jack CarruthersSmith, to Mr. Frank Willoughby. In it, he wrote:

"My first experience of Mashona cattle was in the beginning of 1891 until the end of March 1897, when I left for Bulawayo in Matabeleland. I considered Mashona cattle a distinctive breed of their own. They were a very small breed, with very small and fine bone, very compact. They had lovely symmetrical horns. I should think about 70 percent of the cattle were jet black, 25 to 27 percent dark red, perhaps 1,5 percent dark yellow, probably 1 percent dun colored. Amongst the black, there was perhaps 1 or 2 percent hornless and in the red an odd hornless beast.

The true Mashona, as I remember it, had very short legs, bone very fine, a long thin tail, with a bush at the end of it, not unlike the bush on a lion's tail.

To the beast of my memory, the pure bred little Mashona gave 1 1/2 to 2 bottles of milk, at a milking.

I might add that the hair on the Mashona cattle was very short and simply shone, when in perfect condition, which in the early 1890's they generally were."

Meanwhile, in 1941, some forty years after these early recordings, and independently of each other, two dedicated men, Mr. F.B. Willoughby and Mr. E.A.B. McLeod began building up herds of indigenous cattle in Mashonaland. They visited dip-tanks in various remote communal areas and bought up animals which conformed to the characteristics which they had fixed in their minds. Mr. Willoughby obtained many of his foundation stock in the Chilimanzi and Buhera Communal lands. One polled bull in particular, which, as a three-month-old calf, walked the 200 miles from Buhera to Ellerton Farm, had a tremendous influence on the future Mashona breed. Mr. McLeod bought most of his original animals in the Mhonondoro area. He trekked them first to Gokwe and then to Essexvale as he was transferred, finally buying a farm in the latter district. He obtained some polled bulls from Ellerton and by small, black, hornless cattle of considerable hardiness and docility. The Ellerton herd was larger and more broadly based and although predominantly black, managed to perpetuate most of the color and color patterns of the native stock. Here again selection was based strictly upon the most desirable functional characteristics of the indigenous cattle, and over the years a remarkably productive herd was achieved.

The enthusiasm of these two men led to the founding of the Rhodesian Indigenous Cattle Society on the 16th of January, 1950, with Mr. Willoughby becoming the first President and Mr. McLeod as honorary secretary. A few years later the name was changed to the more specific Mashona Cattle Society.

The vision and enterprise of Messrs. Willoughby and McLeod have been more than justified, and while the breed today has a much broader genetic base than either may ever have visualized, their original bloodlines still run very strong in the modern Mashona.

[Oklahoma State University]
Mashukulumbwe see Mashona (above)
Maure, Also Known By: Arab, Gabaruyé, Mauritanian, Moor, Moorish
The Maure breed is found in south-central Mauritania and is used primarily was a work and dairy animal. They are part of the West African Zebu type and are red or red pied, sometimes black pied, in coloration.[Oklahoma State University]
Mauritanian see Maure (above)
Mazandarani, Also Known By: Gilani
The Mazandarani is a zebu type breed found in northern Iran. They are kept for meat and milk production and are see in all colors.[Oklahoma State University]
Meuse-Rhine-Yssel, Also known by: Roodbont (Dutch), Maas-Rijn-Yssel (Dutch), Rotbunte holländische (German), Mosane-rhénane-ysseloise (French), Dutch Red-and-White, MRI, MRY, Red Pied Dutch
This breed was developed in the southeastern sections of the Netherlands as a dual purpose breed, both milk and meat production. Producers have now concentrated on their milk production and the breed now comprises over a quarter of the Dutch cattle population. It was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century from a mixture of red and red-pied Dutch breeds and Munster cattle from Germany. Since the 1970's Red Holstein has also been used in the breeding program.

Females are about 135 cm in height and weigh 900 kg. Males stand 142 cm and average 1,250 kg in weight. [Oklahoma State University]

Mewati cattle are found in the tract known as Mewat, but the breed is sometimes called Kosi, due to the large numbers of cattle of this breed sold from the market at Kosi, a small town in the district of Mathura. Mewati cattle are similar in type to Hariana, but show definite evidence of Gir blood. Native habitants of Rath and Nagori cattle being adjacent to Mewat, these two breeds may also have contributed to the formation of the Mewati.
Mewati cattle are usually white in color with neck, shoulders and quarters of a darker shade. Occasionally, individual beasts have Gir coloration. The face is long and narrow with the forehead slightly bulging. Horns emerge from the outer angles of the poll and are inclined to turn backwards at the points. Eyes are prominent and surrounded by a very dark rim. The muzzle is wide and square and the upper lip thick and overhanging, giving the upper part of the nose a contracted appearance. The muzzle is pitch black in color. The ears are pendulous but not so long.

The neck and the whole frame is strong but the limbs are light. The legs are relatively long and the frame of the body gives an impressions of being loosely built. The chest is deep but the ribs are flat. The head and neck show an upright carriage. The dewlap, though hanging, is not very loose. The sheath also is loose but not pendulous. The legs are fine and round with strong, somewhat large hooves, well-rounded in shape. The tail is long, the tuft nearly reaching the heels. Cows usually have well-developed udders.

Mewati cattle are in general, sturdy, powerful and docile, and are useful for heavy plowing carting and drawing water for deep wells. The cows are said to be good milkers.

[Oklahoma State University]
Milking Devon
Society: American Milking Devon Association
In 1623, two heifers and a bull from north Devonshire, England, were received by a member of the Plymouth Colony. They were the first importation of cattle from Britain, although the Spanish had introduced cattle in the south.

Their immediate value was as draft animals. Cattle from Devonshire had long been recognized in England for their speed, intelligence, strength, willingness to work, and ability to prosper on course forage, in a wide range of climates.

In later years, other cattle were imported and contributed to the American Devon, which developed as the ideal multipurpose breed. None could surpass it for draft work; the milk was good for cream and cheese making; and the carcass developed fine beef on poor forage.

In more recent times, the importance of cattle for draft animals has all but disappeared and the Devon has been replaced by high producing dairy breeds like the Holstein and Jersey, with whom it could not compete for quantity.

In 1952, the American Devon Cattle Club decided that the breed had to move into a specialist beef market in order to survive.

At that time, a small group of breeders decided to form a separate association for dairy cattle and maintain triple-purpose stock. That association slowly dwindled, but thanks to their efforts, many of their animals can be traced into the new registry which was reformed in 1978. This registry represents a gene pool of genuine triple-purpose cattle able to survive and be productive under minimal management conditions in a harsh environment.

The Milking Devon is a medium sized triple-purpose breed adapted to survive on a low-quality, high forage diet under severe climatic conditions. They are healthy, long lived, and thrive on good care and management.

The breed is red in color, varying in shade from deep rich red to light red or chestnut color. They may show white on the tail switch, udder or scrotum. They have medium sized curving horns that are light colored with dark tips.

The selection for meat or milk in this breed has never been the top priority.

The Devon cow is especially elegant with her compact rounded form, and when treated with kindness, possesses a docile temperament. They have very few calving difficulties and adequate milk production to raise a calf and for use on the small farm.

The Devon bull is noted for his ease of handling and even temperament, when treated kindly.

Devons were highly valued as oxen in the establishment of the American Colonies, due to their great strength, intelligence, fast pace and endurance.

Today, Devons are still sought out for use as oxen. Those qualities so highly prized by the colonists can still be found in today's Devons.

In 1858, William Youatt stated that "the Devon as an aboriginal breed of cattle is a very valuable one, and they seem to have arrived at the highest point of perfection."

Today's breeders strive to maintain these very same qualities in the modern Milking Devon.

[Oklahoma State University]
Milking Shorthorn
Society: American Milking Shorthorn Society
One of the oldest recognized breeds in the world, Shorthorn cattle originated in Northeastern England in the Valley of the Tees River. Much of the early improvement work took place in the counties of Northumberland, Durham and York.

The first importation of Shorthorns to the United States was in 1783, when 'Milk Breed' Shorthorns came to Virginia. These early importations, often referred to as 'Durhams', became favorites of the pioneer, furnishing meat, milk and power.

Shorthorns, the most numerous in the British Isles, America and Australia, are either red, red and white, white or roan, the last named color being a very close mixture of red and white, and found in no other breed of cattle.

Origin, History and Development

Into the North Sea, on the east coast of England just north of the bulge toward Europe, a river, the Tees, empties. It was along this river that the Shorthorn breed was developed. The earliest knowledge of the forerunners to the breed is word of mouth, that for two hundred years before 1780, there were short horned cattle on the Yorkshire estates of the Dukes and Earls of Northumberland. Shorthorn stock had been in the herds of Smithsons of Stanwick since the middle 1600's.

Several men helped to bring the breed to its present high standard of perfection by selecting animals that were best suited to meet the demands of practical farmers.

In Shorthorn history, the names of Bates, Booth and Cruickshank are noted. Bates and Booth were Englishmen who developed what are usually referred to as 'English Shorthorns.' Cruickshank was a Scotchman who developed the 'Scotch Shorthorns.' The Bates type of Shorthorns were noted for their style and good milking qualities. Cruickshank's cattle were thicker, blockier, and meatier.

Most of the early importations of Shorthorns to America came from English herds and were of the Bates and Booth types; those that came directly from the Bates herd or descendants of that herd had very good milking qualities.

As explained, the Milking Shorthorn is not a separate and distinct breed, but rather a segment of the Shorthorn breed. The pedigrees of both the Milking Shorthorn and the scotch Shorthorn trace to the same foundation animals if carried to breed origin.

Shorthorns Enter USA in 1783

An unknown number of both types, the milk breed and the beef breed, were brought from England by a Mr. Gough of Maryland and his partner, a Mr. Miller of Virginia. Importations continued during the early 1800's and the breed moved into New York, Kentucky, Ohio and deeper into the Midwest. The first herd west of the Mississippi River is reported to have been established by N. Cooper on his Ravenswood Farm in Missouri in 1839. Today, Milking Shorthorns are found in almost every area of the United States.

It should be gratifying to anyone interested in Milking Shorthorns to learn how much the breed contributed to the livelihood of our nation. Its hardiness, wide range of adaptation and efficiency of production provided milk, meat and transportation for our pioneers. The breed's many attributes continue to provide a livelihood for the breeders of today.

A Versatile Breed

The Milking Shorthorn breed is the most versatile of all breeds and this is one of its greatest attributes. These docile cows efficiently produce large volumes of nutritious milk each lactation and are large enough to have a high salvage value when their long productive lives finally come to an end. In addition, their healthy calves born each year on regular calving intervals are spunky at birth, grow rapidly, and those not kept for breeding stock and herd replacement make efficient gains and hang very desirable grading carcasses.

Other attributes of the breed include ease of calving, ease of management and economy of production, especially on home produced roughages and grass.

One of the first official demonstrations of the production ability of Milking Shorthorns was made at the World's Exposition in Chicago in 1893 where two of the leading cows of the test were Kitty Clay 3rd and Kitty Clay 4th, the latter standing third in net profit over all breeds. These sister cows became the foundation for the Clay cow family of Milking Shorthorns, developed at Glenside Farm, Granville Center, Pennsylvania.

Milking Shorthorns in the USA

Breeders began recording their Shorthorn cattle in 1846 with the first volume of the American Herdbook. In 1882, the American Shorthorn Breeders' Association was formed to register and promote both Milking and Scotch (beef) Shorthorns. In 1912, a group of Milking Shorthorn breeders organized the Milking Shorthorn Club to work within the framework of ASBA. Its membership was interested in advertising the good milk qualities of the breed by keeping official milk records and encouraging breed improvements.

The American Milking Shorthorn Society (AMSS) incorporated in 1948 and took over the registration and promotion of Milking Shorthorns. In April 1950, the Milking Shorthorn office moved from Chicago to Springfield, Missouri. Milking Shorthorns were declared a dairy breed in 1969 and in 1972 became members of the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association. The Society national office moved to its present home, Beloit, Wisconsin in 1986.

Milking Shorthorn breeders in the USA have many opportunities for improving the genetics of their animals by participating in the breed's official production testing, type trait appraisal, gain performance, national shows and breed promotion programs.

Breeders can use semen from the breed's highest proven bulls. Semen of high genetic value is also available from carefully selected young sires approved by the Young Sire Committee. Also, two grade-up programs make it possible for anyone to bring outstanding neglected purebreds back into the Official Herd Book and to introduce the best of other internationally recognized high producing breeds into a program with rigid requirements.

It is a fact that no breed has made greater improvement during the past 15 years and even greater increases are expected in the future. Milking Shorthorns have become more dairy and more angular and improved udder quality. Anyone having the opportunity to observe recent national Milking Shorthorn shows can not help but be impressed by the number of superior individuals presented which were bred by breeders from coast to coast.

[Oklahoma State University]
Mirandesa, Also known by: Frieiresa (Spanish), Ratinha
The Mirandesa is found in central and northeastern Portugal and southeastern Orense in Spain. They are a draft breed which is also used for meat production.

The Mirandesa is the most widely distributed native breed in Portugal. Even in late 1970's these animals were still being used to pull fishing boats from the water. Mirandesa females average 133 cm in height and 550 kg in weight and are a lighter color than the bulls. The males stand 143 cm tall and weigh 900 kg. Both sexes have short, broad heads with large horns which grow outward and bend down and then forward, with the points upward.[Oklahoma State University]

Modicana, Also Known As: Olivastra modicana, Sicilian
The Modicana breed is found on the island of Sicily in Italy. Kept for their milk and meat production, they are of the Podolian type. The breed is dark red.[Oklahoma State University]
The Mongolian is one of the most popular among Chinese indigenous cattle breeds. It is located mainly in Inner Mongolia, but is also widely distributed in the northeast, north, and northwest. The breed is usually brindle or reddish brown but will sometimes be black, yellow or pied. They are found in two varieties, the Ujumqin and Halhïn Gol.

Body measurements

Body weight and conformation of Mongolian cattle are influenced greatly by the type of natural grassland on which they are reared. Cattle kept on pasture, steppe, semi-desert-steppe and desert have a tendency to become increasingly smaller in that order.

Milk production

This is influenced by natural conditions and nutritional level, as well as by calving (lactation) number and stage of lactation. Ujumqin cows, a type of Mongolian, may produce 500-600 kg of milk in a 5-month lactation with good nutrition in the grass-growing season, the fat content being about 5 percent. Daily milk yield is highest in the first month, then gradually declines during the 5-month lactation period.


Mongolian heifers first come on heat at the age of 8-12 months, but are not used for breeding until 2 years of age. There is a breeding season from April to November, but most cows are bred from May to September because of marked seasonal differences in climate and condition of the grassland.

[Oklahoma State University]
Montbéliard, Also Known As: French Dairy Simmental
This breed originated in the Haute Saône-Doubs region of France. They are a dairy and meat breed belonging to the French Red Pied group. They are bright red and white and originated from Bernese cattle brought by the Mennonites in the 18th century.[Oklahoma State University]
Moor, Moorish see Maure (above)
Morucha, Also known by: Salmantina (Spanish)
The Morucha originated in the region of Salamanca in Spain. With a current population of 161,000 animals it is an important Spanish breed. Historically the breed was used as a draft animal and has been used to produce fighting bulls but it is currently primarily used for beef production. They are thought to have originated from Black Iberian cattle. Current (1999) ranked geographic distribution would be as follows: Salamanca, Cáceres, Samara, Ávila, Valladolid, Badajoz, Palencia, Toledo, Jaén, Ciudad Real, Madrid and some areas of Portugal.

It is average in size with the males weighing as much as 900 kilograms and Morucha females up to 500 kilograms. It is either black or blue-roan (gray).

The breed shows a strong maternal instinct and good fertility rate with a productive life of 14 to 16 years. The breed exhibits good foraging abilities and is adapted well to less intensive production systems.[Oklahoma State University]

Moruno-Sinuano see Romosinuano
Mosane-rhénane-ysseloise, MRI, MRY see Meuse-Rhine-Yssel (above)
Mottai madu see Umblachery
The Murboden is a dairy and meat breed that is used as a draft animal. During the 1950's several Austrian mountain breeds were amalgamated to form the Murboden breed. In Austria, the Murboden has been absorbed by the Austrian Yellow cattle, but in Yugoslavia, where the breed is called the Pomurska, small herds still remain. Coats vary from yellowish to light red, with deeper red areas about the horns, eyes, and along the nose. Cows stand 130 to 140 cm and weigh from 700 to 800 kg; bulls are 140 and 150 cm and weigh 1,200 kg.

Status: Nearly extinct

[Oklahoma State University]
Murray Grey
The Murray Grey originated in southern New South Wales, Australia. The preferred color is silver-gray although there are numerous variations in the shading of gray. In 1905, on the Thologolong property of Peter Sutherland, a particular roan Shorthorn cow, when bred to various Aberdeen Angus bulls, dropped only grey calves, 12 of them by 1917. Because Mrs. Eva Sutherland liked these grey calves, her husband didn't slaughter them although he feared they would reflect poorly on his black Angus herd. When her husband died in 1929, Mrs. Sutherland sold the herd of Greys to her cousin Helen Sutherland who started a systematic breeding with 8 cows and 4 bulls.

In the early 1940's Mervyn Gadd started a second Murray Grey herd as a commercial venture, using a grey bull from the Sutherlands and breeding up from Angus cows. Gadd was convinced that the Greys were better and more efficient weight gainers, but is wasn't until 1957 that a demand for them developed. Butchers paid a premium price for the Greys because of their consistent high cutability and less wastage. Breeder after breeder turned to them and in 1962 fifty breeders banded together to form the Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society of Australia. The name of the breed comes from the color and the site of origin along the Murray River that divides New South Wales and Victoria.

The Murray Greys began to win carcass competitions in the early 1970's and have continued to dominate the steer and carcass classes at the Royal Shows in Australia. Murray Greys are one of the two breeds preferred by the Japanese for importation, due to their easy fleshing and high-quality meat production.
Introduction to the United States
In 1969, three importers, New Breeds Inc.; Murray Grey USA, Lubbock, Texas; and Firetree Production Stock of Shelbyville, Kentucky, brought Murray Grey semen to the United States. In May 1972, a bull calf and yearling heifer of this breed arrived in the United States. Although several more Murray Greys have been imported into the United States, the total number of importations has been relatively small and the expansion in the breed has been largely through the grading-up process.

Murray Greys - A Sensible Breed for Profitable Beef Production, a booklet by the American Murray Grey Association, indicates that twenty-eight purebred bulls and nine purebred heifers were imported from New Zealand or from Australia by way of New Zealand. In the 1976 Yearbook, published by the American Murray Grey Association, eighty-three bulls in the United States were listed as foundation sires and their semen was available fordistribution, and twenty females were listed as purebred females.
Traits of the Breed
The calves of the breed are small at birth. The cows are good mothers and milk well, and the calves have good rates of growth. Docility seems to be agenuine asset of the breed both in the herd and in the feedlot. The cattle have relatively small heads and bone and are polled. Their survival and reproductive rate has been very satisfactory under a wide range of climatic and management conditions.

The color of the Murray Grey can be both an asset and a liability. The gray is a very practical color that reflects more heat than dark colors. The skin should be heavily pigmented or dark-colored and this helps keep away certain eye and skin problems, such as cancer eye and sunburned udders. Unfortunately, the inheritance of the color pattern is not well understood from a genetic standpoint. Studying the data available indicates that, in addition to the basic color pattern genes involved, diluting or modifying genes also seem to play a definite role. Multiple gene effects always make it more difficult to get a true breeding condition.



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