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The general term for, even-toed, hoofed animals belonging to the Bovidae family. As well as domestic breeds, buffalo, bison and yak's are also encompassed.
The world's most prestigious beef breeds are almost entirely British in origin - ranging from the Hereford and Aberdeen Angus (which can be found in the U.S. Midwest & Argentinian pampas) to Devon and Shorthorn - the latter forming the basis of many American crosses,
Recently, continental breeds such as Charolais and Limousin from France, and Simmental, originally from Switzerland - have gained popularity because they carry less body fat - but because of this their flavour doesn't measure up to the best British types.
For dairying purposes the most popular breed is known as Friesan/Holstein/Black & White - depending on which country you're in. It's popular for its enormous yields, up to 13,000 litres in a single lactation, and will produce calves ideally-suited for intensive (if not top-quality) beef production.
Other dairying types include the Jersey and Guernsey, whose milk has a high butterfat content, and the Ayrshire, a smaller breed capable of staying outside all the year round.