Rural Heritage Ox Paddock

Pure Breeds of Oxen

Guernsey Bigger picture


Guernseys are not often used as draft animals, but their calm easy-going attitude makes them ideal for beginning teamsters, and their good size makes them fine animals for the small farm or homestead. Since the Guernsey is a lean, dairy type animal, choose calves that are as rugged as possible, with strong feet and straight legs.

color— brown or fawn with white patches
average mature weight— ox: 1,800#
bull: 1,700#
cow: 1,100-1,200#
temperament— easy going
association— American Guernsey Association
web resource— Oklahoma State University
  American Livestock Breeds Conservancy

Hereford Bigger picture

Horned Hereford

The horned Hereford is a favorite among Nova Scotian ox teamsters, who prefer the head yoke over the neck yoke more commonly used in the United States. The Hereford is generally calm and easy going, and tends to carry a little more flesh than dual-purpose or dairy breeds. Like any breed, the earlier these cattle are handled and trained to the yoke, the better.

color— dark red with white face
average mature weight— ox: 2,200#
bull: 2,200#
cow: 1,540#
temperament— easy going
associations— American Hereford Association
Canadian Hereford Association
web resource— Oklahoma State University

Black Bigger pictureRed Bigger picture


The Holstein is the most popular dairy breed in the United States, therefore is easy for a teamster to find in most areas. Holsteins have an agreeable disposition and as oxen they get quite large. The breed comes in many color patterns, most commonly black and white, but sometimes red and white.

color— black and white or red and white
average mature weight— ox: 2,500#
bull: 2,300#
cow: 1,500#
temperament— docile
associations— Holstein Association USA
Red and White Dairy Cattle Association
web resource— Oklahoma State University

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09 June 2011