When someone says "cow", this is probably the one you think of first. It's a cow's cow. The most common cow, particularly in America. It is the top producer, boasting around 9 gallons per day!
A brief history: The full breed name is Holstein Friesians, typically shortened to Holstein in the United States, and Friesian elsewhere. Black and white cattle matching the description of Holsteins were imported to the US in the 1600s, but it wasn't until the 1800s that the breed became official in the country. Cows used to be multi-purpose, used for meat, milk, and labor, but now they are typically bred to specialize in one of these things. So it is with the Holstein. Some countries still use them for meat, but the US uses them for dairy. Across the board, cows typically produce milk for about five years before their production numbers drop and they are retired and sold for beef.
Appearance: Big. Black. White. However, it is not uncommon to see white and red Holsteins as well, often with pink noses and udders. They typically stand around 5 feet at the shoulder, weighing an average of 1,300 pounds. However, if allowed to live longer than a typical dairy career, it's not unusual to see Holsteins reach heights over 6 feet. They naturally have curved, front-facing horns that tip upwards, but it is common for dairies to breed 'polled' or hornless cattle for ease of rearing. Some do also dehorn their cows after they've grown, but this practice is under scrutiny for animal welfare concerns.
Art notes: Seeing as this was originally a Dutch breed, this little cow is wearing a cap pretty typical to farm workers and laborers in general. They get the milk jug to represent the heft of their labor, and she gets to keep her fabulous horns!
← This little gal is the first chibi cow I drew, the one that started it all. Initially I wanted the cows to have a plush-like quality, very fat and cuddly, but straightaway I did limit their perceived mobility. The lines and forms are in general more stiff and closed-off than seen in their current iteration below. More thoughts on the development of cute cows as blog posts progress!
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