Holstein cattle can be easily identified by their black-and-white or sometimes red-and-white colored markings. These patterns appear as asymmetrical spots, in which the colors are well-defined rather than blended. Their larger size is also an identifiable characteristic. A full-grown Holstein cow weighs about 1,500 pounds and stands 58 inches tall at its shoulder.
Holstein cattle are used for their dairy-producing abilities and have the highest rate of milk production in the world. It is not uncommon for a top-producing Holstein cow that is milked twice a day to produce over 67,000 pounds of milk in a year. Because of this and low feed cost in correlation to the income produced, Holstein cattle are the most popular milk cows among dairy farmers.
The Holstein breed originated in Europe, when the black cattle of the Batavians and the white cattle of the Friesians were bred to produce a cow that produced high quantities of milk while requiring little feed. The resulting cattle were sought-after by American dairy farmers, and, beginning in the 1850s, breeders in Holland began to import Holsteins to America by ship to establish a population. By the late 1800s, breeding Holsteins in America became very popular, and in 1885 a foundation, the Holstein-Friesian Association of America, was formed to record pedigrees and maintain herd-books. This organization's name was changed in 1994 to Holstein Association of USA, Inc..