As of 2014, there are as many as 13 different breeds of dairy cattle found throughout the world. Six of these breeds, the Holstein, the Jersey, the Ayrshire, the Brown Swiss, the Guernsey and the Milking Shorthorn, are the most prevalent on dairy farms in the United States.
The most popular breed of dairy cattle in the United States is the black and white Holstein. A fully grown Holstein cow weighs 1,500 pounds. It is the largest of all dairy cow breeds. Supplied with an ample source of feed and grain, the Holstein produces between 7 and 9 gallons of milk each day. The Holstein was imported to the United States from Europe in the 1800s, and since the mid-1940s, it has accounted for the majority of the country's collective dairy cow herd.
The Jersey cow is smaller and produces less milk than the Holstein, but its milk has the higher fat and protein content favored by cheese makers. The Jersey cow is the second-most preferred breed for dairy production in the United States.
The Dutch Belted, Dutch Jersey, Normandy, Montbeliarde, Danish Red, British Friesian and Norwegian Red are breeds of dairy cattle found around the world that have some popularity in the United States.