Miniature Zebu

Miniature zebus are used for meat production like other types of cattle. Because of their smaller body size, the production output is proportionately less than with other cattle breeds. In Hindu areas, such as parts of India where cattle are sacred, miniature zebus are used for milk and as draft animals. 

Miniature zebus are not a small version within the zebu breed, but rather are an individual breed of cattle originating without the influence of human selection. Miniature zebu bulls stand less than 3  1/2 feet tall, but can weigh up to 600 pounds. Female miniature zebus are similar in height, but have a smaller build and weigh slightly less at up to 500 pounds.  Usually a steel gray color, miniature zebu coloring can include black, reddish brown, cream, spotted, paint, brindle, and white. Bull miniature zebus tend to be darker than the cows. Male and female miniature zebus have a dewlap on their throat and hump on their shoulders, with the bull’s being more pronounced. Both sexes of zebu have horns that point up or sweep back, and much like other cattle the bull’s horns are generally larger and more stout than the cow’s.

Miniature zebus have adapted to the warm tropical climate of southern Asia. Like all the breeds of zebu cattle, miniature zebus are hardy. They naturally possess a resistance to parasites and diseases.  Their robust nature and small stature makes the miniature zebu the ideal livestock for locations with limited space and forage availability. It is believed that miniature zebus are the only true breed of miniature cattle. They evolved naturally over thousands of years with minimal human selection. 

Fast Facts

Name: Miniature Zebu

Scientific: Bos indicus

Family: Bovidae

Relatives: Indu-Brazil Zebu, Brahman,

                Nelore, Ongole

Environment: Sub-Tropic, Plains

Origin: Asia

Life-span: 25 years

Size: 600 lbs

Miniature zebus, also known as Nadudana zebus, originated in South India and the island of Sri Lanka. They are one of the oldest known cattle breeds, dating back as far as 3000 BC.

Miniature zebus are thought to be the only naturally existing miniature cattle. Because of their size, miniature zebus are better than larger cattle for locations where land, water, grass, and other forage is limited.

1.     They cannot exceed 42” tall at the shoulder(behind the hump) at three years old.

     2.     Miniature zebu are thought to be the only truly  miniature breed of cattle.

     3.     Bulls are used as bucking bulls for young rodeo contestants.

Miniature zebu need less space and nearly 1/3 of the food required for standard sized cattle.

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They are used much like oxen to pull carts to transport goods and people. Miniature zebus are especially useful in regions where farms are small in acreage and cannot accommodate larger breeds. Zebus are preferred over equines for pulling farm machinery because they can maintain a steady pace in very hot and humid conditions. When used for transport purposes, people may prefer zebus over horses or donkeys, because they are generally less likely to get frightened. 

In the United States, miniature zebus are kept both as livestock and as pets. Though they are considered a rarer breed of cattle, the miniature zebu has become a favorite for many people. When hand-raised. they are quite personable and affectionate. Rodeo stock contractors often use miniature zebu bulls as bucking stock for their “little britches” or younger rodeo contestants.


     •   Meat

     •   Milk

     •   Draft

     •   Leather