Fluffy cows: 11 adorable photos to brighten your day


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Highland cow in Dartmoor National ParkPhoto courtesy of iStock / BethAmber

You’ve probably seen pictures of these cows pop in your social media – just a simple image of a fluffy, long-haired cow to brighten your day.  Or perhaps you remember the ‘emo cow’ meme from several years ago, or that time when Iowa’s fluffy cows went viral?

No matter how you’ve come to adore these creatures, have you ever wondered where you could actually see one in person, or where they come from?  All of those questions and more will be answered alongside even more adorable pictures of these majestic cows.

Adorable Highland calf in ScotlandPhoto courtesy of iStock / prill

‘Emo cows’ are actually Highland cattle

This breed of rustic cattle originated as early as the 6th century in the Scottish Highlands and the Outer Hebrides islands.  They’re easily identified by their shaggy coats and long horns – and for being unfathomably cute to look at.

Hairy Highland cow in ScotlandPhoto courtesy of E+ / georgeclerk

Predominant coat colors might be due to the Queen’s preference

Highland cattle can appear in a rainbow of different colors, including dun, red, black and white.  It’s been said that red has become the color seen most often due to a reported remark from Queen Victoria on a visit to the Scottish Highlands.  She allegedly expressed her preference for the red-colored cattle, and selective breeding began in an effort to please her.

Highland cow with grass over its earsPhoto courtesy of iStock / stefbennett

Where are Highland cattle now?

You’re sure to still find herds of Highland cattle in Scotland, but they’ve also been imported to other countries around the globe.  That includes the United States, Canada, Australia, Finland and Denmark.

Highland cattle in the Argyll mountainsPhoto courtesy of E+ / JonnyJim

Why are they so fluffy?

These cows have such a distinctive coat to assist with cold tolerance.  How they achieve such a legendary status of floof (definitely not a scientific term) is through a double coat of hair.  The outer layer consists of oily hair, while the undercoat is soft and fluffy.

Highland mother and calfPhoto courtesy of iStock / guenterguni

What are they like?

You would think an animal that’s this off-the-charts cute would be super friendly, right?  In this case, you’d be correct.  Highland cattle are actually famous for having amazing temperaments.  You should still be careful around them; they are much bigger than you, after all.  But there’s no need to fear them should they approach you in a welcoming manner.

Group of belted Galloway cowsPhoto courtesy of iStock / JohnFScott

Highlands aren’t the only fluffy cows in town

Highland cattle get a lot of the attention, but there’s another adorable breed we’d like to draw your attention to: the Belted Galloway.

Belties in the Malvern Hills of WorcestershirePhoto courtesy of iStock / Jennifer Sanerkin

They’re known as ‘belties’

These cattle have a distinctive swath of white hair that encircles their bodies.  That’s where the ‘belted’ part of Belted Galloway comes from.  They’re also known as ‘belties.’

White Galloway cowPhoto courtesy of iStock / anyaivanova

There’s also an ‘unbelted’ Galloway

Galloway cattle without the distinctive belt can also be observed – and their coats are just as fluffy, helping to insulate them during the winter.

Baby belted GallowayPhoto courtesy of iStock / DejaVu Designs

Where do belties live?

Like Highland cattle, Galloway cows originated in Scotland, specifically from the Galloway region around the 17th century.  Belted Galloways were later established as a separate breed in 1921.  Unlike Highland cattle, belties are a rare breed.  They can be found in countries around the globe including the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, and Brazil, but the populations are small.

Belted Galloways in ScotlandPhoto courtesy of iStock / JohnFScott

Are belties friendly, too?

Galloways are known to be of a docile and quiet temperament, but it’s certainly been said they can be difficult to handle.  As with any large animal, one should always be mindful of their approach.  Just enjoy seeing their amazingly adorable faces from afar – unless you’ve invited to see them closer.

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