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Africander Cattle Breed Facts, Profile, Characteristics

Africander Cattle Breed Facts, Profile, Characteristics

Introduction of Africander Cattle breed:

Today, let us discuss about Africander Cattle Profile and Facts.

The Africander is a native South African cattle breed. It belongs to the Sanga type and is used mainly for meat production. It is also called as the Afrikaner. The breed is usually red in color with long lateral horns. Sanga cattle breed, in huge herds, was owned by the Hottentots when the Dutch established the Cape Colony in 1652. The Africander cattle breed developed from the native Khoi-Khoi cattle of the Cape of Good Hope which are thought to have arisen from the long horned Zebu and the Egyptian longhorn. The first Afrikaner breed studbook was formed in 1912 in South Africa in order to control the breed’s development. Although a high degree of inbreeding occurred at present time due to the recently exhausted numbers of this animal. Until the 1970s, the Afrikaner cattle breed where the most abundant breed of cattle in South Africa. But their popularity decreased among the local farmers due to the troubles associated with lowered fertility, inbreeding and decreased reproductive period in the Africander cows. Other reasons for decreasing their population include crossbreeding with exotic cattle breed and also the introduction of the Brahman cattle to southern Africa. The Africander cattle are South Africa’s most popular native breed, comprising 30% of the cattle population. Africander cattle breed exhibits good resistance to heat, a high level of tick resistance, quiet temperament and a satisfactorily high level of fertility under harsh conditions. Mature Africander cows weigh approximately 525 to 600 kg and bulls weigh 750 to 1000 kg. The total population of the cattle breed became very less, and they almost became extinct in the early 20th century.

History of Africander Cattle breed:

During the first half of the 20th century, Africanders were being bred to reduce the size of their hump, as this was unsightly to farmers used to the Taurine cattle shape. The breed was first imported into Australia in small numbers in the early days of colonization and reintroduced in the early 1950s via the United States of America when the CSIRO imported five bulls and two females to Belmont Research Station, near Rockhampton. The first release of stock to the public in Australia took place in 1960, when purebred bulls from Belmont Research Station were sold at open auction. In 1912, the first Africander studbook was formed in South Africa in order to control the breed’s development. However, due to the recently depleted numbers of Afrikaner cattle breed, a high degree of inbreeding occurred at this time. In 1923, it was proposed that Afrikaners be sent to the United States, and in 1932 the United States government imported a herd to introduce new blood to the Gulf Coast. In 1929, an Afrikaner bull, and two cows (one a calf) were gifted to the King George V by the Africander Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa. The first five Afrikaners arrived in Australia in 1953, and taken to the CSIRO’s Belmont station for research into their adaptability to the Australian climate. They were imported from Texas and Florida.

Typical breed Characteristics of Africander Cattle breed:

The Africander cattle breed is a medium to large animal usually with deep red color. It is very well muscled with long legs and shallow body. It has the small cervices-thoracic hump, which is typically of Sanga cattle breed type. Both Afrikaner bulls and cows have horns. Their horns are very long and lateral which turn upwards. But their horns are often polled in profitable operations. Afrikaner cattle Legs are slightly sickle shaped. Both bulls and cows Height is around 152 cm, but the bulls are pretty larger than the cows. The average live body weight of the mature cows is between 450 kg and 600 kg. And the live body weight of the mature bulls varies from 820 kg to 1090 kg.

Read: Shorthorn Cattle Facts.

Afrikaner Cattle Breed Profile:

Breed Name:   Africander

Other Name:   Afrikaner

Breed Purpose  Mainly for Meat

Special Notes:   Very well adapted to native climates, good for meat production, well muscled, good resistance to tick-borne diseases, economical to raise, good temperament, easy to handle, good fertility, cows are very maternal, used for crossbreeding

Breed Size:  Medium to large

Weight:  Bulls: 820-1090 kg

Cows: 450-600 kg

Climate Tolerance:  Native climates

Coat Color: Usually deep red colored

Milk Yield:  Poor

Country/Place of Origin:  South Africa.

Distribution of Africander Cattle breed:

This cattle breed is currently found in central and western Queensland, but shows potential for other areas, particularly the arid and semi-arid regions of northern Australia. The breed is presently found in Africa, Australia and tropical countries.

Characteristics of Africander Cattle:

Africander cattle breed exhibits good resistance to heat, a high level of tick resistance, quiet temperament and a satisfactorily high level of fertility under harsh conditions. It is a heavy beef-type animal and has very good meat quality but show lactation anestrus in times of environmental stress.

The Afrikaner cattle are very strong animals, and they are well adapted to their local hot, arid conditions. Their skin contains twice as many sweat pores as the European breeds. They have good resistance to tick-borne diseases. They have relatively very good temperament and are easy to handle. They are more economical to rise, and a large number of Africander cattle can be kept on the same plot of land as European cattle. The Africander cows are very fertile and they can continue to calve over their age of 16 years (with records showing cows calving at 21 years of age). The cows are generally very excellent mothers and most often one cow will care for a number of calves while their mothers graze elsewhere. The Africander bulls also often used for crossbreeding.

Read: Brown Swiss Cattle Facts.

Birth Weight of Africander

The Afrikaner gives a lighter calf at birth (30kg-35kg) and facilitates the birthing process, especially in heifers.

Meat Quality

The Africander has a double gene for meat tenderness which, together with the excellent marbling, makes the breed’s meat very tender.

Market Ready

The Africander with a medium frame has the ability to round-off from the veld and produce natural beef. However, they feed excellently on a cheap ration.

Parasite – resistance Characteristics

The Africander has a thick skin with strong subcutaneous muscles which give excellent protection against crawling and flying ectoparasites.

Tick Contamination

The Africander has an inherent resistance to ticks. The characteristic can greatly develop by way of selection and holds great promises for the future.

Eye Protection

The Africander has deep-placed eyes with movable eyebrows which offer protection against midges, flies, moths and solar radiation.

Handling of Heat

The Africander has a thick skin and short, glossy coat which helps with heat radiation.

Walking Ability

The Africander has an excellent walking ability and strong, hard hooves which enable them to walk up mountain slopes and grazes in sandy plains.

Veld Utilization

The Africander is very hardy and can maintain a reasonable condition in prolonged drought times by not only eating grass but also eating leaves.


The Africander has a good temperament and are easy to handle.


​The Afrikaner can easily serve (and be served) up to twelve years and its good teeth enable them to still maintain their condition even an elderly age.

Read: Panchagavya Preparation, Benefits.



– Excellent mothering ability, very easy calving and low calf mortality rates

– Weans very heavy cross-breed calves

– Capable of producing ten and more calves in a lifetime


– Bulls are virile, active and prolapse free

– Has a long productive life that means Up to 12 years and older

– It produces outstanding mother-line progeny in any crossbreeding program

– It produces top class slaughter oxen on the hoof as well as on the hook with any breed of cow


The Khoikhoi used the Africander cattle breed for both milk and meat production. They were used mainly as a draught animal after European settlement. But today they are raised mostly as a beef cattle breed for meat production.

Milk production of Africander Cow:

The Africander cow yield excellent and adequate milk for its calves. During a suckling period of 210 days, the calf on standard consumes 900 liters of milk.

Advantages of Africander Cattle breed:

Very excellent mothering ability (protects calves and looks after them) and milk production.

Africander have very good temperament.

Medium frame size, thus low maintenance requirements and very high economic efficiency.

Very Excellent dam line for cross breeding.

Excellent walking ability.

Very long productive life.

Well adapted in hard circumstances.

Read: HF Cow Facts.

Last Updated: December 23, 2018
Author: Jagdish

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