This ancient race of cattle can trace its origins back more than a thousand years. Well known in its native Ireland, the Kerry has long been considered a national symbol of Irish heritage. Kerrys have a refined appearance, with elegant, satin-like black coats, often with white markings on the underside or udder. Cows can weigh as much as 800 to 1,000 pounds, while the bulls reach up to 1,300 pounds.
The Kerry has been called the world’s first true dairy cow, with an average annual milk production, from a good cow, of 7,700 to 9,900 pounds per year. These cattle are slow-growing but long-lived, with cows often having calves with ease at 15 years of age or older. Considered to be one of the best “family cows,” they are well known for producing good amounts of milk on little forage.
The Kerry breed is still critically rare, but populations are slowly increasing as people rediscover the homesteading qualities of this perfect backyard cow.