Home Dairy Cows How much do cows weigh?

How much do cows weigh?


Dairy Cows weigh a lot

Have you ever wondered how big cows are. If so, you came to the right place. Cows are actually very large animals, but how large exactly.

A full grown Holstein cow weighs an average of about 1,500 lbs. That’s nearly 1 ton. But her size depends on a variety of factors like age, feeding, genetic potential, and other factors. A cow’s weight can vary between 1,000 and 1,800 lbs. Most other breed dairy cows weigh similar, noting though that Jerseys are the smallest breed averaging about 1,000 lbs.

Average Breed Weight 

  • Holstein = 1,500 lbs.
  • Brown Swiss = 1,800 lbs.
  • Jersey = 1,000 lbs.
  • Guernsey = 1,100 lbs.
  • Ayrshire = 1,200 lbs.

Dairy calves are much smaller, but even when they are born they still weight a whopping 85 lbs. on average. It takes the calves about 2-3 years to reach a full grown size.

If at this point, you’re thinking that cows aren’t very big; try having one of these ladies accidentally step on your toe. I can assure you from my experience that it doesn’t feel good.

Baby Calf

**The typical dairy calf weighs about 85 lbs. when born**

Dairy Cows weigh the same as…

Interestingly, compared to other things, a dairy cows weighs similar to the heart of a blue whale which weighs about 1,300 lbs., which is just a small part of a whales massive body.

Dairy cows also weigh pretty similar to Grizzly and Polar bears which both weigh an average of 1,150 lbs. Roughly speaking, Jerseys would weigh the same as a Grizzly or Polar bear.


**A dairy cow weighs similar to the heart of a blue whale**

Why are Dairy Cows Skinny?

Dairy cows are lean, extremely stylish, and don’t do a good job packing on the pounds, so why are they so skinny? Some people might think at first glance that dairy cows are skinny because dairy farmers are milking them all the time, but that’s not the case.

Dairy cows aren’t bred to gain weight. Bulking up isn’t a necessary trait for dairy cows, and really doesn’t affect milk production at all. Usually a cleaner boned cow produces much more milk than one that is packing on pounds. Instead of storing the energy in the form of fat, the stylish, thin cows do a really good job converting that energy to milk instead.

These traits (milk production and bulking up) are actually the opposite of one another. That’s really the reason why there are dairy cows, and beef cows. With dairy cows, you can focus breeding on efficiencies towards milk production and feeding efficiency rather than fat storage. Likewise with beef cows, you can really focus breeding on marbling, and putting on pounds.

If you think about it, it’s just like people. With people there are all sorts of different sizes and colors. It’s not a bad thing, just natural that there are differences. Just because dairy cows are thin, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t healthy, they are just as healthy as beef cows. Dairy cows are just different!

Dairy Cow   Beef Cow

**Naturally different: Dairy cows convert energy to milk, while beef cows convert energy to fat**

Have a burning question?

If you have a burning question, or want some more detail on this topic, feel free to let me know in the comments below.


  1. this was very helpful. I have a patient and a dairy cow stepped on his foot. Now I know why he is so much pain.

Comments are closed.