7 Fascinating Things about the Highland Cow

7 Fascinating Things about the Highland Cow

The highland cow is arguably Scotland’s most prominent resident. Renowned for their beautiful hairy coats and long horns, the highland cattle in the Cairngorms has found quite a reputation. The iconic animal is quite famous for its appearance and its friendly temperament. Behind the common image of the well-loved cattle, there are many facts and characteristics that add to the highland cow experience.

Here are 7 Fascinating Things about the Hairy Highland Cow that you will Definitely Love:
  • A cow is known as a ‘coo’ in Scots – a variety of old English spoken in the Highlands for hundreds of years. As such, the highland cows are commonly known as ‘Heilan coos’ in the Scottish Highlands. If you wish to see the cattle when you visit the Highlands, you can simply ask someone to point in the direction of the ‘hairy coos’.
  • The hairy, horned cows of the Highland are believed to be grazing the terrains of Scotland since the early sixth century. An integral part of Scotland’s history, the highland cattle is the oldest registered cattle breed in the world.
  • As per popular belief, the wavy and hairy coat of the highland cattle in the Cairngorms is red in colour. However, the cattle can be found in several other colours too. Other known coat colours include brindle, black, silver, yellow and white.
  • The highland cows have a fashionable fringe covering their forehead known as ‘dossan’. The fringe often covers their eyes too blocking their vision. Interestingly, no one is sure how the highland cows manage to find what they are looking for and navigate their way.
  • The highland cattle of Cairngorms is well-adapted to survive the harsh winter conditions in the Highlands. They have a double coat of hair – a long outer coat to shed away snow and rain and a downy undercoat to keep them warm. Their horns are also helpful in digging through snow and foraging for food in the winters. 
  • While a group of cattle is normally referred to as a ‘herd’; a group of Highland Cows is known as a ‘fold’. The term comes from the stone shelters called folds, in which the hairy cows were originally kept to protect them from the winter forces.
  • Highland cows are extremely protective of their little ones. Mother coos are known to breed beyond the age of 18, raising 15 or more calves in a lifetime.

The highland cows are truly magnificent having some great capabilities while being docile at the same time.

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