The Boran: God's Gift To Cattlemen

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Boran cattle have developed adaptive traits of crucial importance for their survival. Some of these characters are: - Ability to withstand periodic shortage of water and feed, ability to walk long distances in search of water and feed and ability to digest low quality feeds." (Haile-Mariam, et al. "Boran - indigenous cattle with potential" 1994).Ability to walk and survive starts with sound feet and leg conformation. Dark pigmentation and black points protect against sunburn. The herd instinct of the Boran makes it easy to manage and survive in bush country. They will always stay together and can 'graze on the trot'. The cow's strong protective instinct deters predators. "Animals with Boran genes have a relatively low maintenance requirement. This was substantiated in a recent study at the US Meat Animal Research Centre in Nebraska". (Haile-Mariam, Sprinkle et al. 1998). "…young Boran animals can make dramatic recoveries after drought years when pasture conditions improve" (Coppock, 1994.) Being adapted to hot dry conditions, the Boran, with its lower maintenance requirement has a better chance of surviving droughts than Bos taurus breeds. The Boran cow will cease lactating in adverse conditions, letting her live to conceive again when conditions improve. Borans are generally more docile and tractable than other Zebu cattle. Large numbers of Boran bulls kept in one herd cause little trouble. Females are easy to handle, although cows with newborn calves can be naturally aggressive when protecting their offspring. Boran cows live long and productive lives and remain sound-mouthed for fifteen years or more. The practical effect of this trait is a low replacement rate of the breeding herd. Bulls are active and fertile until well over ten years of age.

Standard Of Excellence

General Appearance

The Boran is of medium frame size with sound muscling and mass for age. The various body parts are in perfect balance with each other. The breed reflects considerable sex dimorphism, with bulls much larger than cows that are smaller and of a more feminine appearance. Both sexes display typical Boran characteristics (hump, capacity. skin, muscling, head, muzzle, condition, tail, dewlap, etc.


Compact and wide between the eyes with prominent brows. Ears are relatively small with short hair. The mouth is wide with strongly defined jaw and strong lips. The eyes, ears, muzzle and nose are well pigmented. The head is well muscled and viewed from the side it would appear somewhat convex due to the muscling above the eyes but the nose area is dry.


Deep and relatively compact, well joined at the front and back. Bulls have strong, broad and well-muscled necks, dark in colour and well joined to the shoulders and head. The prominent dewlap covers the deep and full chest at the front which should not slope downwards.


Deep, wide, well muscled and well joined.(Fertile cows display rather loose shoulders).


Placed directly above and in line with the front legs, rounded, well developed and forming part of the body.

Back and Loins

Long, broad, straight, strong and well muscled.

Chest and Mid Piece

Wide and deep. Well filled out behind shoulders and elbow. Ribs should be well sprung placed at an angle towards the rear and viewed from behind should not appear rounded or flat sided. The stomach should display enormous capacity (length, width and depth) and viewed from the side, the mid section should appear square with deep flanks.


Not too large and pendulous, hanging at an angle towards the front and ending in a V-shape, no too fleshy, sphincter with good control. A well developed perpetual muscle to be visible.


Long and wide from hip to pin bones. Should not be roofy and should slope approximately 22.5 degrees from hip to pin bones. Pelvic ridge should not be too prominent and the whole of the rump should be well muscled. Thurls to be placed lower than pin pones.


Long prominent sacrum with broad tail head placed somewhat higher than pinbones Non-prominent tail head somewhat higher than pin bones. Tail is long tapering to a narrow tip ending in a large, well pigmented and thick switch.


Seen from the side and the rear it should be broad and full sloping towards 2nd thigh. The widest part on the hindquarter is at the stifle joint.

Hind Legs

Widely placed, strong and at a good angle (not too straight or sickle hocked) and neither too fine or too coarse. A leg of medium length should be in balance with the rest of the body.

Pastern & Hooves

Pasterns not too straight or too weak. Hooves straight, symmetrical, straight on the inside, with hooves short, deep and well pigmented and placed right next to each other. Even mass distribution should be evident and front legs should be straight with no swelling on hoof crown.

Udder & Genitals

Well-developed udder with well pigmented teats of medium size. Well developed and pigmented vulva. The scrotum to be large with a narrow neck and not much lower than the hock. Even sized testicles with the scrotum being soft and smooth with short hair, not twisted and well pigmented especially at the tip.

Movement and Temperament

The Boran moves with ease and vigour with legs and feet remaining parallel and not turning in or out. The Boran is calm, easy to handle and even tempered. .