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The Ayrshire Cattle Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1 Racecourse Road, Ayr, Scotland KA7 2DE



Breed information


Geographical - historical info 

The Scottish ancestors of the Ayrshire were poorly built, black animals, which scarcely resembled modern Ayrshire cattle. The exact evolution of the Ayrshire breed is lost to history. 


The Ayrshire has been widely exported; there are herdbooks in Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Colombia, Kenya and South Africa. Large numbers went to the Scandinavian countries, where the breed gave rise to the Finnish Ayrshire, Swedish Red-and-White and Norwegian red


Finnish Ayrshire

Ayrshire cattle from Scotland and Sweden have been imported to Finland since 1845. Between 1847 and 1923 1,600 Ayrshires had arrived. Through the years, this stock has been crossed with native Finncattle, Norwegian Red and White, Danish Red, Angeln, Shorthorn, Jersey and Friesian, to produce the Finnish Ayrshire. These cattle have higher milk yields and better developed udders than the Scottish Ayrshire. Milk recording was started in 1898, and the breed society was formed in 1902. By 1960 the Finnish Ayrshire had become the country's principal breed. In 1990 the breed made up 77% of the Finnish national cattle herd, with approximately 400,000 cows.   


The high standard of the breed is shown by the export figures of frozen semen as well as breeding stock to more than 20 countries all over the world. 


Morphological info

Resembling the Scottish Ayrshire, these cows average 127 cm at the withers, weighing about 500 kg; bulls stand 145 cm and weigh approximately 1,000 kg. Milk production of 212,078 controlled cows averaged 4,675 kg at 4.51% fat and 3.30% protein in 1993. As a milk fat percentage of 3.70% is considered ideal today, and a high protein content is valued, the Finnish Ayrshire is currently selected for these qualities. 


Source: Marleen Felius, Cattle breeds - an encyclopedia, Doetinchem, Netherlands : Misset, 1995




Ayrshire links


Oklahoma University - Animal Science Dept

Ayrshire Cattle Society of Great Britain and Ireland

US Ayrshires

Ayrshire Canada

Ayrshire New Zealand

Finnish Ayrshire Breeders

FABA Breeding - Finland 

Australian Ayrshire Breeders Association




Basic breed info
Name: Ayrshire

Origin:  Scotland 

Status: Local/national/ global

Size: Medium

Purpose: Dairy/Beef



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