Dairy Breeds

Dairy Breeds — Guernsey


Dairy Barn, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum


The Guernsey is a breed of dairy cattle developed on the Island of Guernsey in the English Channel. The breed originated from French cattle brought to the island by monks about 980 A.D. Guernseys were first imported to Canada by Sir John Abbott, a former Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture in 1878. These cows are very adaptable. They do well under close confinement, such as zero grazing or dry lot feeding. They also handle intensive and extensive grazing conditions well.

The Guernsey breed has been declared endangered by Rare Breeds Canada. Its numbers have declined dramatically in recent years. Guernseys are distinguished by their tan and white colouring. They produce an average of 23 litres of milk per day with a high fat content (similar to the Brown Swiss).

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