If you’re wondering if cows have fur, hair or just skin, the answer is that cows have hair that occasionally need to be trimmed with a great pair of cattle clippers. Some people think that cows have fur on their bodies instead of hair or think that the terms are interchangeable, but this isn’t necessarily the case, and it can often be hard to pinpoint exactly why.

While hair and fur have the same chemical makeup and both are made up of keratin, the difference lies in the type of hair, growth pattern, purpose, and texture.

Why Cows Have Hair Instead of Fur?

While hair is a characteristic of all mammals, which includes cows, and fur is a reference to the hair of animals, we can definitively say that cows have hair instead of fur because of the following:

  • Growth: Hair grows to a certain length and then stops growing
  • Purpose: Hair is longer, softer and can provide some protection against the elements. Fur, on the other hand, is an insulator that is shorter, coarser and keeps animals warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  • Texture: The texture of fur is generally thicker and more dense than hair

Now we can see that cows have hair instead of fur because a cow’s hair grows to a certain length, provides minimal protection against the elements, and is not particularly thick or dense.

The Correlation Between Cattle Hair & Health

In humans, the condition of our hair can often point to a nutritional deficiency, a thyroid problem, or other health issues. It’s the same with cattle too; healthy cattle have healthy hair. This is because healthy hair needs a certain amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals to grow properly.

If a cow is not provided with enough protein, vitamins, and minerals, it can result in hair that is dull, off-colored, and brittle. This can point to other issues including problems with reproduction, immune function, and growth.