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Ireland’s Rare Livestock

March 17, 2014

We do the rare breeds because they work. On St. Patrick’s day many look to Ireland in celebration. Many in Ireland have long been farmers, and some of those traditional Irish breeds are in danger.

Here are a few – some that we don’t have due to room or scarcity.

Kerry cattle have a long history in Ireland. They were developed for dairy use in rural poor areas, and today are critically endangered, with under 2,000 worldwide and less than 200 per year in the US. The more popular Dexter has become less rare.

Irish Draught horses number less than 2500 per year in the US and less than 10,000 globally. The Irish farm horse needed to be durable, and this breed dates back to the 1700s.

Irish Moiled is a dual purpose breed of cattle, bred for milk and meat. I’m not aware of any in the US, and they were once down to just 30 cows from extinction. The numbers are improving, but definitely it’s a breed in need of serious conservation.

Less rare but not common to many is the athletic Connemara pony.

These are just a few breeds native to Ireland. May they still be around for our grandchildren.

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