Sahiwal Cow: It’s Origin and Significance

Sahiwal cow are from central Punjab’s arid Punjab area. Skilled herders known as “Charwahas” used to keep them in huge groups. Pakistan’s Sahiwal cow breed is a valuable genetic asset. The Sahiwal is now considered one of Pakistan’s greatest milk productions. When it comes to milking, Sahiwal is composed.

Sahiwal Cow can be found in Punjab’s districts of Multan, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Okara, and Pakpattan. The Sahiwal district, part of the breed’s home territory, is named after the breed.

Brief history of Sahiwal Cow

The Sahiwal cattle, also known as the Lola or Montgomery, is a breed of domestic cattle originating in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India. The breed is named after the Sahiwal district, which is located in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

The Sahiwal cattle is believed to have descended from the indigenous zebu cattle of the region, bred with breeds imported from Africa and the Middle East. The breed is known for its high milk yield, heat tolerance, and disease resistance.

In the early 20th century, the Sahiwal breed was introduced to Australia, where it was selectively bred for dairy production. In the 1950s, the Sahiwal was introduced to Kenya, where it was crossbred with the local zebu cattle to create a new breed, the Kenyan Sahiwal.

The Sahiwal cattle is found in many countries worldwide, including Pakistan, India, Australia, Kenya, and the United States. It is highly valued for its milk production and adaptability to different climates and environments.

Significance of Sahiwal Cow in different regions

Sahiwal cattle is a breed of cattle originating from Pakistan and India. They are highly valued for their milk production, draught power, and ability to thrive in hot and humid climates. The significance of the Sahiwal cow varies across regions depending on their needs and preferences.

Pakistan: Sahiwal cattle is considered one of the most important dairy breeds in Pakistan. They are highly valued for their milk production, and many dairy farmers prefer Sahiwal cows because they can produce milk even in hot and humid climates. Sahiwal cattle is also used for beef production and as a draught animal for plowing fields.

India: Sahiwal cow is one of the popular cattle breeds in India. They are highly valued for their milk production and are used for commercial and household milk production. Sahiwal cattles are also used for plowing fields and transporting goods and people.

Africa: Sahiwal cows are popular in many African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. They are highly valued for their ability to thrive in hot and humid climates and their resistance to many tropical diseases. Sahiwal cows are also used for beef production and as draught animals.

South America: Sahiwal cows are mainly used for beef production in South America. They are highly valued for their meat quality and ability to adapt to different environments.

Origin of Sahiwal Cow

They have been transported to other Asian countries, the Caribbean, and Africa because of their thermal dissipation and excellent dairy production. This variety has a plump physique and is medium in size.

In the 1950s, the Sahiwal was shipped to Australia through New Guinea. The Sahiwal was chosen as a dual-purpose animal in Australia at first.   It was crucial in establishing the Australian Fresian Sahiwal and the Australian Milking Zebu, two tropical milk varieties indigenous to Australia.

Combining high-class Sahiwal sires with Bos indicus cows yielded a carcass of poor quality with appropriate fatty coverage. Therefore Sahiwal is now primarily used for meat production in Australia. The Sahiwal was developed in Pakistan for dairy production and in Australia for meat production. Still, it has also been sold to India, Africa, the Caribbean, and other regions of Asia.

Characteristics of Sahiwal Cow

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

The Sahiwal cow is a breed of domestic cattle that originated in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India. Here are some of their physical characteristics:

  • Size: Sahiwal cows are medium to large-sized animals, with males weighing around 450-550 kg and females weighing around 350-450 kg.
  • Color: They have a light reddish-brown to dark reddish-brown coat with a glossy sheen. Some individuals may also have white markings on their faces and legs.
  • Horns: Sahiwal cows have medium-sized horns that are slightly curved and point upwards. They are usually white or light-colored.
  • Body shape: The Sahiwal cow has a long, slender body with a slightly curved back. They have a deep, wide chest and a straight, strong back.
  • Udder: The udder of a Sahiwal cow is well-developed and rounded, with four teats.
  • Temperament: They are known for their docile and calm temperament, making them easy to handle and manage.

Milk Production and Nutritional Content

Sahiwal cows are a breed of Zebu cattle native to the Indian subcontinent. They are well-known for their high milk production and nutritional content of their milk. Here are some details about the milk production and nutritional content of Sahiwal cow’s milk:

Milk production:

Sahiwal cows produce milk with high butterfat content, which is ideal for making butter and ghee. On average, a Sahiwal cow can produce between 6 to 8 liters of milk per day; in some cases, it can produce up to 12 liters. Their milk production is consistent throughout the year.

Nutritional content:

Sahiwal cow’s milk is rich in nutrients and highly nutritious. The following are some of the key nutrients found in Sahiwal cow’s milk:

  • Protein: Sahiwal cow’s milk contains about 3.8% protein, which is higher than most other breeds of cows.
  • Fat: The milk of Sahiwal cows has a high butterfat content of around 5%, making it suitable for making ghee and butter.
  • Vitamins: Sahiwal cow’s milk is a good source of vitamins, particularly vitamins A and D. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy skin and eyesight, while vitamin D is essential for bone health.
  • Minerals: Sahiwal cow’s milk contains calcium, phosphorus, and potassium minerals. These minerals are important for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as for regulating blood pressure.

Sahiwal cows are known for their high milk production and the nutritional content of their milk, which is rich in protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

Adaptability and Hardiness

Sahiwal cows are known for their adaptability and hardiness, as they are well-suited to hot and humid climates and can tolerate various environmental conditions. Here are some specific examples of their adaptability and hardiness:

Heat tolerance: Sahiwal cows adapt well to hot and humid climates and tolerate high temperatures and humidity. They have a high sweating capacity, which helps to regulate their body temperature in hot weather.

Disease resistance: Sahiwal cows have a strong immune system and are less prone to diseases than other breeds. They are particularly resistant to tick-borne diseases, common in tropical regions.

Nutritional adaptability: Sahiwal cows can survive low-quality forage and extract more nutrients from roughages than other breeds. They have a higher feed conversion efficiency, meaning they can produce more milk and meat from the same amount of feed.

Drought tolerance: Sahiwal cows can survive in areas with low rainfall and subsist on limited water resources. They have a higher water-use efficiency, requiring less water than other breeds to produce the same amount of milk and meat.

Breeding and Rearing Sahiwal Cow

Breeding Sahiwal Cow:

  • Sahiwal cows can be bred through natural mating or artificial insemination.
  • Breeding the cow when she is around 2-3 years old and weighs at least 350 kg is recommended.
  • The breeding season for Sahiwal cows is typically from September to February, which coincides with the cooler months.
  • Before breeding, ensure the cow is in good health, has proper nutrition, and is free from diseases or infections.

Rearing Sahiwal Cow:

  • Sahiwal cows require a balanced diet consisting of roughage, such as hay or grass, and concentrate feeds, such as grains and protein supplements.
  • Ensure that the cow has access to clean water at all times.
  • Regularly monitor the cow’s health and watch for any signs of illness or infection.
  • Provide a clean and comfortable shelter for the cow to rest and protect her from extreme weather conditions.
  • Practice good hygiene by regularly cleaning the cow’s shelter and providing proper sanitation.
  • Schedule regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations to keep the cow healthy and prevent potential diseases.

Preparation of the breeding site

Preparing a suitable breeding site for Sahiwal cows is essential to ensure the animals’ health and safety and maximize their reproductive potential. Here are some steps to consider when preparing a breeding site for Sahiwal cows:

Shelter: The breeding site should have a shelter that protects the cows from extreme weather conditions such as rain, sun, wind, and cold. The shelter should be spacious enough to accommodate the cows comfortably.
Fencing: The breeding site should be fenced to prevent the cows from wandering off and to keep predators out. The fence should be sturdy and at least five feet tall.
Water supply: The breeding site should have a reliable source of clean drinking water. It is essential to ensure that the water is always available and easily accessible to the cows.

Feeding: The cows should have a balanced diet that includes hay, silage, and concentrates. The feeding area should be clean and free from obstructions to allow the cows to feed comfortably.
Breeding facilities: The breeding site should have proper facilities for breeding, including a breeding chute or pen, a breeding mount, and an area for semen collection and storage.
Health and hygiene: The breeding site should be kept clean and free from any potential sources of infection. Maintaining good hygiene practices and providing regular veterinary care to keep the cows healthy is essential.

Care and feeding of the cow during pregnancy

Sahiwal cows are a breed of dairy cattle originating in Pakistan and are known for their high milk yield and adaptability to hot and humid environments. Proper care and feeding during pregnancy are essential to ensure the cow’s and calf’s health and well-being. Here are some tips on caring for a Sahiwal cow during pregnancy:

Nutrition: During pregnancy, the cow’s nutritional requirements increase significantly, and providing a balanced and high-quality diet is essential. A Sahiwal cow should have access to good quality hay or forage and a balanced concentrate feed that contains essential minerals, vitamins, and proteins. The diet should be formulated by a qualified nutritionist and adjusted according to the cow’s body condition score, stage of pregnancy, and milk production level.

Water: Access to clean and fresh water is essential for pregnant cows. Ensure that the water source is clean and available at all times.

Housing: A pregnant Sahiwal cow should be housed in a comfortable and clean environment, away from harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat, cold, or rain. The housing should be spacious enough to allow free movement and prevent injuries.

Veterinary Care: Regular veterinary check-ups are necessary during pregnancy to monitor the cow’s health and address potential health issues. Ensure that the cow receives all the necessary vaccinations and deworming treatments.

Exercise: Regular exercise is essential for the cow’s overall health and helps to maintain muscle tone and prevent weight gain. Allow the cow to graze and move around in a safe and secure environment.

Following these tips ensures that your Sahiwal cow receives the proper care and nutrition during pregnancy, resulting in a healthy calf and increased milk production.

Postnatal care of the cow and calf

Postnatal care of the cow and calf is essential to ensure their health and well-being. Here are some general guidelines for postnatal care of a Sahiwal cow and calf:

Provide a clean and comfortable environment: The cow and calf should be kept in a clean, dry area with enough space to move around. The area should be free from sharp objects, and the flooring should be non-slippery.

Monitor the cow and calf: After calving, it is essential to monitor the cow and calf for any signs of illness or distress. The cow’s udder should be checked for signs of swelling or infection, and the calf’s suckling behavior should be monitored.

Colostrum feeding: The calf should be fed colostrum within the first few hours of birth. Colostrum is essential for the calf’s immune system and helps protect against diseases.

Vaccinations: The cow and calf should be vaccinated against common diseases. Consult with your veterinarian for the appropriate vaccination schedule.

Nutritious diet: The cow should be fed a nutritious diet to help with milk production and maintain her health. The calf should be weaned off milk and gradually introduced to solid feed.

Regular check-ups: A veterinarian can help identify health issues and provide appropriate treatment.

Proper hygiene: Proper hygiene should be maintained during milking, and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected after use.

Uses of Sahiwal Cow

The Sahiwal cow is a breed of Zebu cattle highly valued for its milk and meat production and its hardiness and adaptability to harsh environments. Here are some of the uses of the Sahiwal cow:

Milk Production

a Sahiwal cow can produce about 8-10 liters of milk daily. However, with proper nutrition and care, some Sahiwal cows have been known to produce up to 15-20 liters of milk per day.

The milk produced by Sahiwal cows is of high quality, with a high butterfat content and a rich, creamy texture. It is ideal for producing butter, ghee, and other dairy products.

In addition to their high milk production, Sahiwal cows are known for their docile temperament and adaptability to different climates and environments. They are a popular breed among dairy farmers, particularly in developing countries, due to their high milk production, low maintenance requirements, and ability to thrive in harsh conditions.

Cultural Significance

The Sahiwal cow is a cattle breed native to the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. It is highly prized for its milk production and used for meat and draught purposes. Here are some of the cultural significances of the Sahiwal cow:

Religious Significance: Many Hindus consider the Sahiwal cow sacred and worship it as a symbol of motherhood, purity, and strength. It is believed that cows have a divine connection and that their milk is a form of nectar.

Traditional Significance: In rural parts of India and Pakistan, the Sahiwal cow has been essential to traditional farming and agricultural practices for centuries. It is still commonly used for plowing fields, transporting goods, and producing milk.

Culinary Significance: The Sahiwal cow’s milk is highly nutritious and is used to make many traditional dairy products such as ghee, butter, and yogurt. Its meat is also considered a delicacy in many regions and is used to make dishes like biryani and kebabs.

Economic Significance: The Sahiwal cow is an important source of income for many farmers in India and Pakistan. The cow’s milk is sold to local markets, while the animal’s dung and urine are used for fuel and fertilizers.

Environmental Significance: The Sahiwal cow is well-suited to the hot and arid conditions of the Punjab region and can thrive in areas where other breeds would struggle. As a result, it plays an essential role in maintaining the region’s biodiversity and ecosystem.

Challenges and Conservation Efforts

They face several challenges related to their conservation and sustainability. Some of the challenges and conservation efforts related to Sahiwal cows are:

Genetic erosion: Genetic erosion is a significant threat to Sahiwal cows, as crossbreeding with other breeds has led to a loss of their genetic diversity. It has resulted in a decline in population size and genetic variation, making them more vulnerable to diseases and environmental stressors.

Conservation efforts: Various conservation efforts are being undertaken to preserve the genetic diversity of Sahiwal cows. These include the establishment of breed societies, conservation breeding programs, and the development of cryopreservation techniques for semen and embryos.

The population decline: The population of Sahiwal cows has declined due to the increasing popularity of exotic breeds and the lack of awareness about the benefits of local breeds. As a result, the Sahiwal cow is now considered an endangered breed.

Conservation efforts: Several organizations are working towards the conservation of Sahiwal cows. These include Pakistan’s Livestock and Dairy Development Board, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and the Sahiwal Cattle Breeders Society. These organizations promote the breeding and conservation of Sahiwal cows and raise awareness about their benefits.

Climate change: Climate change is a significant threat to Sahiwal cows, as it can lead to drought, heat stress, and disease outbreaks. It can result in a decline in their population size and productivity.

Conservation efforts: To mitigate the impact of climate change, several conservation efforts are being undertaken. These include the development of heat-tolerant breeds, the improvement of grazing management practices, and the promotion of agroforestry practices.

Lack of adequate healthcare: Sahiwal cows are susceptible to several diseases, including mastitis, foot-and-mouth disease, and tick-borne diseases. However, the need for adequate healthcare facilities and veterinary services is a significant challenge to their conservation.

Conservation efforts: Various organizations are working towards improving healthcare services for Sahiwal cows. These include the establishment of veterinary hospitals and clinics, the training of veterinarians and farmers, and the promotion of vaccination programs.

Government initiatives: The governments of Pakistan and India have established programs to promote the conservation and development of indigenous breeds of livestock, including the Sahiwal cow. These programs provide financial incentives to farmers who keep Sahiwal cows, and they also conduct research and development activities to improve the breed.

Breed societies: Several breed societies in Pakistan and India are dedicated to promoting and conserving the Sahiwal cow. These societies organize events and exhibitions to showcase the breed and provide training and support to farmers who keep Sahiwal cows.

Conservation centers: In Pakistan, the Sahiwal cattle breed is being conserved at the Livestock Experiment Station in Rakh Khairewala, Okara. The center is engaged in research and development activities to improve the breed and maintains a herd of purebred Sahiwal cows.

Community involvement: Many communities in Pakistan and India have a strong cultural attachment to the Sahiwal cow, and efforts are being made to involve them in conservation activities. It includes providing training and support to farmers and promoting the use of Sahiwal milk and other products.

Physical Description of Sahiwal Cow

  • Males have a deeper coloration around the neck, orbit, and hind legs, while females have a reddish-brown tint.
  • Female breeds are frequently dehorned, while male breeds have stumpy horns.
  • Ears are droopy and average in size.
  • With a copious sheath and dewlap, the skin is loose and smooth.
  • The male has a large hump, whilst the female has a minor hump.
  • The tail comes to a halt at a black latch. Because its skin naturally shivers, this animal is tick resistive.

Average Weight and Lactation

With a high caloric of 4.5 percent, milk output is 1500-2200 liters per lactation. Females weigh 300 to 350 kilograms, whereas male cattle breeds weigh 400-500 kilograms. Males weighing more than 1000 kilograms have also been observed. Lactation lasts an average of 235 days. The age, health, and milk production of a typical Sahiwal cow is all factors to consider. We can buy a Sahiwal cow for Rs “60,000-75,000”.

Advantages of Sahiwal Cattle:

Milk from Sahiwal cows includes 5 to 6 percent fat, while dairy from other varieties comprises less than 3 percent fat.  Sahiwal’s dairy has three types of protein:  beta, globin, and alpha.

Both the A1 and A2 genotypes are present in beta proteins. Allele A2, which encodes proline instead of the histidine proteins seen in other breeds’ dairy, was found in the Sahiwal variety.

Sahiwal’s dairy is a treasure to humankind because it assists in curing ailments like diabetes, cardiovascular, and cholesterol disease due to the presence of this extra allele. As a result, the Sahiwal cow is considered an important variety.

Other imported cattle varieties can produce up to 60 liters of dairy daily. However, Sahiwal can give milk approximately 20 liters at a time. It can give birth multiple times a lifetime, although most animals can only do it 3 – 4 times.

It can also resist inclement conditions, unlike other imported varieties that require a steady temperature to thrive. It has a gestation period of 21-22 months and is widely regarded as the most intellectual.

Disadvantages of Sahiwal Cattle:

The Sahiwal cow breed is a healthy breed with many advantages, except that it demands more feed than other import breeds. They drink plenty of clean and fresh water. Therefore landowners must confine them to a large area with ample food and water.


Sahiwal cows are medium to large animals with short, glossy coats ranging from reddish-brown to dark brown. They have strong, muscular bodies with broad foreheads and slightly curved horns.

Regarding milk production, Sahiwal cows produce high fat and protein content, making them ideal for dairy products such as cheese, butter, and yogurt. The breed is also suitable for meat production, with good quality and flavor beef.

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