Ladakhi breed is found in the high-altitude desert region where the main source of water is the winter snowfall on the mountains. These cattle are native to the Leh-Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, and have their breeding tracts in and around the Leh and Kargil districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakhi cattle is a unique germplasm having excellent adaptation to high atmospheric conditions.

The regions on the north flank of the Himalayas experience heavy snowfall and remain virtually cut off from the rest of the country for several months in the year, while summers are short but long enough to grow crops. The proportion of oxygen is comparatively less due to a lack of vegetation. Nevertheless, these are well adapted to the extreme cold climatic and hypoxic (decreased oxygen supply) conditions.

This breed like the other native breeds are known for their resistance to diseases and their ability to thrive on low input system.

These cattle are reared under the extensive system for milk, draft and manure purposes. This cow is a great source of A2 milk. In spite of extreme climatic conditions, subsistence on poor quality feed and low availability of water, it produces around 2 to 5 kg of milk per day.

Milk of this breed serves as an important protein source for local people, particularly during lean winter periods. Since its milk has a high fat percentage, it is used for producing butter and churpi – an important part of the local diet.


  • These are compact, small-sized and short-statured cattle with short limbs.
  • They are mostly black-coloured cattle, but brown coloured ones are also seen.
  • The horns are curved slightly, upward and forward, ending with pointed tips.
  • The forehead is straight, small and hairy with a slightly long face.
  • The udder is small in size and bowl-shaped.
  • Body length of both male and female averages at 88 to 89 cms.
  • Height of both males and females averages at 93 cms.
  • Chest girth of both males and females averages between 117 to 119 cms.
  • Parturition period averages to about 350 days.
  • Age at first calving averages at 48 months.
  • The milk yield is around 2 to 5 Kgs. per day.
  • Milk fat averages at 4.6 % and daily milk yield ranges from 1.5 to 4 kgs.

Incidentally, a technical bulletin “Ladakhi Cattle: A Unique Animal Genetic Resource Adapted to High Altitute of Leh-Ladakh” released by ICAR provides insight into the research conducted by scientists and researchers.

It is very important to take up measures for the improvement, protection and conservation of this breed of cattle. Necessary efforts are being put in place.

Indian Cow Facts

The lactating cows are provided additional feed-Thuchu that is left- over food (rice, raw vegetables, sattu, etc) and local barley straw.

In winter, farmers mix local barley grains/sattu in hot salted water and feed it to the cattle especially to the lactating cows.