Cows and Bulls belong to the Bovidae family and, collectively, are referred to as bovine(animals that are part of a cattle group).
Both these animals have been classified under the Bos Taurus species. The cow is a fully-grown female bovine that can give birth to calves.
The word “Cow” is generally used to refer to the female gender of animals such as buffaloes, seals, and other mammalian species.
- Cows are adult female cattle that have given birth to at least one calf; bulls are adult male cattle.
- Cows primarily serve as milk producers and for breeding purposes; bulls are used for breeding or as meat producers.
- Both cows and bulls are part of the domesticated cattle species, Bos taurus, but they serve different roles in agriculture and animal husbandry.
Cow vs Bull
The difference between cow and bull is that the former is a female bovine that can give birth to calves, while the latter is a fully grown male bovine that has not been castrated.
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The bull is a mature, fully-grown male bovine(also called a cow).
These male bovines are specifically not castrated, so they may be able to father offspring instead of being used for beef like a steer.
|Parameters of Comparison||Cow||Bull|
|Gender||A cow is a mature and grown female member of the Bovinae subfamily(aged at least four years old).||A bull is a fully matured male member of the Bovinae subfamily who hasn’t been castrated.|
|Terminology||The word cow is commonly used to describe the female gender of animals such as buffaloes, seals, and other mammalian species.||The term bull can indicate the male gender of buffaloes and the bovine family.|
|Purpose||The cow is raised as livestock, capable of providing milk for dairy products.||The primary purpose of a bull is to help in cattle operation and the reproduction of offspring for livestock.|
|Life span/service span||A cow can live up to almost 20 years, during which they are used to produce offspring.||Bulls can be used for service for only 10-12 years, even with a higher life expectancy.|
|Basic nature||The cows are considered to be of calm and gentle nature, and hence why they are easier to breed and herd.||Bulls are more violent and can be dangerous compared to cows, so they are difficult to herd.|
What is Cow?
Cows belong to the family Bos Taurus and the subfamily Bovinae.
They have existed as long as humankind has and have been a primary food resource for many people.
The term cow causes a lot of confusion to a few because it can be attributed to the female gender of many large mammalian species, such as buffalos, seals, etc.
Cows, from the beginning, have served the purpose of providing sapiens with food, even during the time of the Neandertals.
A female bovine is considered a cow if she is at least four years old, has given birth to at least one calf or is mature and capable enough to reproduce.
Another primary and essential function of the cow is to provide milk for dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese.
Ever since the industrialisation era, cows have been herded and brought together at factories so that they can be used to obtain milk.
Cows can be of service for more than 13 years and live up to 20 years of age too. When they do not assist the herder, the cow is put down and used to provide meat.
What is Bull?
A bull is a mature, grown male Bovinae family member who has never been castrated.
Bull can also refer to the male gender of other species, such as buffalos.
The primary purpose of not castrating bulls is that some male members of the bovine family, who are well-built and healthy throughout their life, are selected to breed with female cows to produce good offspring.
The bull is much more challenging to breed and herd than other members of the bovine, and this is because of the impulsive and violent behaviour that makes them immensely dangerous and difficult to control.
These creatures are so dangerous and chaotic that, at times, they are used for sporting events such as bullfighting and bull riding to show acts of bravery.
Bulls are even used in the famous “Running of the bulls” seen in Spain, where several members participate in running down the streets, all the while being chased by violent bulls.
Bulls can be kept in service for only about 10 to 12 years; After that, they are put down by the herders and used for providing beef.
Main Differences Between Cow and Bull
- A cow is a mature female member of the Bovinae subfamily, while the bull is a mature male bovine who hasn’t been castrated.
- A cow is herded as livestock and gives birth to calves, while a bull helps in the reproduction process of calves and can be used for meat.
- The term cow generally refers to the female animals of many large mammalian species, while the bull refers to males of buffalos and bovines.
- Cows are calmer, more gentle members of bovine, while bulls are seen to be violent and dangerous.
- Cows can live up to 20 years of age and be of service for most of that time, while bulls are serviceable for a maximum of 12 years only.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.