Difference Between Cow and Bull

Cows and Bulls belong to the Bovidae family, and as a collective are referred to as bovine (animals that are part of a cattle group). Both these animals have been classified under Bos Taurus species. The cow is a fully grown female bovine, that is able to 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.

Cow vs Bull

The main difference between cow and bull is that the former is a female bovine that is able to give birth to calves, while the latter is a fully grown male bovine that has not been castrated.

Cow vs Bull

The bull is a matured fully grown male bovine (also can be referred to as cow). These male bovines are specifically not castrated, so that they may be able to father an offspring, instead of being used for beef like a steer.


Comparison Table Between Cow and Bull (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonCowBull
GenderA cow is a matured 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.
TerminologyThe word cow is commonly used to describe the female gender of animals such as buffaloes, seals, and other mammalian species.The term bull can be used to indicate the male gender of buffaloes and the bovine family.
PurposeThe 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 offsprings for livestock.
Life span/service spanA cow can live up to almost 20 years, during which they are used to produce offsprings.Bulls can be used for service for only up to 10-12 years, even if they have a higher life expectancy.
Basic natureThe cows are considered to be of calm and gentle nature, and hence why they are easier to breed and herd.Bulls have more of a violent nature and can be dangerous as 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 played a primary role in being a 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, and 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 they live up to 20 years of age too. When they become of no assistance to the herder, the cow is put down and used to provide meat.


What is Bull?

A bull is a mature, grown male member of the Bovinae family who has not been castrated ever. The term bull can also be used to refer to the male gender of other species as well, 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 offsprings. The bull is much more difficult to breed and herd as compared to other members of the bovine, and this is because of the impulsive and violent behaviour that makes them immensely dangerous and challenging 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

  1. A cow is a matured female member of the Bovinae subfamily, while the bull is a grown male bovine who hasn’t been castrated.
  2. 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.
  3. The term cow, in general, refers to the female animals of many large mammalian species, while the bull is used to refer to males of buffalos and bovines.
  4. Cows are a calmer, more gentle members of bovine, while bulls are seen to be violent and dangerous.
  5. Cows can live up to 20 years of age and can be of service for a majority of that time, while bulls are serviceable for a maximum of 12 years only.
Difference Between Cow and Bull



The male and female members of the Bovinae family, the bull and cow respectively, have been around for quite a long time as a significant food resource for humankind. The cow has been able to provide one of the most vital food products, milk, that has helped us make many dairy products for consumption.

The bull is a male bovine that hasn’t been castrated so that it may help in the reproduction of calves. Both these animals provide meat resources after they can no longer be of service to the herder. These members of the Bos Taurus family have been serving our needs for a very long time, and are hence an essential part of our lives.


  1. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1105&context=rangebeefcowsymp
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/604357
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