What color are Brahmans?

What Color Are Brahmans?

As the first breed developed in America, it’s only fitting that Brahman cattle are commonly referred to as RED, WHITE and BLUE right? 

But what do these colors mean? 

Brahman cattle can come in a variety of colors, and there is no guideline for the ideal color. This is more of a breeder preference. 

The Standard of Excellence of the American Brahman Breeders Association describes the ideal Brahman colors as “Grey or red of varying shades of predominance.” Some shows in the United States offer a “split show” where grey cattle compete in one division and red cattle in another.

Grey cattle can range in color from solid white, light grey, dark grey, red tinged, “blue”, exhibit a snowflake pattern, and even be solid black in color. When a breeder refers to an animal as “blue” – it means a calf that was born red and turned grey as it got older, and has a darker grey color, but not black tips. 

Mr V8 160/8 BRC
Example of a “grey” Brahman with a little red tint on his forehead.
Mr V8 376/8 Dutton BRC
Solid Grey Brahman – This is the color we desire most. But that is our personal prefernce.
mr v8 788/7
A “blue” Brahman
A nearly “Black” Brahman

Red Brahmans may be cherry red, dark red, varying shades of red, speckled, red tinged, have varying shades of red to black, and more. All of these are acceptable color patterns for registry in the ABBA.

wcc blair
A Red Brahman Female, WCC Blair, one of our BRC Donors we own with Watkins Cattle Co.
A “Grey” Brahman lol. This one is 100% Grey pedigree, but has a red tinge, almost black look. He is still classified as a grey Brahman by pedigree. Not confusing at all is it?

The main point to consider when evaluating color differences is that there are three areas of concern that result in immediate disqualification of registry for Brahman cattle. These should be avoided at all costs: 

  • Brindle coloring
  • Gruella coloring (A gruella calf may appear a mousy or pinkish color, but will almost always be recognized by a pink or brown nose, a light switch, and a lack of pigmentation. They just look funky.
  • True white or albino. These animals would have no pigment anywhere on their body. You would mostly notice this by a white nose, white skin, white tail, etc. 

Brahman cattle should have black pigment in four key areas on the body:

  1. Black nose
  2. Black hooves
  3. Black tail switch
  4. Black horns (if horns are present)

Some Brahman cattle have what is referred to as “black tips.” This is a breeder preference, but has an interesting use in crossing red and grey Brahman cattle, so it’s an interesting talking point. 

miss v8 486/8 sweetie brahman cow
Sweetie. She is mostly grey but has black tipped ears and a black shiny nose. We also really prefer this color.

A Brahman with black tips will have black pigment on the tips of their ears and reproductive organs. They also typically have a shiny black nose, compared to a dull black nose. On the other hand, cattle without black tips will have a pink tip to their ears. 

These pigment differences are breeder preferences. Some breeders prefer a solid white animal, but ideally want it to have black tips. Others prefer a jet black animal. It is entirely breeder preference. 

However, you can use this black tip trick to predict if an animal will breed it’s pigment on to it’s offspring when mated red or grey.  For example, Brahmans with black tipped ears, and black pigment on their reproductive organs can be bred either red or gray — meaning they produce a grey calf when bred to a grey animal, or a red calf when bred to a red animal. 
Amongst Red Brahman breeders, a deep, dark cherry red is generally considered more desirable breed character than the lighter pigmented or “pink” color. 

If you like learning about Brahman cattle, we invite you to check out www.brahmanacademy.com where we offer a virtual course about Brahmans.

Comments 1

  1. Hi, great website! Can you please tell me what colour calves can be expected when a homozygous black cow is bred to a grey or red Brahman bull?

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