Ayrshire cattle (rˈshēr, –shər) [key], breed of dairy cattle originated in Scotland in the late 18th cent.; introduced into the United States in 1837. They are medium-sized and white mixed with red or brown in color. Ayrshires are excellent grazers and good, consistent milk producers. Ayrshires were formerly used as dual-purpose dairy and meat producers. Their importance as a breed has declined, especially in favor of the Holstein Friesian, but Ayrshires remain popular in North America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe and South America.