Holstein-Friesian cattle (hōlˈstēn-frēˈzhən, –stĪn–) [key], breed of dairy cattle originated in N Holland and Friesland. Commonly called Holsteins in the United States, these large cattle with sharply defined black and white spotted markings are believed to have been bred for their dairy qualities for 2,000 years. The region from which they come was famous even in Caesar's time for its cattle. In milk production the cows average a higher yield than that of any other breed, although the milk has a relatively low butterfat content; as a dairy breed, they rank high for beef and veal production. Large numbers of Holsteins were imported in the late 19th cent. to the United States, where they are now the dominant dairy cattle. They are also widely raised in Canada, Australia, South America, and South Africa.
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