The Vechur cow (Malayalam: വെച്ചൂര് പശു ) is a rare breed of Bos indicus cattle named after the village Vechoor in Kottayam district of the state of Kerala in India. With an average length of 124 cm and height of 87 cm, it is the smallest cattle breed in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, and is valued for the larger amount of milk it produces relative to the amount of food it requires. The Vechur animals were saved from extinction due to conservation efforts by Sosamma Iype, a Professor of Animal breeding and Genetics along with a team of her students.In 1989, a conservation unit was started. A Conservation trust was formed in 1998 to continue the work with farmer participation.
The Vechur cow was popular in Kerala until the 1960s, but became rare when native cattle were crossbred with exotic varieties. In 2000, the Vechur cow was listed on the FAO’s World Watch List of Domestic Animal Diversity, in its ‘Critical-Maintained Breeds List’, pointing to imminent extinction as breeds are included in the list when the number of breeding females and males fall to very low levels. About 200 cows are supposed to exist today, nearly 100 of them with the Veterinary College.
The animals are docile, short and disease resistant. Compared to other cross-bred species, these animals are easy to maintain
Vechur cattle are the smallest of Indian cattle breeds. They are mostly light red or black in colour with a long and narrow face. The legs are short. The tail is long and tapering, almost touching the ground.
FAO’s World Watch List
the Vechur cow was listed on the FAO’s World Watch List of Domestic Animal Diversity