Cattle with hair whorl patterns above the eyes are more behaviorally agitated during restraint

T. Grandin, M. J. Deesing, J. J. Struthers, A. M. Swinker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Hair whorl position on the forehead may be of value in selecting breeding cattle for a calm temperament. A total of 1500 cattle weighing 180-360 kg were temperament rated on a four-point scale. Seventy-two percent of the cattle were European × British breed crosses and 28% were Zebu × dairy breed crosses from Mexico. Cattle with a round hair whorl located above the eyes became significantly more agitated while they were restrained in a squeeze chute (crush) compared to cattle with a hair whorl located either between the eyes or below the eyes. For both the Bos taurus and Bos indicus crossbreeds, animals with hair whorls located below the eyes were rated calmer. There is a positive linear relationship (P < 0.001) between cattle temperament while restrained in a squeeze chute and the location of facial hair whorls. The cattle observed in this study were extensively raised and had a large flight zone when approached by people. Casual observations indicate that the relationship between hair whorl position and temperament is most easily observed in cattle that do not have daily close contact with people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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