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IMCBR hears this question all the time … “What is a mini?” What a loaded question! Some folks will say that minis don’t exist, a mythical unicorn in the cattle world. Others will say that a miniature cow is runt or cow that has been intentionally stunted in growth. We have seen many thousands of miniatures registered with IMCBR and are confident they are real, they are healthy, and they are so very loveable. 

The founder of IMCBR, Professor Richard Gradwohl, worked hard to develop and define the standards for miniature cattle over 50 years ago.

In those early days, the producers of the miniature cattle breeders were well schooled in the anatomy and proper body condition of cattle. It took decades to successfully develop a consistent result across multiple breeds. The pioneers of this industry used the hook bone as a measurement point to determine height.

Now, as the industry has progressed, the commonly acceptable measuring point is the top of the back and the base of the tailbone. There are a few reasons for this change. The first and most obvious is that there is less room for error or interpretation. The second reason is that as the industry grows, the standards need to tighten. A tighter filter will keep the best and smallest cows in the same breeding group, continuing the goal of generationally reducing the size.

The standards used by IMCBR are as follows:

All cattle are assumed to have reached maturity at 3 years of age. Registered animals under 3 will be given a temporary certificate. The temporary certificate can be converted to a permanent record after 3 years of age by updating the photo and top-line height.

Measurements must be taken on a level surface. A helpful tool is a sliding T-square pictured here. Ensure both the upright and horizontal bars are level. Remember, an accurate measurement is critical to the integrity of your program.

  • Micro: 36” or under
  • Miniature: 36.25” to 42”
  • Mid-Size: 42.25” to 48”
  • Standard: Over 48” (does not qualify for IMCBR)

What are miniature cattle?

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