Also Known By: Aleppo, Damascene, Halabi, Kilis (Turkey), Shami, Shamia
The Damascus is thought to be of Anatolian origin from the Hittite period. They are considered to be the best dairy breed in the Middle East. Others even consider it the best non-European dairy breed. The average milk yield is 2,000 to 4,500 kg with 4% fat with exceptional individuals having production levels as high as 7,250 kg.
The breed is raised with meticulous care, given supplemental feeds and house inside during the rainy season and at night - all of which are unusual practices for the region.
Damascus are usually dark red to brown or nearly black with occasional tan individuals. They are the largest of the Middle Eastern breeds with cows weighing 340 to 500 kg and bulls weighing 700 to 750 kg.
Total population of the breed is estimated at 10,000 and is endanger of extinction. In field work with the breed, the Department of Animal Science at the University of Cukurova (Adana, Turkey) found them to be well adapted to high temperature and humidity and resistant to malaria. They also found the Damascus to have a comparable milk yield in semi-intensive production.
Genus Bos: Cattle Breeds of the World, 1985, MSO-AGVET (Merck & Co., Inc.), Rahway, N.J.
Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.
Dr. Zeynel Cebeci, Department of Animal Science, University of Cukurova, Adana, Turkey