Rath cattle belong to the white, narrow-faced, stumpy horned group of cattle represented by the Hariana cattle. As a distinct type, they are bred in a very small area in Alwar of Rajasthan State. Particularly the area between Bansur and Narnaul and between Mundawar and Narnaul is noted for pure specimens of the breed. They are also bred in adjacent areas but, owing to the proximity of other similar breeds such as Hariana, Mewati and Nagore, they are likely to be mixed with these in strain. Rath cattle are reputed to be economical to maintain. As medium-sized draft cattle, they are considered very suitable for work in the plow or on the road. The cows are fairly good milkers.
Rath cattle are medium-sized but powerful, with white or gray coloring. In the bull, the coloring of the neck and shoulder is generally darker than the rest of the body. The face is straight, narrow and medium-sized. The forehead is flat and does not show any protuberance in full-grown animals. Young animals under 3 years occasionally show this protuberance but it straightens up as the animal reaches maturity. The nasal bones are somewhat wide and coarse. The muzzle is wide and black. The eyes are wide open and clearly defined by the dark eyelids. Horns are small and emerge laterally in a somewhat forward direction from a moderately broad poll and curve inwards at the tips. The ears are short and pendulous, the inner surface facing forwards.
The neck is fairly long. The hump is moderately developed, placed well in front of the withers. The dewlap is light and the sheath is very small. The body is of moderate length with deep chest and well-sprung ribs. Quarters are well-developed and also the legs. The tail is short with black switch and set rather high giving the quarters a somewhat drooping effect. The feet are small and compact.
As the area in which Rath cattle are bred is dry and with very limited grazing, the number of animals in the area is restricted, but at the same time, this has kept the breed pure as no outside animals come into the region for grazing purposes. It is observed that they are economical to maintain and are regarded as a poor man's breed. The bullocks are very good workers in this area being of heavy sand, powerful and active bullocks are essential and Rath beasts are well suited for this work. They are observed to work steadily for 10 hours a day in fields and can travel about 20 miles a day carrying a load of half a ton in heavy sand. They are created with long life.
Joshi, N.R., Phillips, R.W. (1953) Zebu Cattle of India and Pakistan, FAO Agriculture Studies No. 19, Publ. by FAO, Rome, 256 pp.