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Breed Facts


Meat, Dairy, Fiber

Adult Weight:
600 - 1500 lbs


Experience Level:
Novice - Intermediate

Adapted to cold climates and rugged environments, good for niche markets

North American Yak

Yaks are Tibetan bovines and were imported to North America in the late 1800s to early 1900s. After more than a century of genetic separation from their cousins in Asia, purebred yaks in America merit investigation as a distinct genetic resource. Recognized for its high trainability and superior environmental adaptation, the breed is worthy of attention for use in grass‑based ranching, especially where stocking levels are restricted and environmental conditions are harsh. The yak is also of great value to high-end fiber producers, dairy farmers, and cheesemakers, and produces lean, nutrient-dense beef that is valuable for specialty markets. As with any breed, crossbred animals must be tracked to ensure the integrity of the pure lines, and significant numbers of purebred stock must be maintained. These actions will ensure that parental stocks remain available for conservation of the genetic resource. The next steps for yaks are to confirm their genetic history and to investigate their purebred population status in America.

Photo and information about North American Yaks courtesy of Nicole Porter.