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Cow vs. Buffalo: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 27, 2023
A cow is a domesticated bovine animal kept for milk or meat, while a buffalo is a larger, more robust animal, often wild, known for its strength and also farmed for milk and meat.
Cow vs. Buffalo

Key Differences

Cows typically have a varied coat color, smaller size, and shorter, curved horns. Buffaloes are larger with a heavier build, darker skin, and longer, more pronounced horns.
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Cows are widely domesticated and kept in various environments for dairy and meat. Buffaloes are more commonly found in wild or semi-wild conditions, though domestic varieties like water buffaloes are also raised for similar purposes.
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Cow milk is a staple in many diets, known for its richness and versatility. Buffalo milk is richer, containing higher fat content and is a primary source of mozzarella cheese.
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Cows are generally more docile and easier to handle, making them a preferred choice for farming. Buffaloes are often stronger and more independent, requiring different handling techniques.
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Besides dairy and meat production, cows are also used for plowing and other farming activities. Buffaloes, particularly in Asian countries, are employed for heavy tasks like tilling rice fields.
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Comparison Chart

Size and Build

Smaller, lighter build
Larger, heavier build
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Horns

Shorter, curved horns
Longer, more pronounced horns
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Milk

Less fat content
Richer, higher fat content
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Temperament

Generally docile
Stronger, more independent
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Agricultural Use

Dairy, meat, light farm work
Dairy, meat, heavy labor
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Cow and Buffalo Definitions

Cow

A cow is a domesticated female bovine animal.
The farmer's cow produces fresh milk daily.
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Buffalo

A buffalo is a large, heavily built wild bovine.
The buffalo roamed freely on the grassland.
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Cow

Cow is used in farming for milk, meat, and sometimes as a draft animal.
The small farm had several cows for milking.
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Buffalo

In North America, 'buffalo' often incorrectly refers to the bison.
The American buffalo, or bison, is a symbol of the Great Plains.
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Cow

'Cow' can also mean to intimidate or subdue.
The manager's harsh words cowed the staff.
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Buffalo

Buffalo refers to the water buffalo, a domesticated animal in Asia.
Water buffaloes are essential for rice farming in Southeast Asia.
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Cow

In colloquial use, 'cow' can imply an unpleasant or disliked woman.
She was unfairly called a cow by her colleagues.
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Buffalo

Buffaloes are known for their strength and are used for plowing and transport.
The farmer used his buffalo to plow the field.
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Cow

The mature female of cattle of the genus Bos.
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Buffalo

Any of several large African and Asian ruminant mammals of the family Bovidae, such as the water buffalo and the African buffalo.
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Cow

The mature female of certain other large animals, such as elephants, moose, or whales.
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Buffalo

The American bison (Bison bison).
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Cow

To frighten or subdue with threats or a show of force.
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Buffalo

The flesh of the American bison, used as food.
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Cow

An adult female of the species Bos taurus, especially one that has calved.
Cow milk is the most common form of milk in Europe.
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Buffalo

Any of several North American suckers of the genus Ictiobus, having a dark body and an arched back. Also called buffalo fish.
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Cow

(uncommon) Beef: the meat of cattle as food.
The only meat I eat is cow.
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Buffalo

To intimidate or frighten, as by a display of authority
“The board couldn't buffalo the federal courts as it had the Comptroller” (American Banker).
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Cow

(uncommon) Any bovines or bovids generally, including yaks, buffalo, etc.
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Buffalo

To confuse or deceive
“Too often ... job seekers have buffaloed lenders as to their competency and training” (H. Jane Lehman).
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Cow

(biology) A female member of other large species of mammal, including the bovines, moose, whales, seals, hippos, rhinos, manatees, and elephants.
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Buffalo

Any of the Old World mammals of the family Bovidae, such as the Cape buffalo, Syncerus caffer, or the water buffalo Bubalus bubalis.
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Cow

A woman considered unpleasant in some way, particularly one considered nasty, stupid, fat, lazy, or difficult.
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Buffalo

A related North American animal, the American bison, Bison bison.
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Cow

(mining) A chock: a wedge or brake used to stop a machine or car.
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Buffalo

Ellipsis of buffalo robe
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Cow

To intimidate; to daunt the spirits or courage of.
Con artists are not cowed by the law.
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Buffalo

The buffalo fish (Ictiobus spp.).
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Cow

The mature female of bovine animals.
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Buffalo

A nickel.
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Cow

The female of certain large mammals, as whales, seals, etc.
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Buffalo

(transitive) To hunt buffalo.
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Cow

A chimney cap; a cowl
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Buffalo

To outwit, confuse, deceive, or intimidate.
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Cow

A wedge, or brake, to check the motion of a machine or car; a chock.
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Buffalo

To pistol-whip.
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Cow

To depress with fear; to daunt the spirits or courage of; to overawe.
To vanquish a people already cowed.
THe French king was cowed.
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Buffalo

A species of the genus Bos or Bubalus (Bubalus bubalus), originally from India, but now found in most of the warmer countries of the eastern continent. It is larger and less docile than the common ox, and is fond of marshy places and rivers.
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Cow

Female of domestic cattle:
`moo-cow' is a child's term
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Buffalo

A very large and savage species of the same genus (Syncerus Caffer syn. Bubalus Caffer) found in South Africa; - called also Cape buffalo.
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Cow

Mature female of mammals of which the male is called `bull'
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Buffalo

Any species of wild ox.
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Cow

A large unpleasant woman
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Buffalo

The bison of North America.
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Cow

Subdue, restrain, or overcome by affecting with a feeling of awe; frighten (as with threats)
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Buffalo

A buffalo robe. See Buffalo robe, below.
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Cow

Cow also refers to the adult female of several large mammals.
A cow elephant is the matriarch of her herd.
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Buffalo

The buffalo fish. See Buffalofish, below.
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Buffalo

Large shaggy-haired brown bison of North American plains
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Buffalo

A city on Lake Erie in western New York (near Niagara Falls)
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Buffalo

Meat from an American bison
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Buffalo

Any of several Old World animals resembling oxen including, e.g., water buffalo; Cape buffalo
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Buffalo

Intimidate or overawe
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Buffalo

Buffalo can also be a verb, meaning to baffle or confuse.
The complex instructions buffaloed him.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is a buffalo?

A buffalo is a large bovine animal, either wild like the African buffalo or domesticated like the water buffalo in Asia.
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Are buffaloes domesticated?

Some species of buffaloes, like the water buffalo, are domesticated, mainly in Asia.
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Are cows or buffaloes bigger?

Buffaloes are generally larger and heavier than cows.
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What is a cow?

A cow is a domesticated female bovine animal used for milk and meat.
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Can cows be found in the wild?

Cows are primarily domesticated animals and are rarely found in the wild.
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What is the main use of cows?

Cows are mainly used for producing milk and meat.
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Are cow and buffalo meats different in taste?

Yes, there is a taste difference, with buffalo meat being leaner and often considered to have a stronger flavor.
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What is the difference in milk production between cows and buffaloes?

Buffalo milk has a higher fat content compared to cow milk.
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What is the temperament of cows compared to buffaloes?

Cows are generally more docile, while buffaloes can be more independent and strong-willed.
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What are the horn differences between cows and buffaloes?

Buffalo horns are longer and more pronounced, while cow horns are shorter and curved.
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Can buffaloes adapt to different environments like cows?

Buffaloes are adaptable but prefer wetter, warmer climates compared to cows.
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Are there cultural differences in the use of cows and buffaloes?

Yes, there are cultural differences, particularly in religious and dietary practices.
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Can both cows and buffaloes be used for agricultural work?

Yes, both can be used for agricultural work, but buffaloes are more suited for heavy labor.
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Is buffalo milk used differently than cow milk?

Buffalo milk is often used in specific dairy products like mozzarella cheese due to its high fat and protein content.
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How long do cows and buffaloes live?

The lifespan of cows and buffaloes varies, but both can live up to 20 years or more under good care.
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Can buffaloes swim?

Yes, particularly water buffaloes are known for their swimming abilities.
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Is buffalo farming as common as cow farming?

Buffalo farming is common in certain regions, especially in Asia, but not as widespread globally as cow farming.
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What are the environmental impacts of raising cows vs. buffaloes?

Both have significant environmental impacts, but cows are more associated with higher greenhouse gas emissions due to their larger numbers.
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Do cows and buffaloes require different types of care?

Yes, due to their different sizes, temperaments, and environmental preferences, they require different care and management.
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Are there differences in the leather quality between cows and buffaloes?

Yes, buffalo leather is generally thicker and more durable than cow leather.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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