Carpathian Buffalo

The Ukrainian Carpathian Buffalo inhabits the area of Zakarpathia-Oblast in Ukraine.

It originates from the Mediterranean type of water buffalo and is closely related to the Carpathian Buffalo of Romania, as well as the Danubian buffalo.

This domestic Water Buffalo breed is very well adapted to its surroundings, since it already inhabits the Carpathian Mountains for at least 1500 years. The adaptation to the local climate, and human selection made the Carpathian buffalo very sturdy, low demanding and very productive in terms of milk.

The adult Carpathian buffalo has black fur and grey skin, the juveniles are mainly black-brownish. The fur is quite thick and about 10-15 cm long. The hooves are hard, adapted to the stony ground of the mountains. Its compact and bulky body and a height of about 135cm also show its adaptation to mountain climate. The horns of the Carpathian buffalo grow along the neck and are slightly curved. They can be up to 80 cm long. The weight of females is up to 700 kg and males up to 850 kg.

A Carpathian buffalo can live about 35 years, the cows are giving birth to healthy babies up to an age of 30. The pure breed is nowadays highly endangered. More than 100 years ago there have been thousands of Buffalos in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine. But with rising industrialisation the buffalo began to lose its value as a workforce, and people abandoned buffalo husbandry, leading to a rapid decrease of the population. The buffalos which stayed were mainly kept for milk production, which lead to the biggest threat for the breed today: in order to improve the milking characteristics of the buffalos, Indian Murrah buffalo mixbreeds from Bulgaria have been introduced to the breed. Due to this development, pure breed Carpathian buffalos got less and less, and are even today hard to find.

But the Carpathian buffalos are not only special for their sturdiness, they also convince with their calm temper.

In summertime the buffalos can be kept outside or in an open stable, winter months as December, January and February require a closed stable as a shelter against ice, snow and extraordinary cold temperatures. It feeds perfectly on grass, hay and straw, additional food is only required for improving work force or raising milk production.