Domesticated Animals and Livestock of the World

I attended the Washington State Fair on Labor Day and did something I have not done in quite a while – I visited the livestock exhibits. Anyone who reads my entries here understands my fascination for wildlife; farm and domestic animals are not generally topics that especially grasp my enthusiasm. But the fair was in town and I had the urge to check out the livestock. They are animals, after all, and I love all of them. What I saw was eye opening and extraordinarily interesting. From chinchillas to draft horses the number and variety of animals on display was amazing.

 The immense size of the Belgian draft horse was a surprise to say the least. Weighing in at over one ton and 17 “hands” high (68 inches from ground to around the base of the animal’s neck) these are magnificent animals. If you can’t afford an elephant get yourself a draft horse. It’s the next best thing! At the other end of the size scale were the pigeons. No, they certainly can’t match the equines for sheer bulk but the variety and exotic appearance of these birds was a surprise. I did a bit of research on the different breeds of domestic animals and livestock in the world and produced the table below. Opinions vary, however, so your own investigation may well produce different numbers. The primary point, though, is indisputable – mankind has manipulated a LOT of variation from the original wild stock. So far sheep old the record.

Animal Type

Number of Breeds




American Kennel Association



International Cat Association (opinions from other sources range from 44 to 73)



Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University


1000 (website)



Weber Training Stables

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281 Oklahoma State University
Rabbits 48

American Rabbit Breeders Association


17 The Donkey Sanctuary



The Pig Site

Pigeons 78

The American Pigeon Museum


73 American Poultry Association
Ducks 23

American Poultry Association


7 varieties American Poultry Association
Geese 12 breeds/16 varieties

American Poultry Association

Large Fowl

57/150 varieties

American Poultry Association

Bantam Breeds 67/200 varieties

American Poultry Association

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