top of page

Common Name: Yak

Scientific Name: Bos grunniens


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Bovidae

Genus: Bos

Species: B. grunniens

The yak is a very large animal that can grow up to 11 feet long and up to 7 feet tall. It weighs, on average, 670 to 1805 pounds. The Yak's thick fur can be dark brown, black, grey, and, rarely, golden or white. The horns are 20 cm in females and 36 in males; they have dewclaws and wide hooves. Their thick fur is shaggy and they shed in the summer months. The yak originally roamed in the northern Tibetan Plateau, also in China, India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Yaks also climb the Himalayas in the cold, hence the wooly coat. They enjoy hills, mountains, and plateaus as homes. Its diet mainly composes of lichens, mosses, and grasses found in the vast plains they live in.


Wild Yaks are hunted by Tibetan wolves, though wolves are the least concern on the yak. They have been hunted by Tibetans for centuries and, due to over hunting, the yak numbers declined. They have risen over the years, though they are still marked as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List. Yaks are a major part of Tibetan culture; they are domestically raised for their meat, milk, and fur. They are also raised for labor, like plowing fields and pulling carts. Yak racing, yak skiing, and yak polo are popular forms of entertainment throughout Central Asia. Yak dung is burned for fuel and chhurpi, a Tibetan cheese, is made from yak's milk. Yaks are often saddled for riding or decorated for ceremonies. Yaks don't moo like cows, they grunt. Yaks are often crossed with cows to create better pack animals. Their hides are used to make shoes and other leather products; their fur can be made into yarn.


Author: Kennedy J

Publish: 02/2009


Sources: Wikipedia (search: yak)


Photo Credit:






bottom of page