Difference between Bulls and Steers

Updated on May 27, 2017

Although it is common knowledge that a bull and a steer are different kinds of cattle, many people still can’t put a finger on what sets them apart from each other. If you are one of those who cannot tell which one is a bull and which one is a steer, this article is for you. This article will focus on the difference between a bull and a steer.

Descriptions

Bulls
A bull

Bulls, also called “sire,” are basically mature (at least two years old) male bovines that have not been castrated. They are raised for breeding purposes because of their desirable traits. They can mate with multiple female bovines.

Bulls have a noticeably large muscular frame. They have a hump and a crest over the hindquarters, neck, and shoulders. Upon reaching maturity, they can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They may have horns or they may not.

Because the bulls’ testicles are still intact, male hormones may cause them to be dominant and aggressive, especially during the mating season. They have the tendency to fight with each other over a female bovine or even attack a human.

Although bulls are raised for their genetic qualities, some people also raise them for their meat. Because of their size, they produce 10%-20% more meat than any cattle.

steer
A steer

On the other hand, steers are male bovines that have been neutered or castrated, a process done before they become sexually mature. They are raised primarily for their meat.

With the removal of their testicles, steers do not produce enough male hormones that make them look large and bulky. Sometimes, steers look like female bovines, except for their male reproductive organ.

Steers are obedient animals. They rarely fight with other male bovines because they do not have the urge the compete over females for mating (because their testicles have been removed).

Bulls vs Steers

What, then, is the difference between bulls and steers?

The main difference between the two is that bulls are male bovines that have not undergone castration because they are raised to breed, whereas steers are male bovines that have undergone castration and are raised for their meat.

Bulls have large bodies. Their shoulders, hindquarters, and necks are muscular. Steers, on the other hand, may sometimes look like female bovines. They have less muscular features.

When it comes to temperament, bulls are more dominant and aggressive than steers. They are also more likely to attack a human than steers.

Comparison Chart

BullsSteers
Male bovines that have not undergone castration; testicles are still intactMale bovines that have undergone castration; testicles have been removed
Raised primarily for breeding purposes because of their desirable qualities; may also be raised for meatRaised for their meat
Large, bulky frame; muscular shoulders, hindquarters, and neckMay look like female bovines
Aggressive and dominant; have the tendency to attack humans and fight with each otherObedient and docile; less likely to attack humans; do not fight with other bovines