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Bicolor Cows, Solid Color Bulls

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You wouldn't know it from cartoons, but in cattle, color has nothing to do with gender. There are brown cows (which is actually common in fiction), black cows, black-and-white bulls, and brown-and-white bulls. In fact, cattle are not even limited to these colors — cattle can be white, red, or even gray.

Many cartoons, however, depict all cows as being black-and-white or brown-and-white and all bulls as being brown or black.

This may be doubled with Animal Gender-Bender if cows are depicted as a separate species from bulls, although this doesn't happen very often since most kids understand that bulls and cows are the same species despite the Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism between them shown in many cartoons. Part of this trope has to do with cows often being depicted as Holsteins or Friesians, which are a dairy breed and known for their distinctive black-and-white or brown-and-white splotched coloration. Bulls are generally given coloration that match breeds that are raised for meat like the Angus or Shorthorn, which tend to have coats that are single-color. Though obviously in real life, both dairy and meat breeds have both bulls and cows.

Solid black bulls are also often depicted with a Spanish National Animal Stereotype, due to that country's bullfighting tradition.

Subtrope of Gender Equals Breed. Compare Pale Females, Dark Males.


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  • Notably averted by Borden's bovine mascots Elsie and Elmer, who are both brown with whitish faces (though these days you only see Elmer on glue bottles(!!), where he looks solid white).
  • This commercial for Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble features white cows with black spots and a brown bull.

    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece: Ucy the Bull is brown while Momoo the Sea Cow is black-and-white.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: Cows are black-and-white and bulls are black or brown.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the animated short Aria for a Cow, the titular cow is brown-and-white and her bull backup singers are all either black or brown.
  • Downplayed in Bunyan And Babe. Babe is blue and the cows are almost completely brown save for a white stripe on their muzzles.
  • Ferdinand: Subverted. The title character, a bull, is black save for pink patches around his eye which are presumably his skin since they're the same color as his nose, his father, Raf, is black, his rival, Valiente, is brown, and Angus the Scottish Highland bull is brown, but all the other bulls are bicolor. In contrast, cows are never shown.
  • Home on the Range: Of the cows, Maggie is brown-and-white, Mrs. Calloway is black-and-white, and Grace is yellow-and-brown. When they encounter bulls, all the bulls are brown.
  • Sing 2: In the first movie, bulls are black or brown, but no cows are shown. In the sequel, however, a black bull auditions with a brown-and-white cow.

  • Dirty Bertie: In "Runner!", Bertie and Nick run through a field of cattle. All the cows are white with dark spots, but the sole bull is totally black.
  • Homecoming has two non-bovine examples with the native races of Trycanta.
    • The lyrror, or greatcats, have solid-colored coats if male and striped or spotted coats if female.
    • The mazor, or dragons, have facial scales of different color than the rest of their scales if female, and the same color if male.
  • The Story of Ferdinand has an inversion: Ferdinand the Bull is black-and-white while his mother is white.

  • A greeting card shows a farmer getting ready to milk a black-and-white cow in front of a black bull. The black bull's thought bubble says "Touch my wife's tits one more time and I'll kill you!"

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing: All the bull villagers come in one color, while the only two cow villagers (Belle and Tipper) are white with black spots.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Subverted. In the original game, the Bigbutt enemy is a greyish-blue bull, but Bovina, an NPC from Banjo-Tooie is a light brown cow.
  • The Mobile Phone Game Brain Test Tricky Puzzles has some questions featuring a black-and-white cow or a brown bull. One question even features both of them and involves dragging the cow to the bull so they can procreate, resulting in a group of calves that are all either black-and-white or brown.
  • Subverted in Conker's Bad Fur Day: While Bugger Luggs the Bull is black, the cows who appear during his boss fight are tan.
  • Harvest Moon
  • The Legend of Zelda: Cows are usually black-and-white. Elsie, the one cow who isn't black-and-white, is blue-and-white. Minotaurs (bulls) are black.
  • Pok√©mon: Miltank, which are cow Pokemon, are black-and-pink while Tauros, which are bull Pokemon, are brown (or black in Paldea).
  • In the Rune Factory series, there are Buffamoos, black and white cow monsters that give milk when tamed or drop it as loot when defeated, and Buffaloos, solid yellow bull monsters that only drop their horns.
  • Scribblenauts: Cows are black-and-white bi-colored animals, whereas Bulls are always solid brown with horns.
  • The Cattlekind from Them's Fightin' Herds mostly run on this trope. Compare Arizona and her mother (brown/cream and black/cream, respectively) to her father (who is a solid brown). There are a few who downplay this, though; at one point Arizona meets a cow named Madison who, barring a light stripe across her face, is almost entirely brown.
  • Averted in World of Warcraft, where male and female Tauren have the same fur color options, so you can give females solid fur and males the black and white (or brown and white) patches if you so desire.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur: Cows are black-and-white and bulls are either black or brown.
  • Back at the Barnyard: Otis the Cow is black-and-white, Bessy is brown-and-gray, and Abby is yellow-and-black. Whenever a bull shows up, it's either black or brown.
  • Blue's Clues: Cows are always black-and-white, while bulls are always brown.
  • Cow and Chicken: Cow is brown-and-yellow. While there is no regular bull character, "Professor Longhorn Steer" features a brown bull.
  • Dora the Explorer: Benny the Bull is blue. Cows don't typically appear on the show, but the cow in "Dora Had a Little Lamb" is black-and-white.
  • Family Guy: Bulls are always depicted as black or brown, and cows are almost always depicted as black-and-white, with the one exception being Mr. Cow in the episode "McStroke", although it's likely that he was actually meant to be a steer since he has no udder.
  • Garfield and Friends: Cattle rarely appear in the show, but when they do, cows are black-and-white and bulls are brown.
  • A bunch of cows show up in the school in the The Ghost and Molly McGee episode "Talent Show". They all are black-and-white. In "The (Un)natural", Molly feeds a brown baby bull while Scratch is chased by an adult bull, also brown.
  • Gravity Falls: Any cow that appears in the show is black-and-white, while any bull that appears in the show is brown.
  • Johnny Test: Cows are brown-and-white. In "Johnny X" his sisters give him hurricane and shapeshifting powers. One of the animals he shapeshifts into is a black bull.
  • King of the Hill: The episode "A Rover Runs Through It" features bulls, and they're all brown. The episode "Raise the Steaks" features both a cow and a bull. The cow is black-and-white and the bull is brown. At the end of the episode, they have a baby cow that's brown-and-white.
  • Looney Tunes: Toro the Bull from "Bully for Bugs" is black. "Daffy the Gaucho" features Daffy as a rancher, and all the cows are black-and-white or brown-and-white.
  • Peppa Pig: Mrs. Cow and Carol Cow are black-and-white, while Mr. Bull is brown.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Bulls are always depicted as brown or black, while cows are almost always depicted as being bicolor, the one exception being in "That's the Spirit" where Doofenshmirtz turns into an anthropomorphic brown cow, despite being a male.
  • Shaun the Sheep: Played straight, the farm's bull is brown, while the rarely-seen cow is black and white.
  • The Simpsons: Played straight most of the time, with cows being bicolor and bulls being single color, except in the episode "Maximum Homerdrive" when one of the bulls has a yellow patch around his eye.
  • South Park: In earlier seasons, the cows were black-and-white, brown-and-white, or even black-and-brown, while bulls were black or brown. In "Fun with Veal", all the calves have udders and are referred to as baby cows, and are all bicolor as well.
  • Team Umizoomi: All the cows in "The Milk Out" are black-and-white, with the added twist of the black patches being shaped like diamonds, hearts, moons, or stars. "The Kitty Rescue" has a blue bull, a brown bull, and a red bull.
  • Thomas & Friends: Cows are black-and-white and bulls are black.