Are Cows And Giraffes Related? Here Are Some Facts

Giraffes aren't related to a cow, but are related to the okapi, and from here are linked genetically to cows, deer and pronghorns. You could view cows and giraffes as distant cousins rather than close family.

You’re probably wondering what ARE the differences between a cow and a giraffe? Well, we’ve been wondering the same. What we CAN say about these two remarkable creatures is that they’re both mammals.

They aren’t entirely related more like BFFs or distance step-cousins twice removed if you catch my drift.

What are the differences between cows and giraffes?

Giraffes have quite a lot of different animals which are similar to them if not the same. One animal, in particular, would be called the Okapi. This zebra/deer mammal definitely caught the attention of scientists.

An okapi
This is an Okapi which is most commonly found in Congo

They realized that this mammal was similar to the Zebra and a deer but relatives to the giraffe. This special mammal can be found in the deep heart of Congo.

Now back to the topic at hand, how does an Okapi relate to cow giraffe exactly? Well, they both have four stomachs just like the cow and giraffe do! The Okapi has a long black tongue exactly like their best friend the giraffe. It is also no secret that cows have huge tounges as well which they use to eat their food.

Another similarity between giraffes and cows is that they both are hoofed animals. Such like hippos they too are hoofed animals, however, the hippo is an even-toed animal, just like their friend the rhino.

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cow and giraffe
Cows and giraffes might be closer than you think

It is a known fact that both giraffes’ and cows‘ coats have their own individual pattern for every cow giraffe that exists, another factor that distinguishes cows and giraffes from being twice-removed cousins. Both their life expectancies are both 20 years or more.

Can cows and giraffes exist in a National Park?

It is known that most giraffes are vulnerable and endangered which is why a lot of zoos or national parks tend to take in giraffes to make sure their life expectancies are pre-longed.

However, does a cow and a giraffe exist in a similar habitat? The quick answer is Yes. The long answer is not quite.

The factors that suggest that they can in fact live in the same habitat are that they both require a savanna environment. This environment is one where the giraffe cow can mutually reside.

A savanna is a place with a lot of open land, mixed ecosystem plants and trees there and plenty of shade for both mammals. They both tend to eat the same – this means that they both swallow their foods then regurgitate them back up hours later only to chew on them for up to 6 hours.

The only slight difference between a cow and a giraffe in this equation is that the giraffe will store the food in its neck as opposed to one of its stomachs.

Both the cow and giraffe are vulnerable beings and are at risk of being hunted for meat production. Despite the fact that the giraffe is endangered and vulnerable – we‘d say the cow is doing a lot better on the species‘ life expectancy front.

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Are cows becoming art gallery fabrics?

Some of you may disagree but the cow industry is not just for meat production. Sadly, some artists exploit cows for art gallery fabrics. Fabric artists such as Eyayu Genet create art pieces using cowhides to show the shape and texture of each individual cow displayed.

To some these can be seen as gorgeous items but all that is pretty much come with a price! And we realized that when coming to the checkout for these art pieces they came to a MOO-ing price!

The fabric choices that are used for leather are typically cow hides that have been manufactured. Typically, a fabric shop would sell these types of finished products. If you manage to find one at a high-quality shop on payday you will not be disappointed.

If you ever get to visit the biggest leather manufacturing in the world, take a trip to China to find it. We’re sure you’ll be able to find a fabric stash somewhere or even in their online boutique.


In theory, it seems that by biological definitions cows and giraffes ARE related but they’re not directly.

There’s enough evidence to prove that the cows and giraffes have the same biological make-up to a degree. However, these are different biological factors that are not the exact same. It demonstrates that no matter how much you try to bundle one category of a mammal into a box, a cow will never be a giraffe and the giraffe will never be a cow.

For now, they’re just two mammals distantly related but genetically removed.


Born in Malta but raised in Kent, the garden of England, Yasmin learned that the chicken was an important species to our natural survival. She became fascinated and compassionate about all things cow-related which led her to become Vegan for 3+ years. Today in 2022, she lives in Malta with a passion for all things that have naturally grown up on farms.

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