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Originally bred on the British Channel Island of Jersey, the breed is popular for the high butterfat content of its milk and the lower maintenance costs incurred by its lower bodyweight, as well as its genial disposition.
Possibly the best known example of the breed outside the United Kingdom is Elsie the Cow, the famous mascot of Borden, Inc., in the United States. Her face appears on cans of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, cheeses, fresh and shelf stable milk.
The Jersey Cow apparently descended from cattle stock brought over from the nearby Norman mainland, and was first recorded as a separate breed around 1700. Before 1789 cows would be given as dowry for inter-
Due to the small size, docile and inquisitive character and attractive features of the Jersey cow, small herds were imported into England by aristocratic landowners as adornment for aesthetically landscaped parks.