Difference Between An Ox And A Bull

Oxen and bulls are two bovine species that are often confused with each other but are different in terms of their physical attributes, purpose, and temperament. Understanding the difference between the two is crucial, especially for farmers and anyone who deals with livestock.

Physical Differences

The most apparent difference between oxen and bulls is their physical appearance. Bulls are typical male cows that possess distinctive physical features such as a muscular build, a broad forehead, and a pronounced hump on their shoulders. Their horns are more prominent and curved compared to other bovines.

On the other hand, oxen are neutered male cattle trained to work in the fields, haul equipment, and move heavy objects. They are generally larger than bulls, and their body is well-built to help them with the tasks they perform. One major physical difference between an ox and a bull is that the former has no reproductive organs while the latter does.


Bulls and oxen have different purposes in livestock farming. For instance, bulls play a crucial role in breeding cows as they provide the reproductive cells or the sperms needed for fertilisation, and therefore, are kept for reproduction purposes.

Oxen, on the other hand, are employed to undertake various tasks around the farm or assist in moving heavy loads. They are often used for plowing fields, transporting goods, and pulling carts. They are usually castrated at a young age to develop their strength and train them for their designated work.


Another significant difference between the two animals is their temperament. Bulls are notorious for their aggression, which is why they are often kept in isolated spaces. They tend to become restless and edgy during the breeding season, which is a potential risk factor for animal handlers.

Oxen, on the other hand, are usually friendlier and more cooperative than bulls. They are well-mannered and even-tempered, which makes them ideal for the farm work they do. This docile temperament is developed through extensive training and interaction with humans.


1. How do you neuter a bull to make it into an ox?

The process of castrating a bull is known as burdizzo castration. The procedure involves the crushing of the spermatic cords, which restrict the blood flow to the testicles, eventually leading to a decline in testosterone production. This results in the development of a gentle and calm temperament that is more suitable for draft work.

2. Which one is bigger, a bull or an ox?

Generally, oxen are more massive than bulls due to their size and muscle build. Their growth and development are focused on improving their strength and ability to work, making them more robust and larger than bulls.

3. Can an ox become a bull?

No, oxen that have been castrated cannot become bulls. Once an ox is castrated, its reproductive organ and associated tissues, such as the testicles, epididymis, and spermatic cords, are removed, making it impossible to reverse the process.

In conclusion, while they may look similar, bulls and oxen are different in several ways, including their physical appearance, purpose, and temperament. Understanding these differences is vital, particularly for farmers and those who deal with livestock, as it allows them to work with these animals in a more efficient and safe manner.