The Difference between Purebred and Fullblood Wagyu

How much do you know about Wagyu cattle? You may know that Wagyu beef is an exquisite type of meat, with exceptional marbling for melt-in-your-mouth flavor, but do you know anything about the cattle themselves? Here, we’ve got the run-down on Wagyu cattle, and the difference between purebred and fullblood Wagyu.

First, the word Wagyu simply means “Japanese cow.” Since the 1970s, it’s been illegal for the Japanese to export Wagyu cattle, but before that, there were already some Wagyu who had taken up residence in the United States. To get the very best marbling, for the very best meat, these cattle are raised with very specific techniques. But what determines whether they’re fullblood or purebred? It’s a difference of about 7 percent of their genetic makeup.

Because Wagyu cattle cannot be imported, it’s important for the existing American Wagyu to be carefully monitored and their breeding programs carefully tracked. By requiring all Wagyu cattle to be registered to confirm authenticity, the American Wagyu Association can make sure that the integrity of the breed is maintained. For Wagyu cattle to be certified as Fullblood, they must be 100 percent traceable to Japanese herds. There must be absolutely no crossbreeding, only cattle whose lineage can be directly traced to ancestors from Japan.

Purebred Wagyu have less stringent qualifications, but the expectations are still very high. These cattle must contain more than 93.75 percent pure Japanese Wagyu genetics. Ranchers achieve Purebred Wagyu by breeding a Fullblood bull and a crossbred cow.

So, that’s a lower bar, but the numbers are very close. Does that 6.25 percent really make a difference? Some Wagyu enthusiasts say it does. The closer the cattle are to 100 percent Wagyu, the better the flavor and texture of the meat will be, as long as the animal has been raised in a calm environment with a good diet. When a Wagyu cow is bred with an Angus bull, you’ll have delicious beef, but it won’t have the signature profile that makes Wagyu beef such a delicacy.

Regardless of whether it’s Purebred or Fullblood, Wagyu has a remarkable flavor and offers many health benefits. The fat in the marbling that makes it so famous is heart-healthy dietary fat with increased levels of monounsaturated fatty acids. The Omega-3s and oleic acids in Wagyu promote cardiovascular health and help lower LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol. The exceptional flavor and remarkable mouth feel mean that no matter what kind of Wagyu you choose, you really can’t go wrong.

For top-quality American Wagyu Beef, you can trust Triple T Ranch. Located in south Alabama, our small, family-owned-and-operated ranch is a place where practicing proven husbandry techniques ensures the health and prosperity of the herd. Our cattle are well cared-for and registered through the American Wagyu Association. Call (251)333-2800 or contact us through our website for more information.