Cows are a recurring race in the Legend of Zelda series that roam Hyrule and its surrounding countries. They are generally docile, and often domesticated to be kept as livestock in farms such as Lon Lon Ranch. Although their most frequent vocalization is a sound similar to "moo", in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask they do possess the ability to speak in a language Link can understand. In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Link can only understand their language when in Minish form. However in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild cows are incapable of speech and are depicted more realistically with both domesticated and wild breeds of cow being introduced.
- "Cows from Lon Lon Ranch had a reputation in Hyrule for providing the best tasting milk. In addition to quenching thirst, the milk was rumored to possess special powers."
- — Nintendo Power Player's Guide description
At Lon Lon Ranch, Link can enter a hurdle race with Epona. If he beats the 50-second record, Malon will reward him by sending a cow to his house. Cows are also found in hidden Hidden Holes throughout Hyrule. Cows are the source of milk, which contain nutritious healing properties. If "Epona's Song" is played within earshot of a cow, it will thank Link for the song and provide him with milk, if he has a bottle to keep it in.
In the Master Quest versions, cows can be seen Inside Jabu-Jabu's Belly, protruding from the walls and ceiling, without explanation, though possibly eaten as food. When hit with the Fairy Slingshot or Boomerang they can sometimes trigger events similar to a switch. These cows can still give Link milk when he plays "Epona's Song" near them. This does not work with the cow located in the water.
Cows can be found at Romani Ranch. If Link goes to Romani Ranch during the First Day, Romani will tell him a story of how mysterious creatures, possibly aliens, come to Romani Ranch once a year to steal their cows. Link can aid her by fighting off the creatures during nighttime. If he successfully manages to stop the creatures from reaching the barn, he is given a bottle of Milk. Additionally Romani's Mask is based on a cows head and the Milk Bar has a cow theme (such as its cow print bar).
There are also ten cow bobbleheads that can be found throughout Clock Town. Their heads will bobble more as the ground starts to shake on the Final Day or as Link performs a somersault and hits a wall near them. They serve no purpose to the story, but the Keaton asks Link how many there are in Clock Town during the Keaton Quiz.
There are five more cows in the game. Two are located in a Hidden Hole underneath the hollow log south of Clock Town. Two more are hidden in a hole on the Great Bay Coast cliff. The other is located, bizarrely, Beneath the Well.
In the 3DS remake, Cows are revealed to be the favorite prey of the Mooranha a brutal species of piranha native to Termina that lives in the Swamp Fishing Hole. Due to their reputation for attacking Cows they have been dubbed the Swampland Cow Killer and they cannot resist the sight of a cow as it drives them into a feeding frenzy. Link is able to use its trait of targeting cows to his advantage by wearing Romani's Mask (which is based on a cow) allowing Link to catch one using the Fishing Rod.
Like in Ocarina of Time, Link can receive a helping of Milk if he plays Epona's Song near a cow and has an empty bottle.
Two subspecies of cow appear in this game, the wild Water Buffalo and the tamed Hateno Cow. Link can add the Hateno Cow and the Water Buffalo to the Hyrule Compendium by taking their picture with the Camera Rune.
- "Originating in Hateno Village, these cows are kept as livestock primarily for their milk. Their horns are smaller than a water buffalo's, and they're much more docile and therefore easier to raise. Their horns are decorated with bright colors when taken out to pasture."
- — Hyrule Compendium
A breed of cow called Hateno Cows appear in villages such as Hateno Village and Lurelin Village. Unlike cows seen in past games, Hateno Cows cannot speak and Link cannot obtain milk from them directly. The description for Fresh Milk explains that it comes from Hateno Cows and white goats raised in Hateno Village, although the milk bottles only depict a cow. Link can feed cows with Hyrule Herbs and Cool, Warm or Electric Safflina but it serves no purpose. If Link attacks them, they will run away and not attack him.
- "These wild cows come equipped with big, strong horns. They live off grass that grows near the waterfront. Their meat is considered to be high quality, so they're a common target among hunters. Fun fact: the domestic Hateno cows, often raised in villages, was bred through selective breeding using these."
- — Hyrule Compendium
Link can encounter wild breed of cow known as Water Buffalo. The Hateno Cow is descended from Water Buffalo, as it was created through selective breeding of Water Buffalos in Hateno Village to a more docile cow. Water Buffalo tend to live near waterfronts, jungles, and in wetlands. According to the Hyrule Compendium, they are commonly found in Lanayru Wetlands and Akkala Highlands, though can also be found in the jungles of Faron province and certain areas of East Necluda and areas of Necluda Sea such as Eventide Island. Their meat is considerably high quality and drop Raw Prime Meat and Raw Gourmet Meat, though they tend to drop Prime Meat more commonly and Gourmet Meat more rarely. The meat they drop makes them a common target for hunters and thus they are the first breed of cow known to be hunted and slaughtered for their meat by Hyrulean hunters. However like Boars, Mountain Bucks, and Mountain Goats, they will try to charge at Link if they sense his presence, though usually prefer to flee rather than fight like most herbivores.
Cows appear as enemies in Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland.
| Ezlo · King Daltus · Link · Princess Zelda · Smith · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Big Green ChuChu · Gleerok · Mazaal · Big Octorok · Gyorg Pair · Vaati Reborn · Vaati Transfigured · Vaati's Wrath|
| Castor Wilds · Cloud Tops · Eastern Hills · Hyrule Town · Lake Hylia · Lon Lon Ranch · Minish Woods · Mount Crenel · Mt. Crenel's Base · North Hyrule Field · Royal Valley · South Hyrule Field · Trilby Highlands · Veil Falls · Western Wood · Wind Ruins|
|Deepwood Shrine · Cave of Flames · Fortress of Winds · Temple of Droplets · Royal Crypt · Palace of Winds · Dark Hyrule Castle|
|Smith's Sword · White Sword · Four Sword · Small Shield · Mirror Shield · Bombs · Boomerang · Bow · Cane of Pacci · Gust Jar|
|Bottle · Flame Lantern · Flippers · Grip Ring · Mole Mitts · Ocarina of Wind · Power Bracelets · Roc's Cape|
|Elements · Kinstones · Tiger Scrolls|
|Deku · Fairy · Goron · Human · Hylian · Minish · Wind Tribe|
|Tingle · Uncle Rupee · Pinkle · Barkle|
—Full list of characters
|Beetle Lord Death Bug · Captain Stalfos · Bana Bana · Beetle King Death Bug · Dora Dora · Uncle Rupee|
|First Continent · Second Continent · Third Continent · Rupeeland|
—Full list of locations
|Hero's Shrine · Pirate Hideaway · Deku Temple · Insect Cavern · Desma's Labyrinth|
|Bone Ocarina · Master Rupee · Mini Death Bug Chrysalis · Pure Dew · Rupee Goods · Super Rupees · Tingle Bomb · Tingle Tuner|
|Deity · Fairy · Human · Hylian · Salona · Yamatami|