1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Yak
YAK, the wild (and domesticated) ox of the Tibetan plateau; a species nearly allied to the bison group. The yak, Bos (Pöephagus) grunniens, is one of the finest and largest of the wild oxen, characterized by the growth of long shaggy hair on the flanks and under parts of the body and the well-known bushy tail. In Europe a false impression of the yak is prevalent, owing to the fact that all the specimens imported have belonged either to a small domesticated breed from Darjiling, or to half-breeds; the latter being generally black and white, instead of the uniform black of the pure-bred and wild animal. None of such half-breeds can compare with the magnificent half-tamed animals kept by the natives of the elevated Rupsu plateau, S. of the Indus, where they afford the only means of transport by this route between Ladak and India. But even these are inferior to the wild yak, which stands nearly 6 ft. at the shoulder, and is absolutely confined to the arid central plateau of Tibet. Yak have the great disadvantage that they will not eat corn, and the large pure-bred animals will not live at low elevations. The tails are used in India as fly-whisks, under the name of chowris. The title of “grunting ox” properly belongs only to the domesticated breed.
Domesticated Yak, Bos (Pöephagus) grunniens.