To determine the genetic diversity and paternal origin of Chinese cattle, 302 males from 16 Chinese native cattle breeds as well as 30 Holstein males and four Burma males as controls were analysed using four Y-SNPs and two Y-STRs. In Chinese bulls, the taurine Y1 and Y2 haplogroups and indicine Y3 haplogroup were detected in seven, 172 and 123 individuals respectively, and these frequencies varied among the Chinese cattle breeds examined. Y2 dominates in northern China (91.4%), and Y3 dominates in southern China (90.8%). Central China is an admixture zone, although Y2 predominates overall (72.0%). The geographical distributions of the Y2 and Y3 haplogroup frequencies revealed a pattern of male indicine introgression from south to north China. The three Y haplogroups were further classified into one Y1 haplotype, five Y2 haplotypes and one Y3 haplotype in Chinese native bulls. Due to the interplay between taurine and indicine types, Chinese cattle represent an extensive reservoir of genetic diversity. The Y haplotype distribution of Chinese cattle exhibited a clear geographical structure, which is consistent with mtDNA, historical and geographical information.