The traditional occupation of Ahirs is cow-herding and agriculture. They are found throughout India but are particularly concentrated in the northern areas.

In many listings, Ahirs are divided into Yaduvanshi, Nandvanshi, and Gwalvanshi branches. The Ahirs have more than twenty sub-castes and the group of these forms one main caste Ahir.

There are five main castes of Ahirs in Kutch: Pancholi, Paratharia, Machhoya, Boricha, and Sorathia and Vagadia. These communities are mainly of farmers who once sold milk and ghee but who now have diversified their businesses because of the irregularity of rain. 

The oral epic of Veer Lorik, a mythical hero, had been sung by folk singers in North India for generations. The Ahirs have been one of the more militant Hindu groups, including in the modern era.