The livestock subsector has an enormous contribution to Ethiopia’s national economy and livelihoods of many Ethiopians. The subsector contributes about 16.5% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 35.6% of the agricultural GDP. It also contributes 15% of export earnings and 30% of agricultural employment. The livestock subsector currently support and sustain livelihoods for 80% of all rural population. The GDP of livestock related activities valued at 59 billion birr. Ethiopian livestock population trends, distribution and marketing vary considerably across space and time due to a variety of reasons. This study was aimed to assess cattle and shoat population growth trend, distribution and their access to market. Regression analysis was used to assess the cattle and shoat population growth trend and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques were used to determine the spatial distribution of cattle and shoats, and their relative access to market. The data sets used are agricultural census (2001/02) and annual CSA agricultural sample survey (1995/96 to 2012/13). In the past eighteen years, the livestock population namely cattle, sheep and goat grew from 54.5 million to over 103.5 million with average annual increment of 3.4 million. The current average national cattle, sheep and goat population per km2 are estimated to be 71, 33 and 29 respectively (excluding Addis Ababa, Afar and Somali regions). From the total livestock population the country owns about 46% cattle, 43% sheep and 40% goats are reared within 10 km radius from major livestock market centres and all-weather roads. On the other hand, three fourth of the country’s land mass which comprises 15% of the cattle, 20% of the sheep and 21% of goat population is not accessible to market (greater than 30 km from major livestock market centres). It is found that the central highland regions account for the largest share of livestock population and also more accessible to market. Defining the spatial and temporal variations of livestock population is crucial in order to develop a sound and geographically targeted livestock development policy.