Shorthorn Cattle: A Brief History of Breed

The Shorthorn Cattle is a breed that has evolved from the ancient bovine populations of northeast England, in the counties of Northumberland, Durham, and Yorkshire. Before this breed was established, the animals were indifferently called Durham, Teeswater, Yorkshire, and Holderness. Even after establishing themselves as a recognized breed, these names continued to be very common.

In addition to this local type, others have arisen in southeast Yorkshire and in Lincolnshire from crosses made in the 18th century. These crosses were made between local animals and others that, according to tradition, had been imported from the Netherlands. Subsequently, improvements were made in the more northern Shorthorn herds. The southern animals crossed with improved bulls of the northern stock.

Shorthorn Cattle

The animals that moved to the south were of double aptitude. While those who went to Scotland were rais mainly for meat production.

Characteristics of Shorthorn Cattle

In the case of the Shorthorn cattle, it is necessary to consider first of all the differentiation between the animals of meat and those of double aptitude. Since these tend towards more specialized dairy types. Regardless of this specialization in its performance, the color of the Shorthorn layer can be divided into three main groups: red, round and white.

White is not dominant completely with respect to red, while Romano is heterogeneous and more common. The ground color varies from almost reddish to a very light coloration, and small white spots can also be observed. The preferred shade of red is the raised cherry being a discriminating factor a light yellowish shade. Although once used to associate with a higher milk potential.

Neither red nor white delimited spots already enjoy acceptance. The hair is of medium or long length and medium thickness, and the skin is a light cream color and without pigmentation. The nose, lips, and eyelids are reddish in color and the color black or shade in the nostrils is rejected. You may also like to read Limousin Cattle.

The horns, characteristic of the breed, are short, waxy, crushed laterally. They also have a forward curvature with blunt tips and no coloration at the tips. Both in Great Britain and in other countries some mochas strains have emerged. The head is short and wide and the back long, broad and straight with a broad and broad rump and well-muscled thighs.

The chest is well arched and is deep and the legs are short and with heavy bones. The average live weight of adult bulls is 700 to 900 kg while cows weigh 500 to 600 kg. The dairy cattle Shorthorn has the longest legs and the back, loins, and croup narrower than the meat breed. It is extremely resistant and adapts to any exploitation system. The average yield per lactation is 305 days. You may also like to read Simmental Cattle.


Shorthorn Cattle feeds on hay, silage, roots, and crop residues. As well as locally produced or imported by-products, concentrated feed, artificially dried pasture, and certain industrial by-products. The objective is always to keep the animals in active development from birth to maturity and then throughout their productive life. At the high level of nutrition comes considerable expertise in livestock management. But it is inevitable that conditions vary between counties and between farms.


The Beef Shorthorn cattle have great adaptability in temperate regions. And for a long time, it has been widely using to improve meat productivity in many countries of the world. Exports of Shorthorn beef cattle recorded from Great Britain in the period 1945-1959 averaged 359 animals per year. This number far exceeds that of any other British race and was reached when many monetary restrictions made trade difficult. You may also like to read Charolais Cattle.

Shorthorn beef cattle, both in their country of origin and abroad, are increasing uses to produce mestizos. And while the bulls of this breed do not have the ability to print their color to the progeny. However, they have an appreciable influence on the ability to produce large quantities of meat in the shortest possible time.

Special Feature

In 1875 the Shorthorn Society of Great Britain and Ireland was formed and has maintained its own genealogical book ever since. From 1905 to 1936 there was an Association of breeders of Shorthorn Dairy that served the breeds raised for milk production. Gradually the number of dairy cattle exceeded the Shorthorn of meat. The Shorthorn Society took over the activities of the Shorthorn Dairy Breeders Association.

Like many other notable British breeds, the Shorthorn is bred and exploited in a wide variety of soils and topographic conditions. Intensive feeding and exploitation systems have made this livestock largely independent of the local external environment in the temperate conditions of the United Kingdom. These cattle are today adapt to a wide variety of climatic conditions.


The Shorthorn cattle breed has evolved over the last two centuries, from Teeswater and Durham cattle found originally in the North East of England. In the late 18th Century, Charles and Robert Colling started to improve these Durham cattle using line breeding techniques established so successfully by Robert Bakewell on Longhorn cattle. Follow this guide for six more tips about how you can raise your own herd!

As a reference: Wikipedia

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