Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

to James Nelson & Sons for exportation, the animals could not all be shipped, and W. Duthie, of Collynie, Aberdeenshire, bought some of the older cows, whilst J. Deane Willis, of Bapton Monar, Wilts, bought the yearling heifers. Duthie thereupon resumed the sales that the Cruickshanks had relinquished, his averages being £30 in 1892, about £50 in 1893–1894, and £80 in 1895. These prices advanced through English breeders requiring a little change of blood, and also through the increasing tendency to exhibit animals of great substance, or rather to feed animals for show. The success of this movement strengthened the demand, whilst an inquiry for his line of blood arose in the United States and Canada. A faithful contemporary history of the Shorthorn breed is to be found in Thornton’s Circular, published quarterly since 1868; see also J. Sinclair, History of Shorthorn Cattle (1907); R. Bruce, Fifty Years among Shorthorns (1907); A. H. Sanders, Shorthorn Cattle (Chicago, 1901).

The Lincolnshire Red Shorthorns are the best dual-purpose cattle—for milk and meat—that possess a pedigree record, in the United Kingdom, and their uniform cherry red colour has brought them into high favour in tropical countries for crossing with the native breeds.

The Hereford breed is maintained chiefly in Herefordshire and the adjoining counties. Whilst a full red is the general colour of the body, the Herefords are distinguished by their white face, white chest and abdomen, and white mane. The legs up to the knee or hock are also often white. As a protection against the sun in a hot climate dark spots on the eyelids or round the orbits are valuable. The horns are moderately long. Herefords, though they rear their own calves, have acquired but little fame as dairy cattle. They are very hardy, and produce beef of excellent quality. Being docile, they fatten easily and readily, and as graziers’ beasts they are in high favour.

When the Bates’ Shorthorn bubble burst in America about 1877, the Hereford gradually replaced the Shorthorn of the western ranches, and it is now the most numerous ranch animal in the United States and Canada. The bulls beat the bulls of all other breeds in “rustling” capacity.

In America the ranch-bred Herefords have got too small in the bone in recent years, and Shorthorns, chiefly of the Scottish type, are being introduced to increase their size by crossing. In the “feed lot” a well-bred Hereford steer feeds more quickly than either a Shorthorn or an Aberdeen-Angus.

In Queensland, Hereford cattle bred from the “Lord Wilton” strain by Robert Christison of Lammermoor have for years been triumphant as beef-producers in competition with the Shorthorn. When these are quartered in the ordinary butchers’ fashion, the hind-quarters outweigh the fore-quarters, which is a reversal of the prevailing rule.

North Devons.—The “Rubies of the West,” as they are termed from their hue, are reared chiefly in Devon and Somerset. The colour is a whole red, its depth or richness varying with the individual, and in summer becoming mottled with darker spots. The Devons stand somewhat low; they are neat and compact, and possess admirable symmetry. Although a smaller breed than the Shorthorn or the Hereford, they weigh better than either. The horns of the female are somewhat slender, and often curve neatly upwards. Being fine-limbed, active animals, they are well adapted for grazing the poor pastures of their native hills, and they turn their food to the best account, yielding excellent beef. They have not yet attained much celebrity as milch kine, for, though their milk is of first-class quality, with a few notable exceptions, its quantity is small. Latterly, however, the milking qualities have received more attention from breeders, whose object is to qualify the Devon as a dual-purpose breed.

The South Devon or South Hams cattle are almost restricted to that southern part of the county of Devon known as the Hams, whence they are also called “Hammers.” With a somewhat ungainly head, lemon-yellow hair, yellow skin, and large but hardly handsome udder, the South Devon breed more resembles the Guernsey, with which it is supposed to be connected, than the trim-built cattle of the hills of North Devon. The cows are large, heavy milkers, and produce excellent butter. They are rarely seen outside their locality except when they appear in the showyards.

The Sussex breed resembles the North Devon in many respects, but it is bigger, less refined in appearance, less graceful in outline, and of a deeper brown-chestnut colour than the “dainty Devon,” as the latter may well be called when compared with them. As a hardy race, capable of thriving on poor rough pastures, the Sussex are highly valued in their native districts, where they were rapidly improved before the end of the 19th century. They are essentially a beef-producing breed, the cows having little reputation as milkers. By stall-feeding they can be ripened for the butcher at an early age. Sussex cattle are said to “die well,” that is, to yield a large proportion of meat in the best parts of the carcase.

In the Welsh breed of cattle black is the prevailing colour, and the horns are fairly long. They do not mature very rapidly, but some of them grow eventually into great ponderous beasts, and their beef is of prime quality. The cows often possess considerable reputation as milkers. As graziers’ beasts Welsh cattle are well known in the midland counties of England, where, under the name of “Welsh runts,” large herds of bullocks are fattened on the pastures or “topped up” in the yards in winter.

All the remaining strains of Welsh cattle were recognized as one breed in 1904, when the Welsh Black Cattle Society united into one register the Herd Books of North and South Wales.

The Longhorn or “Dishley” breed of cattle is one of the most interesting historically. It was with Longhorns that Robert Bakewell, of Dishley, Leicestershire (1726–1795), showed his remarkable skill as an improver of cattle in the middle of the 18th century.[1] At one period Longhorns spread widely over England and Ireland, but, as the Shorthorns extended their domain, the Longhorns made way for them. They are big, rather clumsy animals, with long drooping horns, which are very objectionable in these days of cattle transport by rail and sea. They are slow in coming to maturity, but are very hardy. The bullocks feed up to heavy weights, and the cows are fair milkers. No lover of cattle can view these quaint creatures without a feeling of satisfaction that the efforts made to resuscitate a breed which has many useful qualities to commend it have been successful, and that the extinction which threatened it in the 'eighties of last century is no longer imminent. In 1907 there were twenty-two Longhorn herds containing about four hundred registered cattle located mainly in the English midlands and Man.

The Red Poll breed, though old, has only come into prominence within recent years. They were known as the East Anglian Polls, and later as the Norfolk and Suffolk Polled cattle, being confined chiefly to these two counties. They are symmetrically built, of medium size, and of uniformly red colour. They have a tuft of hair on the poll. As dairy cattle, they are noted for the length of the period during which they continue in milk. Not less are they valued as beef-producers, and, as they are hardy and docile, they fatten readily and mature fairly early. Hence, like the Lincolnshire Red Shorthorn, they may claim to be a dual-purpose breed. As beef cattle they are always seen to advantage at the Norwich Christmas cattle show, held annually in November.

The Aberdeen-Angus, a polled, black breed, the cows of which are often termed “Doddies,” belongs to Aberdeenshire and adjacent parts of Scotland, but many herds are maintained in England and some in Ireland. The steers and heifers fed for the butcher attain great weight, make first-class show beasts, and yield beef of excellent quality. The cross between the Shorthorn and the Aberdeen-Angus is a favourite in the meat markets and at fat-stock competitions.

The Galloways are named from the district, Kirkcudbright and Wigtonshire, in the south-west of Scotland, to which they are native. Like the Aberdeen-Angus cattle, they are hornless, and normally of a black colour. But, with a thicker hide and shaggy hair, suited to a wet climate, they have a coarser appearance than the Aberdeen-Angus, the product of a less humid region, though

  1. Housman, “Robert Bakewell,” Jour. Roy. Agric. Soc. (1894).