They are large cattle, coloured a rich dark brown in the cows, calves and steers, and almost black in the bulls. They have a white belly and a white finching stripe along the spine and continuing over the tail, and they normally have well-developed white horns with black tips.
Cattle of similar type were numerous in the Cotswold Hills and the Severn Valley of England as early as the 13th century. They were valued for their milk (used for Gloucester cheeses), for providing strong and docile draught oxen and finally for their beef.
By 1972 only one significant herd remained and the breed was in danger of dying out. The Gloucester Cattle Society was revived in 1973 and the breed has moved from near extinction to there being over 650 registered females. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust lists the Gloucester as being "At Risk" as there are fewer than 750 registered breeding females.
The milk of Gloucesters is well-suited to cheese-making, being high in protein and with high butterfat, in particularly small globules. Single Gloucester and Stinking Bishop cheeses are made exclusively from Gloucester cattle milk. Double Gloucester cheese may now be made from the milk of any cattle, although it was traditionally made from that of Gloucesters.
- Rare Breeds Survival Trust watch list accessed 21st May 2008
|This England-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|
|This cattle-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|