Commercial exploitation of the breed meant that drovers would herd them to English markets. Herds from south west Wales travelled towards Hereford and Gloucester up the Tywi Valley to Llandovery. Herds from South Cardiganshire reached Llandovery through Llanybydder and Llansawel. They would then return to Wales with large amounts of money, which made them targets of bandits and highwaymen. The result was the formation in 1799 of the Banc yr Eidon in Llandovery, the Bank of the Black Ox, which was later purchased by Lloyds Bank.
By the turn of the 19th century, 25,000 cattle were being exported from Wales every year. Before the 1960s, few cattle were exported outside the UK, but now can be found in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Germany as well in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jamaica and Uganda.
As the name suggests, the cattle are naturally black. They generally have white horns with black tips, but these may be removed, and there are also naturally hornless (polled) strains. Red individuals occur occasionally – red and other colours were more common in the past.
- A.G Pryse Jones (1972). Story of Carmarthenshire.
- Marleen Felius, Cattle breeds: an encyclopedia, Misset, 1995
- Robert Trow-Smith, A History of British Livestock Husbandry, to 1700, Taylor & Francis, 2006
- Philip Miller, The gardeners dictionary, 1835
- How to Identify Welsh Black Cattle
- Welsh Black Cattle Society
- Welsh Black Bull bronze near the Royal Welsh showground in Llanelwedd / Builth Wells
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