English Longhorn cow and calf
|Country of origin||England|
|Distribution||UK, Ireland, Germany and New Zealand|
|Use||Beef, formerly draught and dairy|
|Coat||Red, brown or grey and white; often blotched in areas.|
|Horn status||Long, cream horns that curve around the face.|
English Longhorn cattle are a long-horned brown and white breed of beef cattle originating from Craven, in the north of England. The breed was initially used as a draught animal, which its body is well suited for; the milk was also collected for butter and cheese because of its high butterfat content. An individual farmer would have owned one or two cows; these would have been accompanied by a bull owned by the Lord of the Manor. The notable long, curved horns that serve to distinguish this breed from others can make an individual appear aggressive, although by temperament they are usually friendly. Longhorns live surprisingly longer than other breeds of cattle and are also known for calving with ease. They have a white patch along the line of their spine and under their bellies.
They are not to be confused with the Texas Longhorn breed, which is also often called "Longhorn cattle" or "Longhorns".
Though long-horned oxen were already predominant in Craven in the 16th and 17th centuries, the English Longhorn breed was much improved for beef by Robert Bakewell of Dishley, Loughborough, when large amounts of meat were needed to feed people who had moved to towns and cities in the Industrial Revolution. His selective breeding made the "Dishley Longhorn" very popular towards the end of the 18th century. The breed is still to be found in Leicestershire at the Stanley's Springbarrow Farm, at Thoresby Estate in Nottinghamshire and a small herd has been re-introduced at Calke Abbey, in Derbyshire, where the Harpur-Crewe family had traditionally kept them.
Difference from Texas Longhorns
English Longhorns have curved horns that tend to grow down around the face, framing it, whereas Texas Longhorns' horns usually grow up and out, away from the face. Texas Longhorn cattle can be any colour a cow can be other than blue-roan, while English Longhorns are only brown and white.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Longhorn cattle.|
- Longhorn Cattle Society page
- Oklahoma State University breed profile
- New Zealand rare breeds
- The Cattle Site