Texas Longhorn Cattle
The Texas Longhorn is an American breed of cattle, easily recognizable from its long horns. They are raised primarily for beef. Texas Longhorns are commonly seen in rodeos and are often used in steer riding.
These cattle are incredibly sturdy, having adapted to the rugged environment centuries ago. They were first brought to the American continent by European explorers who used to keep their ancestors as food and released some of them into the wild.
|Also Known As||Not recorded|
|Physical Characteristics||Moderately thick, rounded bodies, characteristic long horns which can reach up to 8 ft (2.54 m) tip to tip for steers and certain cows, and 36-80 in (0.91-2.0 m) tip to tip for bulls|
|Temperament/Personality||Normally docile and friendly, but can become aggressive if infrequently handled|
|Coat Color||Red, white, black, blue, brown, cream, yellow, dun, grey|
|Muzzle Color||Light tan or brown|
|Weight||Male: 544 to 680 kg Female: 408 to 544 kg|
|Uses||Beef, rodeo entertainment|
|Diet||Grasses, plants, and weeds|
|Lactation Period||Around 9 months|
|Gestation Period||285 to 295 days|
|Climate Tolerance||Both hot and cold climates|
|Country of Origin||United States of America|
|Standard and Qualification Information||Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America|
History and Development
The Texas Longhorns have a storied history, descending from cattle brought by Spanish explorers in the late 1400s. These included cattle brought from the Iberian Peninsula and Andalusia, which were meant to serve as food for these gold-seeking seafarers. Some of these were left behind, becoming feral in the process.
In the 16th century, Spanish sea captain Gregorio de Villalobos, as well as explorer Hernando Cortes, brought Spanish cattle to Mexico for food as they traveled further north. They also acquired the native Criollo cattle found in Mexico. As these expeditions reached closer to the region currently known as Texas, some of their cows would wander off and join the feral population.
When settlers from England brought their own cattle, further interbreeding between them and the wild population led to the creation of the Texas Longhorn. It was favored because of its ability to thrive on poor vegetation while grazing over long ranges.
However, after the annexation of Texas by the U.S. and the increase of enclosed ranges, the popularity of the Texas Longhorn went down.
In 1927, the United States Forest Service saved the breed from near extinction by collecting a small herd to breed in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, Oklahoma.
The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America was founded in 1964 by the Kerr County rancher Charles Schreiner III.
In 1995, the Texas Longhorn was made the state mammal. The cattle raised from elite bloodlines go for high prices, with the record so far held for $380,000 on 18th March 2017 for a cow 3S Danica and her calf at an auction at the Legacy XIII sale in Fort Worth, Texas.
While they produce nutritious milk for their calves, their dairy production is significantly lower compared to other breeds, such as the Holstein.
The Texas Longhorn produces lean beef (more meat, less fat per ounce). It is one of the healthiest forms of beef available currently.
- A Texas Longhorn, nicknamed “Bevo”, was made the mascot of the University of Texas at Austin in 1917. The sports teams at this university are also nicknamed “Texas Longhorns”.
- J. Frank Dobie writes in his classic 1941 book The Longhorns that, “Had they been registered and regulated, restrained and provided for by man, they would not have been what they were”.