Texas Longhorn

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Texas Longhorn
Texas Longhorn cow.jpg
Conservation statusCritical
Country of originUnited States of America
Coatbrown, white, black
Horn statushorned, large thick horns
A Texas Longhorn steer Texas Longhorn Steer Rocksprings.jpg
A Texas Longhorn steer

The Texas Longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to over 70 inches (1.8 m) tip to tip for bulls, and up to 100 inches (2.54 m) tip to tip for steers and exceptional cows. [1] They are descendants of the first cattle in the New World, brought by Christopher Columbus and the Spanish colonists, and have a high drought-stress tolerance. Texas Longhorns are known for their diverse coloring, and can be any color or mix of colors, but dark red and white color mixes are the most dominant.

Cattle domesticated form of Aurochs

Cattle—colloquially cows—are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos taurus.


Registries for the breed include the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America, founded in 1964 by the Kerr County rancher Charles Schreiner, III; the International Texas Longhorn Association, and the Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Registry. [2] The online National Texas Longhorn Museum displays the diversity of horns found in the breed, stories about notable individual cattle of the breed, as well as a gallery of furniture made out of horns from the animal. [3]

A breed registry, also known as a herdbook, studbook or register, in animal husbandry and the hobby of animal fancy, is an official list of animals within a specific breed whose parents are known. Animals are usually registered by their breeders when they are still young. The terms studbook and register are also used to refer to lists of male animals "standing at stud", that is, those animals actively breeding, as opposed to every known specimen of that breed. Such registries usually issue certificates for each recorded animal, called a pedigree, pedigreed animal documentation, or most commonly, an animal's "papers". Registration papers may consist of a simple certificate or a listing of ancestors in the animal's background, sometimes with a chart showing the lineage.

The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America (TLBAA) is a North American organization of ranchers who participate in the breeding and husbandry of Texas Longhorn cattle. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, the organization was founded in 1964 to serve as a registry for the longhorn breed. Among the founders was the Kerr County rancher Charles Schreiner, III, grandson of the legendary cattle baron Charles Schreiner.

Kerr County, Texas County in the United States

Kerr County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 49,625. Its county seat is Kerrville. The county was named by Joshua D. Brown for his fellow Kentucky native, James Kerr, a congressman of the Republic of Texas.

The longhorn with the longest recorded total-horn-length marks in at 129.5 inches (3.29 m) and belongs to longhorn M Arrow Cha-Ching. This longhorn is owned by Richard Flip who lives near Fayetteville, Texas. The second longest on record is 3S Danica of Tallgrass Cattle Company, who measured in at 100 inches (2.54 m) tip to tip on September 13, 2018. [4]

Fayetteville, Texas City in Texas, United States

Fayetteville is a city in Fayette County, Texas, roughly halfway between Austin and Houston. The population was 258 at the 2010 census.

Due to their innate gentle disposition and intelligence, Texas Longhorns are increasingly being trained for steer riding. [5] [6]

Steer riding rodeo sport involving someone attempting to mount a bucking steer

Steer riding is a rodeo youth event that is an introductory form of bull riding for younger riders, usually between the ages of seven and fourteen. Instead of bucking bulls, the children ride steers that buck. Steers are used because they are known to have a less volatile temperament than bulls and many breeds weigh less than bulls, which makes them a perfect stepping stone to junior bulls. The steers usually weigh between 500 to 1,000 pounds. Steer riding usually follows mutton busting and calf riding as the participant ages and grows. Many young and aspiring bull riders who train in steer riding compete in the National Junior Bullriders Association.

History of the cattle

A Texas Longhorn in Fort Worth, Texas TexasLonghornCattle.jpg
A Texas Longhorn in Fort Worth, Texas

Genetic analyses show that the Texas Longhorn originated from an Iberian hybrid of two ancient cattle lineages: "taurine", descending from the domestication of the wild aurochs in the Middle East, and "indicine", descending from the domestication of the aurochs in India, 85% and 15% respectively by proportion. [7] The Texas Longhorns are direct descendants of the first cattle in the New World. The ancestral cattle were first brought over by Christopher Columbus in 1493 to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Between 1493 and 1512, Spanish colonists brought additional cattle in subsequent expeditions. [8] The cattle consisted of three different breeds; Barrenda, Retinto and Grande Pieto. [9] Over the next two centuries the Spanish moved the cattle north, arriving in the area that would become Texas near the end of the 17th century. The cattle escaped or were turned loose on the open range, where they remained mostly feral for the next two centuries. Over several generations, descendants of these cattle evolved high feed- and drought-stress tolerance and other "hardy" characteristics that have gained Longhorns reputation. [10] [11]

Taurine cattle domesticated cattle, excluding zebus

Taurine cattle, also called European cattle, are a subspecies of domesticated cattle originating in the Near East. Both taurine cattle and indicine cattle (zebus) are descended from the aurochs. Taurine cattle were originally considered a distinct species, but are now typically grouped with zebus and aurochs into one species, Bos taurus. Most modern breeds of cattle are taurine cattle.

Aurochs An extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Europe, Asia, and North Africa

The aurochs, also known as urus or ure, is an extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle; it has also been suggested as an ancestor genetically to the modern European bison, which have been crossbred with steppe bison. The species survived in Europe until 1627, when the last recorded aurochs died in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland.

Zebu subspecies of mammal

A zebu, sometimes known as indicine cattle or humped cattle, is a species or subspecies of domestic cattle originating in South Asia. Zebu are characterised by a fatty hump on their shoulders, a large dewlap, and sometimes drooping ears. They are well adapted to withstanding high temperatures, and are farmed throughout the tropical countries, both as pure zebu and as hybrids with taurine cattle, the other main type of domestic cattle. Zebu are used as draught and riding animals, dairy cattle, and beef cattle, as well as for byproducts such as hides and dung for fuel and manure. Zebu, namely Miniature Zebu, are kept as companion animals. In 1999, researchers at Texas A&M University successfully cloned a zebu.

Early US settlers in Texas obtained feral Mexican cattle from the borderland between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande and mixed them with their own eastern cattle. The result was a tough, rangy animal with long legs and long horns extending up to seven feet. Although this interbreeding was of little consequence to the makeup of a Longhorn, it did alter color. The varieties of color ranged from bluish-grey, and various yellowish hues, to browns, black, ruddy and white, both cleanly bright and dirty-speckled. [12] Portuguese cattle breeds, such as Alentejana and Mertolenga, are the closest relatives of Texas Longhorns. [13] [14]

The Nueces Strip or Wild Horse Desert is the area of south Texas between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. The Republic of Texas claimed the Rio Grande as its southern border; Mexico claimed the Nueces River. The area between the two rivers became known as the Nueces Strip. Both countries invaded it, but neither controlled it nor settled it.

Nueces River river in the United States of America

The Nueces River is a river in the U.S. state of Texas, about 315 miles (507 km) long. It drains a region in central and southern Texas southeastward into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the southernmost major river in Texas northeast of the Rio Grande. Nueces is Spanish for nuts; early settlers named the river after the numerous pecan trees along its banks.

Rio Grande River forming part of the US-Mexico border

The Rio Grande is one of the principal rivers in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The Rio Grande begins in south-central Colorado in the United States and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it forms part of the Mexico–United States border. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles (3,051 km) in the late 1980s, though course shifts occasionally result in length changes. Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is either the fourth- or fifth-longest river system in North America.

Decline and revival

Riding a Texas Longhorn in Padre Island, Texas "Horses on the Beach," a horseback-riding operation on Padre Island, Texas, is an incomplete description of the experience, as this photograph attests. Some guests get a short excursion aboard the LCCN2014633476.tif
Riding a Texas Longhorn in Padre Island, Texas

As Texas became more heavily settled following annexation by the US, the frontier gave way to established farms and ranch lands. The leaner beef of the Texas Longhorn was not as attractive in an era where tallow was highly prized, and the breed's ability to survive on the poor vegetation of the open range was no longer as much of an issue. Other breeds demonstrated traits more highly valued by the modern rancher, such as the ability to gain weight quickly. The Texas Longhorn stock slowly dwindled, until in 1927, when the breed was saved from near extinction by enthusiasts from the United States Forest Service, who collected a small herd of stock to breed on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, Oklahoma. [15] The breed also received significant attention after a Texas Longhorn named "Bevo" was adopted as the mascot of The University of Texas at Austin in 1917, and an image of the animal became commonly associated with the school's sports teams, known as the Texas Longhorns. A few years later, J. Frank Dobie and others gathered small herds to keep in Texas state parks. Oilman Sid W. Richardson helped finance the project. [16] They were cared for largely as curiosities, but the stock's longevity, resistance to disease and ability to thrive on marginal pastures quickly revived the breed as beef stock and for their link to Texas history. Texas Longhorns with elite genetics can often sell for $40,000 or more at auction, with the record of $380,000 on March 18, 2017 for a cow 3S Danica and heifer calf at side during the Legacy XIII sale in Fort Worth, Texas. [17]

Commercial ranchers cross-breed Texas Longhorns with other breeds for increasing hybrid vigor and easy calving characteristics. Smaller birth weights reduce dystocia for first-calf heifers.

Related Research Articles

Cowboy animal herder

A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of special significance and legend. A subtype, called a wrangler, specifically tends the horses used to work cattle. In addition to ranch work, some cowboys work for or participate in rodeos. Cowgirls, first defined as such in the late 19th century, had a less-well documented historical role, but in the modern world work at identical tasks and have obtained considerable respect for their achievements. Cattle handlers in many other parts of the world, particularly South America and Australia, perform work similar to the cowboy.

Heck cattle cattle breed

Heck cattle are a hardy breed of domestic cattle. These cattle are the result of an attempt by the Heck brothers to breed back the extinct aurochs from modern aurochs-derived cattle in the 1920s and 1930s. Controversy revolves around methodology and success of the programme. There are considerable differences between Heck cattle and the aurochs in build, height, and body proportions. Furthermore, there are other cattle breeds which resemble their wild ancestors at least as much as Heck cattle.

Bevo (mascot) Mascot of University of Texas at Austin

Bevo is the live mascot of the athletic programs at the University of Texas at Austin. Bevo is a Texas longhorn steer with burnt orange and white coloring from which the university derived its color scheme. The profile of the Longhorn's head and horns gives rise to the school's hand symbol and saying: "Hook 'em Horns". The most recent Bevo, Bevo XV, was introduced to Texas football fans on September 4, 2016. His predecessor, Bevo XIV, died of cancer on October 16, 2015. Bevo XV is owned by Betty and John Baker's Sunrise Ranch in Liberty Hill, Texas; Sunrise Ranch also owned Bevo XV's predecessors Bevo XIII and Bevo XIV.

J. Frank Dobie American writer

James Frank Dobie was an American folklorist, writer, and newspaper columnist best known for his many books depicting the richness and traditions of life in rural Texas during the days of the open range. As a public figure, he was known in his lifetime for his outspoken liberal views against Texas state politics, and carried out a long, personal war against what he saw as braggart Texans, religious prejudice, restraints on individual liberty, and an assault by the mechanized world on the human spirit. He was instrumental in the saving of the Texas Longhorn breed of cattle from extinction.

English Longhorn British breed of cattle

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.

Chisholm Trail

The Chisholm Trail was a trail used in the post-Civil War era to drive cattle overland from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads. The trail was established by Delaware scout and cattle rancher Black Beaver and his friend Jesse Chisholm who was a merchant. The southern terminus was a trading post near the Red River, and the Northern terminus was a trading post near Kansas City, Kansas. Both trading posts were owned by Chisholm.

Cattle drives in the United States

Cattle drives were a major economic activity in the 19th century American West, particularly between 1856 and 1896. In this period, 27 million cattle were driven from Texas to railheads in Arkansas, for shipment to stockyards in Louisiana and points east. The long distances covered, the need for periodic rests by riders and animals, and the establishment of railheads led to the development of "cow towns" across the frontier.

White Park cattle a rare breed of horned cattle

The White Park is a rare breed of ancient horned cattle primarily residing in Great Britain. Two similar semi-feral populations, the Chillingham Wild Cattle in Northumbria and the Vaynol cattle from Gwynedd in North Wales, have a separate breed status. There are relatively small numbers of the White Park cattle in the United States, where they are commonly known as the Ancient White Park in order to distinguish them from the American White Park, which is a population of the British White breed.

Hérens cattle cattle breed

The Herens is a breed of cattle named after the Val d'Hérens region of Switzerland. These small, horned alpine cattle are coloured black, brown or dark red, often with a lighter stripe along the spine. The cows are used in organised cow fights.

American Milking Devon cattle breed

The American Milking Devon is a breed of cattle from the United States. Originally derived from British North Devon cattle brought to North America in the 17th century, the two strains have since diverged significantly. Modern North Devons have been bred to be used almost exclusively for beef production, while American Milking Devons are a multi-purpose animal akin to the stock which first took the transatlantic journey. Despite their name, they are also suited to meat production and to work as draft animals. Considered to be one of the oldest and purest breeds of American cattle in existence, American Milking Devons are also exceedingly rare.

Pineywoods cattle cattle breed

Pineywoods cattle are a rare-breed landrace of cattle that are descended from the original Spanish stock left along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama by the Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. The breed was historically cultivated by the Florida crackers, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Miniature Texas Longhorns are purebred, registered Texas Longhorns that have been "downsized" by selectively breeding the smallest Texas Longhorns together over time.

Ranch Area of land used for raising grazing livestock

A ranch is an area of land, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most often applies to livestock-raising operations in Mexico, the Western United States and Western Canada, though there are ranches in other areas. People who own or operate a ranch are called ranchers, cattlemen, or stockgrowers. Ranching is also a method used to raise less common livestock such as elk, American bison or even ostrich, emu, and alpaca.

Sheep Wars

The Sheep Wars, or the Sheep and Cattle Wars, were a series of armed conflicts in the Western United States which were fought between sheepmen and cattlemen over grazing rights. Sheep wars occurred in many western states though they were most common in Texas, Arizona and the border region of Wyoming and Colorado. Generally, the cattlemen saw the sheepherders as invaders, who destroyed the public grazing lands, which they had to share on a first-come, first-served basis. Between 1870 and 1920, approximately 120 engagements occurred in eight different states or territories. At least 54 men were killed and some 50,000 to over 100,000 sheep were slaughtered.

North American Piedmontese breed of domestic beef cattle

North American Piedmontese cattle are a breed of domestic beef cattle originating from an imported herd of select Italian purebred Piedmontese cattle. The foundation line of breeding stock was first imported from Italy into Canada in 1979, and into the United States in the early 1980s. Piedmontese cattle are distinguished by a unique, naturally occurring gene identified as the myostatin allele mutation, or inactive myostatin gene. Myostatin prohibits muscle growth whereas an inactive gene has the opposite effect. Purebred Piedmontese are homozygous,, which means they have two identical alleles present for this unique gene. Research indicates the presence of the myostatin allele mutation produces morphological characteristics unique to the breed, such as double-muscling, beef tenderness, reduced fat content and high yield. According to the North American Piedmontese Association (NAPA), they are the first breed registry to base animal registration requirements on the presence of this specific gene which can be easily verified by DNA testing.

Hariana cattle cattle breed

Hariana is a breed of zebu cattle native to North India, specially in the state of Haryana. They produce about 5 liters of milk a day, compared to 8.9 liters when cross bred with Holstein Friesian cattle (HS), whereas pure HS can produce 50 liter a day but it is not as disease resistant in the conditions of North India.

Charles Schreiner III American cattle rancher, landowner, and businessman

Charles Schreiner III, known as Charlie III, or Three, was an American rancher, author, publisher, entrepreneur, collector of guns and Western art and memorabilia, and historian from Kerr County in the Texas Hill Country. He was the grandson of cattle baron, businessman, banker, landowner, and philanthropist Captain Charles Armand Schreiner.

Cerbat mustang American horse breed

The Cerbat mustang is a feral horse population of Arizona, found in the Cerbat Herd Management Area in that state. Their main coat colors are chestnut, bay, and roan. While their phenotype is similar to the classic Colonial Spanish Horse, the actual origin of Cerbat mustangs is unclear, but they have been identified by DNA testing as of Colonial Spanish horse ancestry, and they are recognized by the Spanish Mustang registry as valid foundation stock for that standardized breed. Cerbats possess the ability to gait.


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Further reading