The Texas Longhorn now resides in the North American state of Texas, obviously.They were first introduced to the country by Europeans and have stayed there ever since.
This breed is descended from a mixture of a couple of breeds. It is a mix between a breed from India and one from Iberia. They were first brought to North America by Europeans during the colonial times.
Genetic analyses showed that the breed originated from the two ancient breeds listed above. They descend from the domestication of wild aurochs in the Middle East. Aurochs were 85% Iberian and a 15% indian breed mix. They are direct descendants of the first cattle in the new world, America.
Early reports suggest they were first brought over by Christopher Columbus in 1493 to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Between then and 1512 more cattle were brought over by the Spanish and transfered to other parts of South America. Over the following two centuries more and more cattle were moved north by Columbus and his fellow travellers.
All cattle brought over were then left feral, meaning most of them ran wild on the ranges. This was the case for the next two centuries. Over several generations, descendants of these cattle evolved the high feed and drought resistant characteristics they are now well known for.
Early US settlers in Texas then got these feral cattle from Mexico and brought them to Texas where they were crossed with Eastern cattle breeds. The result was a tough, rangy animal with long legs and long horns extending up to seven feet. They are thought to also be a close relative of the Portuguese breeds such as Alentejana and Mertolenga.
Well known for their extremely large horns, their horns can grow up to as big as seven feet long from tip to tip. Horns in bulls can grow as long as 5ft 9 inches, while steers and good cows can have horns up to 7ft.
They also have long legs and are a tough, durable animal. They come in a variety of different colours, due to the extensive interbreeding carried out. They can be bluish grey, yellow in colour, brown, black or speckled red and white or dirty speckled. Texas Longhorns are widelt known for this diverse range of coloring. They can be any color or mix of colors, but dark red and white color mixes are the most dominant.
They are a very durable breed indeed, having evolved from their time spent in the harsh conditions of Mexican summers. They can withstand high levels of heat, and have an ability to survive on minimal/poor vegetation.
They have the ability to convert feed into weight gain rather quickly, making them popular for beef production in the Texas regions. Crossbreeding with other breeds makes Longhorns become very easier calvers. They have small birth weights as it is and they are very reliable in producing a calf every single year, without fail.
They are a docile creature and are sometimes even trained as riding steers. They are known for their kind nature, intelligence and gentle disposition.
The longhorn has magnificent genetic potential which is being utilised through a range of crossbreeding. This genetic potential includes high fertility genes, easy calving, disease and parasite resistance, hardiness, longevity. Their ability to survive on marginal lands also makes for a sought after trait.
The Texas Longhorn, took the long route into North America and it hasn't looked back since. The docile Longhorn holds a serious number of genetic opportunities. The Texas Longhorn, although big in size and intimidating to some, is truly the gentle giant of North America.
Tough in nature and kind at heart, the Longhorn is the official king of Texas.