Whitebred Shorthorns, also known as ‘White Shorthorn’ are by no means popular, in fact they are classified as one of the rarest cattle breeds known.
As we know, Shorthorn cattle usually take the form of a mix of red, white or roan coat colouration, but Whitebred Shorthorn is a breed with a difference.
Interestingly enough, they are completely different from all Beef Shorthorn and Dairy Shorthorn strains.
The exact origins of the breed are not completely known, but it is believed that they may have developed from the white dual-purpose Shorthorn cattle, according to Whitebred Shorthorn.
The main founders of the breeds were David Hall, Roxburghshire and Andrew Park, Cumberland, with records of their activities dating back into the 19th century.
Whitebred Shorthorn bulls were commonly used for crossbreeding purposes. The breed was renowned for producing Blue-Grey progeny, when bred to a black Galloway dam.
This particular breeding venture helped to push Whitebred Shorthorn cattle forward, as many breeders continued to recognise the quick maturing abilities of the breed.
Whitebred Shorthorn bulls were later use to cross with Highland dams and this breeding trend, like the production of Blue-Grey progeny still continues well into the 21st century era.
The breed continued to flourish as dual-purpose, proving themselves as an attractive offering for farmers, but an emphasis has now been placed on the breed to emphasis their terminal traits.
The breed is medium-sized, with cows weighing between 550-600kg.
The cattle are mainly white in colour, with an outer coat of soft hair and a thick mossy undercoat.
Breeding females are docile and easy to handle, very fertile and live long productive lives. They can commonly be found producing a calf over the age of ten.
Naturally enough, bulls have bigger frames and are rather larger with good confirmation, weighing between 800-900kg.
According to 'A Yorkshire Vet Through the Seasons', by Julian Norton, the Whitebred Shorthorn breed was considered to be rarer than the Giant Panda.
The breed once had “critical status” on the Rare Breed Survival Trust list back in 2014, according to Whitebred Shorthorn and according to the RBST, they are currently listed as ‘Endangered’ taking their place on the RBST Watchlist.
In recent times, there is increased interest in the breed and numbers are starting to gradually increase, putting the future of the Whitebred Shorthorn breed in a better position.
Today, they are to be found most commonly on English and Scottish soil.
Photo: Whitebred Shorthorn.