The Hereford cattle were originally from the town of Herefordshire, located within the United Kingdom where they were bred mainly for their production of beef.
Today more than eight million pedigree breeds of these cattle are found in over 50 countries worldwide. In 1817 the exportation of the Hereford cattle breeds began from the United Kingdom to the state of Kentucky within the United States of America.
The first Herefords successfully to be imported within the United States was done so by a politician by the name of Henry Clay in 1816 which was gave birth to larger scale of imports by the 1840’s.
The trade quickly spread across the United States to include Mexico, South America and Canada allowing these countries to be recognized among the great beef raising countries within the globe.
Today the Hereford breed of cattle can be observed as the main source of beef production in countries such as Russia, Japan, Australia, and even Israel and quite a few other European nations.
The Hereford cattle with its British heritage have been found to thrive in much harsher climatic conditions in various countries.
Prior to the 18th century the Herefordshire regions of the United Kingdom were mainly home to other breeds of cattle with a similar appearance of being quite red in color with a white switch bearing a distinctive resemblance to the current North Devon and Sussex breed.
Later on during the early 19th century other breeds consisting mainly of Shorthorns were used to develop a new breed of draught and beef cattle with a distinctive variation in their color. These herds were recognized as a variation of light brown, yellow, grey and some amount of white in their color.
The Hereford today is easily recognizable with their red and white variations, sometimes with a deep cherry red to a lighter orange kind of buckskin color.
They will typically be found with a white color in their face extending behind the ears and towards the chest region. The majority of the breeds will show a white stripe running along the back towards the head.
Their bulky appearance and smooth rump, thighs and shoulders make them easily differentiated from other cattle breeds such as the Limousin and Charolais. Herefords are in addition tend to be significantly smaller in size with either a short and slick or short and curly coat which is dependent on the country they are located in.
Today the Hereford breed can still be seen grazing in the countryside areas of Herefordshire as well as on display at a variety of agricultural shows in the United States and other countries.
One of the variations of the Hereford cattle is known as the Polled Hereford breed. This is seen as a hornless variant of the Hereford, due to the dominant trait of what is typically referred to as the polled gene.
The Polled Hereford was originally bred for their uniquely deep forequarters and their deep muscles. Their docile temperament made them exceptionally easy to work with, not to mention their fast growing calves and high quality of beef made them a favorite among several ranch hands and breeders.
The breeding of this cattle began as early as 1889 by the selective process of genetic mutation as a separate breeding process to achieve the dominant polled gene within the breeds.
It was Warren Gammon, a cattle rancher from the state of Iowa saw this as an opportunity during which he took the chance to gain the advantage on the specific idea of breeding Polled Herefords.
This led to the formation of the Polled Hereford registry which was founded with no more than 11 polled cattle breeds. To date the American Polled Herefords and the American Hereford breeds both within the United Stated have been successfully combined to coexist under one roof as the American Hereford Association.
The use of other types of cattle in crossbreeding has led to a wide variety of developed strains of the Hereford cattle for their various characteristics which has over time led to specific changes in the breed today.
Some strains however have been maintained for their specific traits to the original breed such as their notable thriftiness and hardiness. This has resulted in the Traditional Hereford breed to be recognized and treated as one of the minority breeds to be preserved for their genetic value respective.
The Hereford breeds found in certain countries have been found to develop a form of eye cancer known as ocular squamous cell carcinoma when exposed to instances of bright sunlight.
These breeds have been observed to characteristically display a low level of eye pigmentation distinctively red in color. Scientists located within the United States and Canada however have concluded that the possibility of the breed developing eye cancer can be greatly reduced by manipulating a hereditary trait of lid and corneoscleral pigment found in the breeds.
In addition nutritional values experienced within the Hereford breed has also been found to stimulate a hereditary condition known as Vaginal prolapse in which a notable section of the vaginal canal of the breed becomes protruded from the opening.
In 1878 The Hereford Cattle Society in the United Kingdom was founded under Queen Victoria. Prior to the formation of the Society, the Herd Book was opened in the year 1846 and was closed in 1886 to any animal whose dam or sire was not previously registered. This was specifically done to ensure the preservation the purity and prestige of the original breeds for future generations.
The American Hereford Association was founded in 1899 and operated from within the home of Charles Gundgel from city of Independence in the state of Missouri. Today the association exists as a trade organization designed to promote and maintain the pride of the Hereford cattle within the Unites States.
Cattle men and ranchers interested in acquiring seed stock of Hereford cattle can purchase them through a variety of organizations online such as:
Hereford calves can be purchased from a variety of Hereford breeders including: