The Texas Longhorn cattle breed has been characteristically renowned for its long horns which have been observed to extend as much as 7 feet within its steers and extraordinary cows, and 36 to 80 inches between the tips in the bulls.
Spanish colonists were known for importing similar breeds of cattle to several states within the northern regions of Unites States of America including Florida and California. The horns of the Texas Longhorn cattle breed are generally found to have a modest triple twist at their tips turning in an upward direction.
The Texas Longhorn breed of cattle is known for their coats showing a great deal of variety in color. The breed can often be found with the coat having anywhere from a solid dominant color to a mix of colors.
However they have mainly been observed as appearing with either a mixture of white coloration and dark red.
The Texas Longhorn cattle breeds which are found to be superior in their genetic composition are often referred to by many cattle men and ranchers as having elite genetics and are highly valued throughout the cattle industry as they are often sold at local fairs and auctions within the United States for prices exceeding $50,000.
The highest record sale to date recognizes a Texas Longhorn cow being sold for more than $170,000 in the United States. The breed’s natural docile and gentle temperament, the Texas Longhorn cattle has allowed the breed to be trained as riding steers; a practice which continues to remain in effect to this day.
It has been found through a series of genetic analysis that the Longhorn cattle breed were originally bred from an Iberian cattle crossbreed from two prehistoric cattle lineages.
These cattle breeds have been recognized as, the taurine breed which were cattle breed descending from the domestication of the breed known as the wild aurochs located in the regions of the Middle East and the indicine cattle which were descendants from the domesticated aurochs breed found in India.
The resulting crossbred Longhorn breed was observed to contain 85 percent of the taurine and 15 percent indicine. The Texas Longhorn cattle breed lineage has been successfully traced back to the first cattle breed ever to have been brought to the Western Hemisphere.
In 1493 the Italian explorer, colonizer and navigator by the name of Christopher Columbus brought the hereditary cattle breed to the Caribbean island known as Hispaniola. Spanish colonists during the period between 1493 and 1512 brought several other cattle breeds such as the Grande Pieto, Barrenda and the Retinto in future explorations.
For the next two hundred years, the Spanish colonist’s migrated northern regions of the continent taking with them their cattle breeds.
Cattle breeds which were lost or escaped during that period remained on the open ranges of that region where they remained bred in the wild for an additional two hundred years.
Descendants of these feral cattle breeds over several generations evolved, developing drought-stress and high-feed resilience in addition to a number of robust characteristics that have made the Longhorn cattle breed one of the more renown and favored breeds among cattle men and ranchers.
Early settlers within the United States acquired these Mexican wild cattle breeds from the Wild Horse Desert regions located in southern Texas between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River.
These wild cattle breeds were crossbred with the domestic cattle bred by the settlers resulting in a hybrid cattle breed with a rugged well-built gangly animal with lanky legs and distinctively long horns extending as high as eight feet. The interbreeding of these particular cattle breeds did not play any role in the development of the Longhorn cattle however it did allow certain alterations in the breeds coat color.
Through this selective breeding a variety of colors were made possible, including ruddy and white, black, brown, grey with a slight shade of blue, dirty speckled and cleanly bright.
The closest linage to the Texas Longhorn cattle breed is the Portuguese bred Mertolenga breed found in the lower regions of Alentejo and Ribatejo and the Alentejana cattle located in the Southern Portuguese regions of Alentejo.
The invasion and conquest of the original inhabitants of the American Indian settlements resulted in the state of Texas becoming increasingly populated, giving way to the development of ranch lands and farms on a new frontier.
The lean beef produced by the Longhorn cattle breeds during this period was not a widely welcomed cut of beef as many were accustomed to the highly favored fatty tallow beef. In addition, the previously welcomed characteristic of the ability of the Longhorn cattle breed to survive under harsher conditions and poor vegetation was no longer a factor considering the lush grazing area now provided within the region.
This observed a change in the requirements for specific cattle breeds resulting in more favorable traits to be accepted in other cattle breeds such as the increased growth factor for cattle to quickly gain weight.
The Texas Longhorn cattle breed saw a significant decline in their seed stock, however the breed was revived in 1927 by a group of Longhorn admirers from the United States Forestry Service who decided to breed a small herd on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge located in the town of Lawton in the state of Oklahoma.
James Frank Dobie an American folklorist and newspaper columnist along with a few others collected and bred a number of small herds of the Texas Longhorn to be raised in Texas state parks a few years later.
The breed were managed and bred mainly for their distinctive characteristics which sparked the curiosity of several onlookers and visitors to these parks.
However the longevity of the stock in addition to the breed’s resilience to disease and natural ability to effectively graze on harsh pastures allowed the breed to be once again quickly recognized as a premium cattle breed of beef cattle.
In 1964 the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America was formed consisting of a number of ranchers participating in the breeding and cultivation of the Texas Longhorn cattle.
Today the Texas Longhorn cattle breed are bred mainly for their production of beef, as several Texas ranchers and breeders maintain herds with available stock to be purchased by cattle men and ranchers through:
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