AskDefine | Define shorthorn

Dictionary Definition

shorthorn n : English breed of short-horned cattle [syn: Durham]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Describing cattle that have distinctively short horns.


  1. One of a breed of cattle, origininating in England, with distinctively short horns (in contrast to longhorn cattle).

Extensive Definition

The Shorthorn breed of cattle originated in the North East of England in the late 18th century. The breed was developed as dual purpose, suitable for both dairy and beef production; however there were always certain blood lines within the breed which emphasised one quality or the other. Over time these different lines diverged and by the second half of the 20th century two separate breeds had developed - the Beef Shorthorn, and the Dairy Shorthorn. All Shorthorn cattle are coloured red, white or roan, although roan cattle are preferred by some, and completely white animals are not common. However, one type of Shorthorn has been bred to be consistently white – the Whitebred Shorthorn, which was developed to cross with black Galloway cattle to produce a popular blue roan crossbreed, the Blue Grey.
The breed evolved from Teeswater and Durham cattle found originally in the North East of England. In the late 18th century the Colling brothers, Charles and Robert, started to improve the Durham cattle using the selective breeding techniques that Robert Bakewell had used successfully on Longhorn cattle. The culmination of this breeding program was the birth of the bull Comet, bred by Charles Colling, in 1804. This bull was subsequently sold for 1000 guineas in 1810 at the Ketton sale; the first 1000 guinea bull ever recorded.
At the same time Thomas Bates of Kirklevington and John Booth of Killesby were developing the Teeswater cattle. The Bates cattle were subsequently developed for their milking qualities, whereas the Booth cattle were developed for their beef qualities.
In 1822 George Coates published the first volume of his herd book, this was the first pedigree herd book for cattle in the world. Coates published the first four volumes, after which Henry Stafford took over the ownership and publishing of the herd book, retaining the name "Coates's Herd Book". The Shorthorn Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded in 1874, and purchased the copyright of the Herd Book from Stafford. They have continued to compile and publish Coates's Herd Book ever since. Note that in 1958 the beef breeders started their own section of the herd book.
Today the breed is found mainly in English speaking countries, and South America. The main countries are: Argentina, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe. Beamish Museum preserves the Durham breed.

External links

shorthorn in German: Shorthorn-Rind
shorthorn in French: Shorthorn
shorthorn in Japanese: ショートホーン
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1