Native Breed: Shorthorn

Next in our installment of native breeds has to be the Short Horn.

The Breed

The breed originates in the North-East of England, from Teeswater and Durham cattle. Their colours are red, white, or roan and were derived from successful breeding techniques on Longhorn cattle. They’re a medium-frame breed, with a docile temperament.

Originally, one breed of shorthorn was developed both for beef and dairy, however now these have been separated into two distinct breeds, with the beef cattle being larger than dairy cattle. In the UK, both have been developed extensively (while in other regions like Ireland, there has been a focus on the beef-led breed). 

Today, the breed is mostly found in English speaking territories, although the genetics have been used around the world to develop dozens of different breed types. The reason for this is their ability to crossbreed easily with many different breeds, making them the ideal cross due to their calving ease, growth, fertility, and mild temperament.

The growing popularity of this breed bucked the post-war trend, as there was an increased reliance on continental breeds in the UK, such as Simmentals or Limousins. Many farmers realised the benefits of the Shorthorn from a climate perspective, as they’re perfectly suited to the British weather and do very well on a natural diet.

The Meat

As with most of the UK’s native breeds, the beef from a Shorthorn has a high degree of marbling, which is one of its most prized attributes. It was built to withstand the cold and changeable weather of England’s northeast, and therefore its fat permeates through the meat rather than being in layers. This makes for a juicy, rich texture. The beef from a Shorthorn tastes fantastic, and is an excellent alternative to high price cuts such as those from the Aberdeen Angus.