History of Shorthorns
About 225 years ago in Durham County in North East England, the Shorthorn breed had its founding. Achievers - strong calibre people who had gained notoriety in areas of agriculture, public service, politics and industry, created the breed.
A Mr. Colling selected a bull at a sale and mated him with his brothers newly acquired expensive cow - "Duchess". The progeny were the basis of a new breed with desirable traits - larger frames, powerful and docile oxen. They were claimed to be of superior mothering qualities and produced above average quantities of milk.
As the breed matured there in the Valley of the Tees, emphasis was placed on improving the traits. As the reputation of the cattle spread, Scotland was the destination of some animals. With vigilance on up-grading the breed, exports occurred to other countries.
Scotland's chief exports became Scotch Whiskey, Clydesdale horses and Shorthorn Cattle. From the Valley of the Tees unfolded a breed useful for big frames, beefy and a natural capacity for fast and efficient conversion of feed to food. Combined with docility, the breed was unequalled.
By selecting beef cattle that were good milkers and milk cattle that were efficient producers, the breed made a huge impact on the international scene.
Early Canadians preferred Shorthorns - the pioneers called them the universal breed. They liked the big framed red, or roan, or white cattle for dairy products, food and working oxen. Canada's first imported cattle were likely Shorthorns. Incoming settlers looked to England and Scotland for seed stock. When the first Canada Herd Book was published in 1867, shorthorns were included. The breed traces animals back to as early as 1825 in North America.
The demand in Canada for excellence in the breed saw many animals imported over many years from notably Scotland. Eventually two distinct types of Shorthorns were developed - those with beef characteristics and those with strong dairy qualities. Canadian Shorthorns of today rate very prominently worldwide. It's interesting to note that beef animals have been exported - to Scotland and many other countries.
The qualities desired in the breed initially went on over the centuries to be refined to the excellent stature that the breed enjoys today.