English Longhorn cattle
English Longhorn cattle are thought to originate from the North of the country and may date back to the 1600s. Here in Ireland, Longhorn cattle were being reared in the 18th century.
Originally, English Longhorn cattle were a triple-purpose breed used for beef, milk and as a drought animal. Even their horns were used to make items such as cutlery.
The high butterfat content of their milk (at around 6%) is ideal for cheese and it was used in famous brands such as Red Leicester and Stilton. Today however, the English Longhorn is primarily used for beef. Given the Longhorn’s numerous qualities it’s hard to believe that the Rare Breeds Survival Trust had to intervene to stop the breed from dying out.
English Longhorn cattle characteristics
English Longhorn cattle usually have brown/red mottling and horns which curve towards their face. (The Texas Longhorn has horns which point skywards.)
English Longhorn cattle are exceptionally docile. They are renowned for their ease of calving (even when crossed with larger, continental bulls) and are hardy. Females usually weigh around 550 kilos, bulls around 1,000 kilos.
The high butterfat content in the milk allows calves to reach good weights quickly and the breed has an excellent reputation as a suckler cow.