While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »

SHORTHORN CATTLE

SHORTHORN CATTLE. The Shorthorn breed of cattle, developed on the northeastern coast of England before 1750, is the most universally attributed breed in the world. Introduced to America about 1783 but not brought to Texas until the 1850s, Shorthorns were the first purebred animals used by Texas ranchers to improve their Longhorn stock. Mortality among the early Texas Shorthorns was high because of Texas fever, but ranchers, impressed with improvement of their herds, continued to import high-grade bulls. The seventy-five purebred Shorthorns purchased by Charles Goodnight for the JA Ranch in 1876 were largely responsible for the breeding up of Texas Panhandle stock. Charles Mulhern, who established a ranch near Fort Davis in 1878, was an extensive Shorthorn breeder. In South Texas, Robert J. Kleberg, of the King Ranch, was one of the first to introduce purebred Shorthorns into the Texas fever area. His losses were high until the process of immunizing northern cattle was developed. Frank Scofield of Hillsboro developed a Shorthorn herd that supplied many of the state's top registered cattle between 1900 and 1907. Shorthorns mature early and put on weight rapidly. Originally they were good milkers, but in range areas the milk-producing ability has been largely bred out. The animals may be red, white, roan, or mixed red and white in color. Bulls weigh from 1,800 to 2,200 pounds or more. Cows weigh an average of 1,800 pounds. Although the Shorthorn has never attained the Hereford's popularity in Texas, the breed laid the foundation for the state's improved stock. In many cases Texas herds were well graded up with Shorthorn blood before Herefords were introduced. Shorthorns have done very well in crossbreeding programs, most notably in the development of the Santa Gertrudis breed on the King Ranch. In 1946 the breed was estimated to comprise from 5 to 10 percent of Texas beef cattle. The American Shorthorn Association is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Texas Shorthorn Association office is at Olton, Texas. In 1986 there were approximately thirty-six Shorthorn breeders in Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Lewis F. Allen, History of the Short-Horn Cattle (Buffalo, New York, 1886). Frank Reeves, The Story of the Highlands (Marfa, Texas: Highland Hereford Breeders Association, 1936). Alvin H. Sanders, Short-Horn Cattle (Chicago: Sanders, 1900). Charles Schreiner III, "The Background and Development of Brahman Cattle in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 52 (April 1949).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "SHORTHORN CATTLE," accessed May 29, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ats02.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 8, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...