|The Texas Longhorns' ancestors
came to the Americas from Spain, arriving with Columbus in 1493
at Santa Domingo. In 1521, Gregorio de Villalobos brought
the first cattle from Santa Domingo to Mexico. Explorers,
settlers and expeditions to establish missions then brought
cattle into Texas. These cattle mingled with cattle lost or
abandoned by settlers, or scattered by Indians, and propagated
on their own without benefit of man. These animals survived
by their own ingenuity - developing through the years the traits
of hardiness, endurance, disease resistance, longevity, fertility
and the ability to utilize whatever browse was available.
After the Civil War, the Texas Longhorn became the financial
salvation of the Southwest. Men returning home from the
war found that a ready source of income was the thousands of
Texas Longhorns wandering freely. The cattle were worth
next to nothing in Texas, but in good demand by the residents
in the North. Between 1866 and 1895, an estimated 10 million
Texas cattle were trailed to northern markets in the famed cattle
drives, bringing in the staggering sum of 200 million
In the late 1800s, the hardy Texas Longhorn
met with an influence his natural instincts couldn't fight.
The open ranges were fenced and other beef breeds were imported
from Europe. The number of Texas Longhorns dwindled until they
approached extinction. The U.S. government appropriated $3,000
in 1927 to acquire a herd of the old-time cattle. U.S.
Forest Service employees made a 5,000 mile trip through South
Texas and Old Mexico, and located 23 head for foundation stock
to establish the federal herd at the Wichita Mountains National
Wildlife Refuge in Cache, Oklahoma.
Through the years, interest in the Texas
Longhorns increased, and in 1964, concerned breeders organized
the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America, now headquartered
in Fort Worth, Texas. Today through the efforts of those breeders,
nearly 250,000 head of Texas Longhorn cattle have been registered.
The Texas Longhorn is making a major come
back in today's beef industry. The same characteristics
that the Texas Longhorn developed through the years of neglect
are in demand by the cattleman of the twentieth century.
Longhorns are valued for their calving ease, fertility, disease
resistance, and longevity.
Texas Longhorn cows can calve well into
their teens, and more calves mean more profit to today's livestock
industry. The breed is adaptable to any climate, doing well
in the hot humid climate of the Florida coast to the cold winters
of the northern United States and Canada. It also forages on
Longhorns work extremely well in crossbreeding
programs. Crossbreeds are being developed to take full
advantage of the breed's best characteristics. Longhorns
are being crossed with Mexican corrientes for roping cattle.
The Texas Longhorn genetics are in demand in today's beef market
for the lean meat they provide. With the public's concern
today about fat in the diet, this breed of cattle can provide
naturally lean beef. Research from Texas A&M University
has shown that Texas longhorn steaks ( Longhorn Lean) have about
30% less muscle fat
Contrary to the wild stampedes seen on
television, the Texas Longhorn is a very docile and easy to
work with. Men and women can work the cattle on foot as
well as horseback, and show long horned cattle in the show ring.
Once the animals become accustomed to being driven or worked,
they are very tractable.
The longhorn has proven itself to be beautiful,
rugged, and useful in the modern day western world.