Wappen - Juhuranch

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The Highland Breed

The predecessors of the Highland cattle were probably the cattle of the Indo-European, pre-Celtic population of the Middle East and Europe. Recent zooarchaeological research indicates that all European breeds stem from the Middle-Eastern bos primgenius.

The breed was developed from domesticated stock reaching the British islands with the Celts. Known as a wandering and fierce people, the Celts were also skillful artisans and animal breeders. It is assumed that they bred their herds, upon arrival on the islands between 900 and 300 B.C., with the local cattle and thus created an intermediary breed leading to the later Highland cattle. There, however, ends the influence of the Celts.

Highland cattle (Scottish Gaelic: Bò Ghàidhealach)  or (Scots:) Kyloe are a breed of cattle. They are the earliest breed to be registered ever. The official herd book of the Highland Cattle Society records the pedigrees of this breed since 1885 – for now more than 125 years!

The breed was developed in northwestern Scotland and the Hebrides. The harsh and rugged environment of the Highlands provided the conditions for a rigid natural selection, the hardest and most effective method of cultivation. There has been little human interference with the development of this breed and consequently it largely retained its original properties and characteristics. Therefore it is classified as a robust breed.

The many varieties that probably existed once have blended into the contemporary breed over time. It is certain, however, that Highland cattle have developed from two distinct sets of stock. On the one side, the typically black and slightly smaller Kyloe, living on the northwestern Isles in Scotland, and on the other side, the reddish and larger breed from distant Highlands. These were interbreed and led to the reddish-brown coloring dominant today. The official names for the various coat color shades are: red, yellow, black, and – less often – brindle (stripes), dun (grayish brown), and white.

The horns are typically long and symmetrical and differ for the sexes: Bulls should have strong horns, that come level out of the head and are bent forwards. Cows have generally longer horns, which are curved upwards.  The Highland cattle breed is nowadays raised around the world.

Nutritional benefit: The beef of Highland cattle is low in cholesterol.
Sources: ARGE Österr. Hochlandrind und Highland beef