Angus

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Angus

       In the northeastern part of Scotland lie the four counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Kincardine, and Angus. These counties touch the North Sea and all extend inland and have some high or mountainous country. They have been favored through the ages with a temperate climate and good crops, although the topography of the country is rough. Pastures do well in the area because of well-distributed rainfall. Plenty of grass, plus a nearly ideal temperature for cattle production, has made the area very suitable for some of the greatest improvement that has been made in our purebred breeds of cattle. The county of Angus was early noted for its ~
production of potatoes, grain crops, and feed. This shire contains a fine expanse of highly cultivated land known as Strathmore, which is one of the very fine valleys in that part of Scotland and which has become famous in the history of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. The county of Aberdeen is the most productive agricultural region in Scotland and depends largely upon crops and livestock for income. The fishing industry, however, is stressed along the coastline. The tiny counties of Banff and Kincardine have long been known as livestock centers.

    Northern Scotland, although in a more northern latitude than the United States, has a more uniform temperature throughout the year. The Gulf Steam tempers the climate in the winter, and the summers remain cooler than weather commonly experienced in the United States.
Foundation of the Breed

Two strains were used in the formation of what later became known as the Aberdeen-Angus breed of cattle. In the county of Angus, cattle had existed for some time that were known as Angus doddies. MacDonald and Sinclair quote the Rev. James Playfair as having written in 1797, "There are 1129 horned cattle of all ages and sexes in the parish. I have no other name to them; but many of them are dodded, wanting horns." This seems to be the first authentic reference to polled cattle in the county of Angus, apart from ancient sculptures. In the area of Aberdeenshire, other polled cattle were found and were called Buchan "humlies," Buchan being the principal agricultural district in Aberdeenshire. These cattle were apparently early valued as work oxen, as were most of the other strains of cattle that later acquired various breed names. MacDonald and Sinclair believed that polled cattle were found in Aberdeen in the 16th century, and stated:

    The presence of polled cattle in Aberdeenshire 400 years ago is proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and it may generally be taked for granted that they were co-existent in various parts of northeastern Scotland, their purity being contingent on the degree of care exercised in breeding.

Early Importers and Breeders. The first great herds of Angus beef cattle in America were built up by purchasing stock directly from Scotland. Twelve hundred cattle alone were imported, mostly to the Midwest, in a period of explosive growth between 1878 and 1883 . Over the next quarter of a century these early owners, in turn, helped start other herds by breeding, showing, and selling their registered stock.

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