A Northern Dairy Shorthorn Calf.
Rare Cattle Breeds
Cattle are found all over the world but their ancestors were the wild Aurochs who were believed to have originally been found in a relatively small area of Europe, Western Asia and the northern fringe of Africa. From this common ancestor many different breeds of cattle have been created through domestication, varying in shape, size, colour, horned, polled and their function. Some were bred for their milk, meat and skin. Many breeds were bred to be dual purpose animals who could serve all of these functions. Many rare native breeds show resistance to diseases and other health problems that affect modern breeds.
Northern Dairy Shorthorn
They are easy to manage and are hardy. Shorthorn's were bred to survive in the uplands even during the winter and, requiring little in the way of expensive feed. The breed was developed in the North-East of England from stock that may well have come with the Viking invaders. They can be red, white or roan in colour and have small, up swept horns. In the late 1700's, Robert Bakewell and the brothers Charles and Robert Colling improved the Teeswater and Durham breeds, creating the Northern Dairy Shorthorn. The Northern Dairy Shorthorn evolved as a dual-purpose breed to produce both high milk yield and meat and was developed specifically for upland farming. A handful of breeders have worked hard to sustain the breed but there are still a low number of pure-bred females. Northern Dairy Shorthorns are on the critical watch list of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, there are less than 150 breeding cows currently in the UK.