Scottish Highland Cattle is the oldest recognised breed of cattle. It originated in the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland and were first mentioned in the 6th century AD. The first Herd Book (registry) was established in 1885.
The Herd Book described two distinct types of Highland cattle. The Isles producing Smaller, shaggier Black Highlands and the Mainland producing larger Red highlands but, due to crossbreeding between the two, only one type now exists and is registered. Originally, small farms kept highlands as dual-purpose house cows for milk which has a high butterfat content, and their meat- which due to their slow growing nature the quality is renowned worldwide.
A herd of Highland Cattle is known as a fold.
Characteristics of the breed
A variety of colours
The colours include, red, white, black, brindle, yellow and dun.
The Highland has graceful sweeping horns and majestic appearance that will compliment any landscape.
The shaggy coat
They have a double coat of hair - a downy undercoat and a long outer coat which is well-oiled to shed rain and snow. They shed their long hair when
exposed to hot dry climate and grow a new one in winter.
The mothering instinct is highly developed in the Highland cow. Calving difficulties and abandoned calves are rare. The Highland cow has a long productive life and many cows reach 18 years and rear 15 calves, although it is not unheard of to still be breeding at 20 years of age.
They are noted for their grazing ability and are an extremely resilient breed. Where life on the Scottish windblown slopes and hills was tough at the best of times. They are resistant to disease, cold and most weather extremes. This resilience makes them easy care and low maintenance.
"By Royal Appointment"
In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II ordered a Highland Cattle Fold to be kept at Balmoral Castle where they are still kept today.