Texas Longhorn is a breed of cattle that is characterized by it's horns. They are ancient descendants from two lineages, being taurine and indicine; both domestication of aurochs in the Middle East and India. The cattle are also direct descendants of the first cattle brought to the Island of Hispaniola by Christopher Columbus in the 1400's. Among them were other breeds brought by the Spanish Colonists; all included Barrenda, Retinto, and Grande Peito breeds.
Over time the Spanish moved north, taking the cattle with them, to the area that would later become Texas. The cattle eventually were turned loose to graze and later would escape to roam the open range. Over several generations and many descendants of these cattle is where their characteristics of being hardy and stress tolerant of the drought stricken area developed. The early settlers in Texas obtained these feral cattle and started mixing them with their own cattle. The interbreeding resulted in the various color combinations we see today. However, dark red and white mixes are the most prominent.
As Texas became more settled with farms and ranches, other breeds of cattle became more attractive to the breeder because they had the ability to gain weight quicker than the Longhorn. With fences going up, it was also not necessary to worry about ability to be so hardy. The Texas Longhorn dwindled to near extinction.
The United States Forest Service saved this breed in 1927 by collecting a small herd to breed on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, Oklahoma. Others were also gathered and placed in Texas state parks for preservation. It wasn't long before their traits of being disease resistant, longevity, and the ability to thrive were once again discovered as desirable traits. One of the most sought after traits today is the ease of calving and gentle disposition.
Today, the breed continues to grow and those who come in contact with the Longhorn soon fall in love. All across the United States, Canada, and Europe this breed is thriving. Numerous organizations and associations are being pioneered so breeders alike can showcase their animals and continue the legacy of the Texas Longhorn.
We (NETLA) continue to grow thanks to the many dedicated members. Our goal is to be a valuable resource to those wishing to learn more about these beautiful animals.