About The Breed
Angus Cattle is a term that refers to two Scottish breeds of cattle, native to the counties Aberdeenshire
and Angus. Aberdeen Angus is the original name of the breed and remains the name is still in use in
the United Kingdom, Europe and South America. The two breeds of Angus cattle are: Black Angus, which refers to the predominant
coloring amongst the original Scottish Aberdeen Angus population. If a color is not specified when referring to Angus cattle,
it's presumed to be black.
Red Angus, a breed resulting from the selection of red individuals from the Angus population,
which has always had both red and black individuals. Angus cattle are naturally polled, that is, they do not have horns.
Black Angus is the most popular beef breed of cattle in the United States, with 324,266 animals registered in 2005
Scotland: For some time before the 1800s, the hornless cattle in Aberdeenshire and Angus were
called Angus doddies. Hugh Watson can be considered the founder of the breed; he was instrumental in selecting the best black,
polled animals for his herd. His favorite bull was Old Jock, who was born 1842 and sired by Grey-Breasted Jock. Old Jock was
given the number "1" in the Scottish Herd Book when it was founded. Another of Watson's notable animals was a cow, Old Granny,
which was born in 1824 and said to have lived to 35 years of age and to have produced 29 calves. The pedigrees of the vast
majority of Angus cattle alive today can be traced back to these two animals.
United States: On May 17, 1873, George Grant brought four Angus bulls to Victoria, Kansas.
He wanted to develop the Angus as his primary breed and introduce it to the region as an ideal beef option. He took
the bulls to the fair in Kansas City where they were the topic of much conversation at a time when Shorthorns and Longhorns
were the norm. The black hornless animals were often called "freaks" by those who saw them. At this time, polledness
was not yet appreciated for its benefits within feedlot cattle, and the black color was too different from the common red
coloration seen in the familiar cattle. Angus ranchers however were not dissuaded and continued to promote the Angus and also
began to crossbreed it with the hardy Texas Longhorn. The results were polled, very hardy black calves – a very appealing
cross to past critics. A heavy importation of Angus cattle direct from Scotland followed, at its peak 1200 cattle were brought
in from 1878 to 1883.
The initial bulls were used only in crossbreeding and have no registered progeny today. However,
their offspring left a favorable impression on the cattlemen of the time and soon more Angus cattle were imported from Scotland
to form purebred herds.
Angus beef hardly needs an introduction; it is renowned for its fine marbling texture and superlative
eating qualities. The Angus, given a minimal amount of days on feed, will manage to repeatedly turn out Prime and Choice grade
meats. The Certified Angus Beef program was the first of its class. It provides Angus beef producers an increase in the marketability
of their stock directly leading to higher premiums. For the consumer, it provides a consistent eating experience and the assurance
of knowing what one is purchasing. In order to qualify under the phenotype requirements of the CAB programs, the cattle must
exhibit at least 51% black coloration as well as the absence of non-angus traits (Brahman humps, dairy cattle conformation).
The surge in the CAB program has led to a wide-reaching escalation of breeding black into cattle stock, most often using Angus
During the latter part of 2003 and the early part of 2004, the American fast food industry assisted
in a public relations campaign to promote the supposedly superior quality of beef produced from Angus cattle (“Angus
beef”). Back Yard Burger was the first such large scale product sold in the US, dating back to 2002. Angus burgers
are also menu items for chains such as Hardee's and Canadian-based Harvey's . Beginning in 2006, McDonalds began testing hamburgers
made with Angus beef at a number of its restaurants in several regions in the US; the company said that customer response
to the burgers was positive and began selling the burger at all US locations in July 2009. At the same time, McDonald's Australia
also began selling two variants of the burger, the Grand Angus and the Mighty Angus, using Australian-bred Angus, in their
While the high quality traits of beef are not exclusive in the Angus, their numbers increased due
to their consistency in producing quality. There is little lacking in the Angus breed; it meets the needs of a demanding cattle
industry on a wide range of points. It is a docile breed, relatively hardy; cows calve easily and have excellent maternal
instincts. At feedlots its meat quality proves its superiority time and again. When in doubt, it is the cattleman tradition
to go black—a time tested strategy that has served them well.
The American Angus Association set up the "Certified Angus Beef" brand in 1978. The goal of this
brand was to promote the idea that Angus beef was of higher quality than beef from other breeds of cattle. Cattle are eligible
for "Certified Angus Beef" evaluation if they are at least 51% black and exhibit Angus influence, which include Black Simmental
beef and crossbreds. However, they must meet all 10 of the following criteria, which were refined in January 2007 to further
enhance product consistency, to be labeled "Certified Angus Beef" by USDA Graders:
Modest or higher degree of marbling
Medium or fine marbling texture
10 to 16-square-inch ribeye area
Less than 1,000-pound hot carcass
Less than 1-inch fat thickness
Moderately thick or thicker muscling
No hump on the neck exceeding 5 cm
Practically free of capillary rupture
No dark cutting characteristics
Angus bulls are an excellent crossbreeding option. Breeding to an Angus bull virtually eliminates
calving problems (dystocia). They are also used as a genetic dehorner as the polled gene is passed on as a dominant trait.
The resulting calves are born polled minimizing injuries in feedlot situations. Further, the Angus’ black coloration
also serves as “sun block” of sorts, helping to prevent cancers and sun burning of the udder. The ChiAngus (Angus
x Chianina) and the SimAngus (Angus x Simmental) are only two examples of angus hybrids that carry the qualities of both breeds
making leaner, more efficient grain converters with higher performance numbers.
Genetic Disorders: The Angus breed is known to be prone to several possible genetic disorders.
Arthrogry-posis Multiplex (AM) (curly calf), which has been identified in certain Angus cattle genetics, is a recessive lethal
disorder, meaning that a calf has to inherit the genetic defect from both of its parents to be affected. Another Angus genetic
disorder that may be encountered is Neuropathic Hydrocephalus (NH), sometimes known as water head. DNA testing is now being
developed for both AM and NH.
National Angus Associations and Registries
On November 21, 1883, the American Aberdeen Angus Association was founded in Chicago, Illinois, but
the organization's name was shortened in the 1950s to the American Angus Association. The Association's first herd book was
published on March 1, 1885. At this time both red and black animals were registered without distinction. However,
in 1917 the Association barred the registering of red and other colored animals in an effort to promote a solid black breed.
Red Angus cattle occur as the result of a recessive gene. Breeders collecting red cattle from black herds began the Red Angus
Association of America in 1954. Other countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada still register both colors in the same
Today, The American Angus Association holds the distinction of being the largest purebred beef registry
in the world.
BLACK ANGUS in U.S.
American Angus Association http://www.angus.org3201 Frederick Blvd.
St. Joseph, MO 64506
RED ANGUS in U.S.
Red Angus Association of America
4201 North Interstate 35
Denton, Texas 76207-3415
Canadian Angus Association http://www.cdnangus.ca/
6715-8th Street NE
Calgary, Alberta T2E