About The Breed
The Shorthorn breed originated on the Northeastern coast of England in the counties of Northcumberland,
Durham, York and Lincoln. The first real development of the breed occurred in the valley of the Tees River about 1600.
The large framed cattle that inhabited this fertile valley became known as Teeswater cattle.
The breed later spread to Scotland and then to America in 1783. When first brought to Virginia,
the breed had attained the name Durham. It was the first improved breed to be imported into the new world and the qualities
the animal possessed made it in great demand and its influence spread rapidly across America.
Shorthorns were popular with America’s early settlers. They valued this breed for meat
and milk and found Shorthorns a willing power for the wagon and plow. The breed followed pioneer wagons across the Great
Plains and into the far West. By 1854, Midwestern farmers had begun direct importations from Scotland, concentrating
their efforts on Shorthorns strictly for beef production.
Even in its early history, the breed was recognized because of its ability to adapt. It could
be easily bred with the Spanish breed, Longhorns, brought in earlier by conquistadors. These early animals fit neatly
in the time period to meet demand and needs during the early development of the beef cattle industry.
Although Shorthorns came first, in the 1870’s breeders discovered ‘natural hornless’
cattle occurring from time-to-time in horned herds. Thus, Polled Shorthorns were discovered and were the first major
beef breed to be developed in the United States, having gained its origin in 1881 in Minnesota. Polled Shorthorns possess
the same qualities for adaptability, mothering ability, reproductive performance, good disposition, feed conversion, longevity
and popularity as their horned counterparts.
In 1822, the first herd book record was established by Shorthorn breeders called the Coates Herd
Book. In 1846 The American Shorthorn Herd Book was the first to be published in this country for any breed, with the
formation of the American Shorthorn Association (ASA) following 26 years later in 1872. Breeders from nine states formulated
the organization, wishing to provide a service for its members and a way to record ancestry through the registration of Shorthorns.
The ASA is one of the oldest American breed organizations in existence today.
Today the ASA has an Appendix Registry (AR) program, which includes ShorthornPlus and Durham Red
registered cattle, which has been ongoing since 1973 with the intent to promote and verify Shorthorn influence in commercial
production. This program has strengthened the Shorthorn influence by increasing numbers and providing additional germ
plasm through the use of related and non-related breeds. The ASA is the only British breed with an ongoing Appendix
program documenting the influence of related and non-related breeds in the breed registry.
The ASA records approximately 18,000 animals each year. More than 30,000 head are maintained
in the association’s whole herd registry. The current membership is in excess of 3,000 adult members, with more
than 4,500 juniors on the membership roll.
Top 10 states make up 64.4% of total registrations. They are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Texas,
Ohio, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri, and