Our History

The Shorthorn Breed of cattle originated on the northeastern coast of England in the counties of North Cumberland, 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 the 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 here and the qualities the animals possessed put them in great demand, rapidly spreading their influence 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 as well. The breed followed, sometimes pulling pioneer wagons across the Great Plains and into the far west.

In 1834, Felix Renick of Chillicothe made the first major importation of Shorthorns to Ohio. On October 29, 1836, he held the first Shorthorn auction in Ohio. The cattle sold for huge amounts ranging from $400 to $2,225. A monument was erected to mark this historical milestone.

The Shorthorn breed is one of the oldest American breed organizations in existence today. Shorthorns and Polled Shorthorns are registered in the same Herd Book. Over 45 other breeds of cattle show traces of Shorthorn / Polled Shorthorn in their parentage, including Belgian Blues, Santa Gertrudis, Angus, Red Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Beefmaster, Maine-Anjou and Milking Shorthorns.

The breed has been a part of many “firsts”. The first registry for any breed of beef cattle was Coates Herd Book in 1822. The American Shorthorn Herd Book was the first of any breed to be published in the U.S. and was started in 1846. The first breed organization in America was the American Shorthorn Association which was founded in 1872. The first major breed to be developed in the U.S. was Polled Shorthorns, originating in Minnesota in 1881.

Shorthorns are the world’s most numerous beef breed, but their numbers in North America do not reflect their world popularity. They are considered to be the most docile, easily-handled beef animals in the world.

Shorthorns have long been known for their maternal traits, milking ability and calving ease. Now the breed is excelling in growth and carcass traits, possessing the ability to produce a choice carcass while maintaining leanness.