The Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish
Highlands. The extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection, where
only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed. Originally
there were two distinct classes: the slightly smaller and usually black Kyloe, whose
primary domain was the islands off the west coast of northern Scotland; the other, a
larger animal generally reddish in color, whose territory was the remote Highlands of
Scotland. Today both of these strains are regarded as one breed - the Highland. In
addition to the original strains, yellow, dun, white, brindle and silver are also
considered traditional colors.
Highland herd book was established in 1884. Around that time, American cattlemen from the
western U.S. recognized the natural qualities of the Highland animal and imported them to
improve the blood lines of their herds. As a result, the Highland contributed in a great
way to the success of the American cattle industry. Today Highlands are found throughout
North America, as well as in Europe, Australia and South America.
Highlands require little in the way of shelter, feed
supplements or expensive grains to achieve and maintain good condition. In fact, cold
weather and snow have little effect on them. They have been raised as far north as Alaska
and the Scandinavian countries. They also adapt well to the more southerly climates with
successful herds as far south as Texas and Georgia. Less than ideal pasture or range land
is another reason to consider the Highland breed. These cattle are excellent browsers,
able to clear a brush lot with speed and efficiency.
The Highland is a disease resistant breed. Long lashed and
forelocks shield their eyes from flying insects and as a result, pinkeye and cancer eye
are uncommon. They do not stress easily, so stress-related diseased occur with less
frequency. Other bovine diseases affect the Highland less, due to the genetic advantages
they have achieved.
Despite long horns and an unusual appearance, the Highland is
considered an even-tempered animals, bulls as well as cows. They can be halter trained as
easily as any other breed.
The business end of any beef animal is the amount and quality
of the beef it produces. Today’s market is demanding lean, premium meat. The Highland
carcass is ideally suited to meet this challenge. Highland beef is meat that is lean, well
marbled and flavorful with little outside waste fat (their insulated by long hair rather
than a thick layer of fat). For over 20 years, Highland and Highland crosses have graded
in the top of their respective classes at the prestigious National Western Stock Show in
Denver, Colorado. In the British Isles, Highland beef is recognized as the finest
available and fetches premium prices. The British Royal family keeps a large herd of
Highlands at Balmoral Castle, near Braemar, Scotland and considers them their beef animal
Today’s cattle market is demanding. Regardless of
whether you are a small farm with only a few head, or a large ranch with hundreds, your
objective should be the same … to produce a fine cut of beef with as little effort
and expense as possible. Highlands are the breed to help you do this. Whether your
interest is in purebreds or cross breeding, we are confident that the Highland will
improve your bottom line.
Highlands are an old breed whose time has come. With the
ability to thrive in less than ideal circumstances, outstanding mothering instincts,
longevity, very low calf mortality and disease resistance, they have the ability to
produce the type of beef that is in demand for today’s market.
The Highland is a unique and beautiful animal … truly
"the breed apart."