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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - English Longhorn Cattle

Breeds of Livestock - English Longhorn Cattle

English Longhorn

englishlonghorn-web-1.jpg Also known by: Longhorn Historical Synonyms: Dishley, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire

The English Longhorn originated in northwest and central England and Ireland.  They are used primarily for meat production.

The English Longhorn became the first breed, in the mid-1700s, that were improved by Robert Bakewell of Leicestershire, England.  Bakewell pioneered the use of inbreeding technique in cattle selection.  He selected the English Longhorn for quick growth and heavy hindquarters.  His selection efforts led the breed to become the most widely used throughout England and Ireland until it was surpasses by the Shorthorn breed in the early 1800s.

The breed declined rapidly for nearly 200 years until it was rescued by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.  The efforts of RBST in 1980 resulted in 255 registered English Longhorns.


The English Longhorn is red-gray-brown or brindled and all animals are whitebacked.  Cows range in height from 130 to 140 cm and weigh 500 to 600 kg.  Males average 150 cm in height and 1000 kg in weight.

Genus Bos: Cattle Breeds of the World, 1985, MSO-AGVET (Merck & Co., Inc.), Rahway, N.J.

Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.

Alan Cheese, UK


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updated November 15, 1999


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