The Texas longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to 120 inches tip to tip for steers and exceptional cows and bulls in the 70 to 80 inch tip to tip range. Horns can have a slight upward turn at their tips or even triple twist. Texas Longhorns are known for their extreme diversified coloring. The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America and the International Texas Longhorn Association serve as the recognized registries for the breed.
Texas Longhorn Marketing Alliance
The Texas Longhorn could be called the cattle that won the west. Texas Longhorns came to America with the Spanish via the Moors who brought these long horned cattle from Africa. Many cattle escaped the wooden and brush corals the Spanish built. The cattle went feral and lived wild and free in the harsh American wilderness for three hundred years. The bloodline remained pure except for the occasional mix of escaped Mexican fighting bulls, and strays of other European breeds. This breed of cattle could be the only breed today that developed largely without man's influence.
Harassed by Wolves, Grizzlies, Cougars, Coyotes and sometimes Native Americans, Texas Longhorns adapted to a challenging new environment. They came in almost every color and pattern possible, had long legs, deep chests and rangy athletic bodies which helped them travel many miles for water and forage, they browsed on a wide variety of plant life, and could handle extreme conditions from the heat of the tropics to the cold of the Rockies. The cows have strong maternal instincts to hide or fiercely protect their calves from predators, and the bulls will fight to the death for the right to breed. Only the strong survived.
After the Civil War homesteaders and former soldiers moved west and were faced with the opportunity to freely gather and drive 3 million wild Texas Longhorns north to railheads bound for hungry eastern markets. Without the Texas Longhorn there would have been no Cowboys, no westerns, and no John Wayne as we knew them.
In the 1870's and 80's disease resistant Texas Longhorns were nearly all hunted down and killed because they carried tick fever which threatened the less resistant European cattle that ranchers and consumers preferred.
Today these majestic cattle are enjoying a grand resurgence in popularity thanks to a few families and a government refuge which preserved a handful of purebred animals through the first part of the 20th century. Texas Longhorn beef is nearly cholesterol free, it's high in protein, and low in fat. Texas Longhorns are raised on rangeland or grass fed on pastures without adding growth hormones, and it is considered one of the most healthy red meats. Think about this; What breed would most likely survive global climactic change, natural or man-made ? Yes, the Texas Longhorn may win the west again.
Due to the variation in horn growth, with some cattle having almost flat horns while others have many twists and turns, there are 3 horn measurements that can be taken.
Tip to Tip - The length from each tip of the horn, a straight line. This is a common measurement.
Total Horn - The total length following the horn and always greater than the Tip to Tip.
Base (or Poll) - The circumference of the horn at the largest point.