THE TEXAS LONGHORN
A LIVING LEGEND


STORY OF THE LONGHORN

Texas Longhorns are a very unique and special breed. They developed from cattle brought to the new world by the Spanish.

1521 ~ Spaniards first bring the cattle to Mexico.

1541 ~ The Spanish drive them into Texas. They bring two types: regular cattle used for milk and beef and specially bred black cattle that are used for fighting bulls. Many of the black cattle go wild, often attacking unprovoked, to the extent of even scattering military columns. They are pursued as game and are among the most dangerous animals in the world to hunt. Longhorns develop from these black cattle.


1767 ~ Wild horned cattle, descended from the black cattle, run in large herds west of the Brazos River.

1800 ~ The horns of these cattle grow larger; they develop heavier bodies and become multi-colored. For the next 50-60 years they are referred to as Texas cattle or "mustang" cattle.

1860 ~ Longhorns have assumed their distinct features and reproduced those characteristics, entitling them to be considered a true breed. After the Civil War (1861-1865) they are called Texas Longhorns.

1867-1880 ~ Period of the great cattle drives. After the Civil War, Texans return home to find their farms and ranches in ruins and the Texas economy in chaos. Across the vast Texas ranges roam the Texas Longhorns. These are rounded up and herded north to the railheads at Abilene and Dodge City, Kansas. Some 10 million head are driven north by many different routes, bringing to Texas 250 million dollars and saving the state from economic ruin.

1930 ~ By now the Texas Longhorns' day has come and gone. The new modern beef breeds have been introduced and there is barely a vestige of the magnificent Longhorn breed left.

1936 ~ From that tiny remnant, Longhorn historian and author J. Frank Dobie and old-time Texas rancher Graves Peeler select what they consider to be the best examples of the breed. These are placed on a state park in the care of the State of Texas, in order to preserve and protect one of Texas' most important historical assets.

Today ~ Part of the official Texas longhorn herd is now at Copper Breaks State Park, preserved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Care is taken to protect all the historical characteristics of the animals in this herd to ensure that the 1870 Longhorn is not lost.

This is just a thumbnail sketch of hte history of the Texas Longhorns-volumes could be written. "The Texas Longhorn", by J. Frank Dobie is an excellent reference book.

For more information on Texas Longhorns, visit the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America website.