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|Table of Contents|
|Geological origin of cattle|
|Domestication of cattle|
|The bronze age and early histo...|
|Cattle improvement begins|
|Ayrshires in Scotland|
|Ayrshires in America|
|Brown Swiss in Switzerland|
|Brown Swiss in America|
|Guernseys in the Channel Islan...|
|Guernseys in the United States|
|Friesians in the Netherlands|
|Holstein-Friesians in the United...|
|Cattle on the island of Jersey|
|Jerseys in the United States|
|Dairy shorthorns in the British...|
|Milking shorthorns in America|
|Red Danish in Denmark|
|Red Danish in America|
|Contributions to better dairyi...|
|Index of names|
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
Geological origin of cattle
Domestication of cattle
The bronze age and early history
Cattle improvement begins
Ayrshires in Scotland
Ayrshires in America
Brown Swiss in Switzerland
Brown Swiss in America
Guernseys in the Channel Islands
Guernseys in the United States
Friesians in the Netherlands
Holstein-Friesians in the United States
Cattle on the island of Jersey
Jerseys in the United States
Dairy shorthorns in the British Isles
Milking shorthorns in America
Red Danish in Denmark
Red Danish in America
Contributions to better dairying
Index of names
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
Dur. n. n. iluaee 1ioo-- ), Dean
Emeritus of Iowa State University.
He guided and inspired students and
breeders of dairy cattle, judged shows,
served on committees of true type,
unified score cards, and type classifi-
cation, and was a type classifier with
Holsteins and Jerseys. His investiga-
tions of grading up common cows
with purebred dairy bulls inspired
wide improvement of dairy cattle.
Dr. C. H. Eckles (1875-1933), teacher and pioneer re-
search worker in dairy husbandry, dairy products, and
dairy cattle nutrition. His influence continues to spread
through his publications, the work of his students, and
the 142 graduate students who hold many key positions
in research, teaching, production, and industry. He was
acclaimed one of the "Ten Master Minds of Dairying"
and affectionately called "The Chief" by associates.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT
RAYMOND B. BECKER
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA PRESS
GAINESVILLE / 1973
The author and publishers hereby express their thanks to the follow-
ing, whose generous contributions have made possible the publica-
tion of this work:
ALVAREZ JERSEY FARM, INC., Jacksonville, Florida
AMERICAN BREEDERS SERVICE, INC., DeForest, Wisconsin
(Subsidiary of W. R. Grace & Company)
ELBERT CAMMACK, Geneva, Florida
FLORIDA BROWN Swiss CLUB
FLORIDA GUERNSEY CATTLE CLUB
FLORIDA JERSEY CATTLE CLUB
FLORIDA HOLSTEIN-FRIESIAN ASSOCIATION, INC.
MR. and MRS. JAMES HITE, Summerfield, Florida
V. C. JOHNSON, Dinsmore, Florida
JUDSON MINEAR, Palm City, Florida
NORTHERN OHIO BREEDERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Tiffin, Ohio
TOM C. and JULIA G. PERRY, Moore Haven, Florida
DONALD D. PLATT, Orlando, Florida
C. W. REAVES, Gainesville, Florida
JOHN SARGEANT, Lakeland, Florida
THE WALTER SCHMID FAMILY, Tallevast, Florida
J. K. STUART, Bartow, Florida
CARROLL L. WARD, JR., Astatula, Florida
CARROLL L. WARD, SR., Christmas, Florida
MR. and MRS. WALTER WELKENER, Jacksonville, Florida
Copyright @ 1973 by the State of Florida
Board of Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Trust Fund
All Rights Reserved
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 70-178987
Printed in Florida
When Dr. H. H. Kildee taught "dairy breeds" as a separate course,
no textbook was available. Inspiration from this course led me to
continue studying. Dr. C. H. Eckles and C. S. Plumb advised on
sources of original materials. Libraries were searched in the United
States. Dr. Sir John Hammond gave assistance at the School of
Agriculture in Cambridge. Dr. A. C. McCandlish arranged appoint-
ments in Scotland. Konsulent K. M. Andersen assisted with Danish
materials and travel to original sources. Dean E. L. Anthony sup-
plied an unpublished dissertation on the Red Danish milk breed.
Breed secretaries and Dr. H. H. Hume wrote letters of introduction
which gave entree in England, the Channel Islands, and Europe.
Intensive study was conducted at antiquarian bookshops, cattle
shows, breed offices, libraries, museums, and on farms in Europe.
Curators aided in measuring fossil Bos skulls in Cambridge, Cal-
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
cutta, Leeuwarden, London, and Zurich. The British Museum of
Natural History supplied photographs of Bos skulls and provided
access to the library on mammalian paleontology.
Graphs, maps, and vignettes heading selected chapters were pre-
pared from historical material by our son George F. Becker. Dean
H. H. Kildee and Dr. C. H. Eckles granted use of their photographs.
Dean Kildee selected some key illustrations. Rand McNally Com-
pany provided copyrighted maps on which to superimpose informa-
tion. F. Windels permitted the use of two illustrations from Four
Hundred Centuries of Cave Art. A photograph of Bos primigenius
was bought from the Danish National Museum. Dr. J. U. Duerst's
photograph of Bos longifrons was loaned by the Zootechnische u.
Veterinar Hygienisches Institut in Bern. Dr. M. V. A. Sastry photo-
graphed two skulls in Calcutta. The Milk Industry Foundation gave
two pictures of rock paintings from the Frobenius-Fox expedition.
Secretary H. G. Shepard supplied original copies of early ideal
Jersey type. Hugh Bone copied the original photograph of the first
public milking trial in Ayr. R. W. Hobbs provided the photograph
of his eight Dairy Shorthorn cows.
M. S. Prescott of the Holstein-Friesian World presented photo-
graphs of Solomon Hoxie, Spring Brook Bess Burke 2d, and Wis-
consin Admiral Burke Lad. Mrs. Laura Baxter sent the engravings
of Kitty Clay 3rd and Kitty Clay 4th. The John Gosling meat cut-
ting demonstration and Dr. S. M. Babcock were photographed by
the staff of Iowa State College and the University of Wisconsin.
Some pictures were obtained from Robert F. Hildebrand and Harry
A. Strohmeyer, Jr. Ralph Sneeringer of the University of Florida
copied some photographs with permission.
The chapters on the respective breeds were reviewed critically
by the following authorities. Ayrshire-John Graham, David Gib-
son, Jr., Doris E. Chadburn, and G. A. Bowling; Brown Swiss-John
Graham, Fred S. Idtse, W. Engeler, and R. W. Stumbo; Dutch
Belted-C. H. Willoughby; Guernsey-H. C. Le Page and Karl B.
Musser; Holstein-Friesian-Dr. J. M. Dijkstra and H. W. Norton,
Jr.; Jersey-H. C. Shepard and Lynn Copeland; Milking Shorthorn
-Arthur Furneaux, W. E. Dixon, and Jesse B. Oakley; Red Dane-
K. M. Andersen, K. Hansen, Ejner Nielsen, and Dean E. L. An-
Dean H. H. Kildee, Dr. I. R. Jones, our daughters Mrs. Elizabeth
J. Mitchell and Mrs. Ann M. Herrick, and Robert A. Herrick re-
viewed the entire manuscript. Sincere appreciation is expressed to
them and to many other persons, here and overseas, who contrib-
uted the historical information.
Through the active interest of Extension Dairyman C. W. Reaves,
Director of Special Programs Albert F. Cribbett, and Dr. E. T. York,
Vice President for Agricultural Affairs at the University of Florida,
a number of interested dairy people contributed to The SHARE
Council, University of Florida Foundation, Incorporated. Their
loyal cooperation enabled the University of Florida Press to produce
this volume. To those many authorities and to all others participat-
ing in the production, the author expresses his humble appreciation
Grateful acknowledgment and thanks are due to my wife Harriet
and to our children. Their patience, encouragement, and coopera-
tion were most helpful.
This book is organized into four sections. Chapters 1-4 describe the
geological origin of the genus Bos and domestication and early de-
velopment of common cattle. Man possibly came from east-central
Africa to the regions where cattle roamed wild. He hunted cattle for
food during the Pleistocene Age and into historical times. Capture
and domestication predated written history. Early artists pictured
the chase, and later some tame cattle, on rocks and on the walls of
caves. Neolithic peoples brought small domesticated cattle from
western Asia into Europe, following watercourses where travel was
easiest. They brought some cultivated cereals and reached the
British Isles and Channel Islands over land connections. Breakdown
of feudal tenure and enclosure of lands allowed owners to select
bulls to mate with their cows. Better crops and feed stored for
winter use were corequisite with selection in improvement of cattle.
X DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
Fairs, markets, and agricultural shows rewarded and inspired men
with good animals.
Chapters 5-20 trace the gradual development of breeds. A few in-
dividuals initiated private herdbooks to keep reliable pedigrees.
Solomon Hoxie believed that a herdbook should record conformation
or production of individual animals "upon which a science of cattle
culture could be based." Associations of breeders developed pro-
grams to measure achievements and granted recognition to breeders
who qualified for them. Improvement of cattle once was largely an
art, dependent on the observing eye and analytical mind of a few
leading breeders. Mendel's laws of inheritance and later discoveries
added science to art, increasing the rate of improvement. Improved
dairy cattle served as the foundation stock in the United States.
Heredity is estimated by biometricians to contribute less than 20
percent to milk producing capacity; 80 percent is a factor of en-
vironment (breeding efficiency, disease control, management, nutri-
tion, and other agencies). Such contributions are assembled in part
in chapter 21.
The Summary, based on breed chapters, constitutes chapter 22.
What does the future hold for further improvements among dairy
cattle? The germ plasms of animals possess several types of heredi-
tary genes. Desirable characters have been segregated and dis-
seminated from seedstock such as Penshurst Man O'War, Jane of
Vernon, May Rose 2d, and other improvers. Some undesirable re-
cessive genes have been traced even to seedstock animals of the
highest qualities. Such genes in heterozygous form were present un-
recognized through many generations. They can crop out among
some of the progeny from matings between heterozygous parents.
Plant breeders have developed disease-resistant varieties by apply-
ing known methods to their foundation stocks used in pollinations.
The science of improved cattle breeding lies in the future, with
methods known at present. The plant breeders' methods can be
duplicated by cooperation among dedicated breeders, using the
tool of artificial breeding in order to obtain proofs and application
to develop better strains of dairy cattle. Examples of such accom-
plishments have been cited for Ayrshires, Friesians, and Holstein-
Friesians, and in several breeding references.
Chapter 1. Geological Origin of Cattle . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter 2. Domestication of Cattle . . . . . . . .. . 21
Chapter 3. The Bronze Age and Early History . . . .. . 43
Chapter 4. Cattle Improvement Begins . . . . . . .. . 52
Chapter 5. Ayrshires in Scotland . . . . . . . . . 72
Chapter 6. Ayrshires in America . . . . . . . . . 106
Chapter 7. Brown Swiss in Switzerland . . . . . . .. .134
Chapter 8. Brown Swiss in America . . . . . . . . 155
Chapter 9. Dutch Belted . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 175
Chapter 10. Guernseys in the Channel Islands . . . .. .186
Chapter 11. Guernseys in the United States . . . . .. .204
Chapter 12. Friesians in the Netherlands . . . . . .. .227
Chapter 13. Holstein-Friesians in the United States . . . 252
Chapter 14. Cattle on the Island of Jersey . . . . . .. .286
Xii DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
Chapter 15. Jerseys in the United States . . . . . .. .309
Chapter 16. Dairy Shorthorns in the British Isles . . . . 342
Chapter 17. Milking Shorthorns in America . . . . .. .366
Chapter 18. Red Danish in Denmark . . . . . . .. 386
Chapter 19. Red Danish in America . . . . . . . .. .418
Chapter 20. Red-and-White Dairy . . . . . . . . .. .427
Chapter 21. Contributions to Better Dairying . . . .. .434
Chapter 22. Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . 476
Index of Names . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 539
Subject Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 549
GEOLOGICAL ORIGIN OF CATTLE
THE HISTORY of the origin and development of animal life is frag-
mentary as obtained by paleontological studies. Although count-
less numbers of animals lived, remains of only a few were preserved
in fossil form. Some animals drowned in floods, became mired in
some bog, or were eaten by predatory animals or man; their bones
became covered and preserved from the elements. Erosion, extreme
drouth, excavation, or dredging revealed those few specimens to
man, but conditions to preserve bones existed in limited areas.
Therefore many specimens disintegrated, leaving possibly only a
tooth or some study bones. Furthermore the value of these remains
may not have been recognized by their discoverers; often the fossils
were not turned over to an agency interested in their significance.
This imperfect means represents the tools with which to interpret
,Z DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
One needs to know measures of time to realize the significance of
origins, migrations, and descent of species. The ages of fishes, rep-
tiles, and mammals are characterized by movements and deposition
of earth with entrapped remains of life of each period. Typical ex-
posed deposits have been explored and their fauna described. Rates
of sedimentation, climatic changes, potassium-argon ratios, and rate
of disintegration of radio-carbon-14 have served as methods of es-
timating time and are subject to further investigation. No attempt
will be made to assign years to these periods, but quoted estimates
may be repeated (Table 1.1).
The earliest fossil remains of mammals are chiefly those of the
marsupials. Such remains are found in rocks of the Triassic and
Jurassic periods in Australasia, where the marsupials were protected
from encroachment by higher mammals. Some higher placental
animals appeared in the Oligocene and Miocene periods, but many
did not appear until the Pliocene. Migrations occurred over a long
period; their time and direction were affected by geographic and
climatic barriers such as mountains, deserts, seas, and icecaps dur-
ing glacial periods. Man destroyed wild species during the Old
Stone and New Stone Ages, and became a disseminator of domesti-
cated animals in the New Stone Age.
Fossil remains of cattle (genus Bos) include teeth, skulls, and
other bones distributed in parts of southern and western Asia,
Europe, and northern Africa. Great Britain and the Channel Islands,
which were connected with the continent by land, contributed to
early records of cattle. Wild cattle (true genus Bos) did not ap-
pear in the western hemisphere.
THE MIOCENE AGE
Investigations into the origin of cattle lead into mammalian paleon-
tology, based on few preserved specimens. Personal viewpoints
affect the conclusions, which are subject to reinterpretation when
additional discoveries may be made in Asia, Africa, or Europe.
GEOLOGICAL AGES RELATED TO ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Era Major periods Typical life
Man developed culturally; agriculture; im-
Recent Man an artisan; early domestication of an-
imals in the eastern hemisphere; lake dwel-
lings; late New Stone, Bronze, and Iron
Pleistocene Glacial periods; man a huntsman; early cave
deposits, valley gravels; Bos primigenius and
other large mammals; migrations over land
connections. Old Stone Age.
Fossil man in east-central Africa; Leptobos
and other ruminants; mountain upheavals.
Grassy plains; many mammals; early ru-
minants and horses.
Increased forests and some coal formation;
apes, early ruminants.
Placental mammals with hoofs and grinding
molar teeth; some coal formation.
Many ancient mammals.
Broad-leaf forests increase; some coal forma-
tion; birds, snakes; last of dinosaurs.
Toothed birds; more mammals; dicotyledon-
Land plants, dinosaurs, reptiles, primitive
mammals; gypsum and salt deposits.
Permian Reptiles, insects suited to less humid en-
Carboniferous Forests of the coal measures; amphibians,
Devonian Trees, ferns, marine fishes appear.
Silurian Land plants, early insects.
Ordovician Snails, molluscs, sponges, corals, freshwater
Cambrian Early fossil marine life; trilobites appear.
roterozoic Primitive marine forms appear rarely, en-
trapped by sedimentation.
rcheozoic Igneous rock, metamorphosis occurring.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
J. Cossar Ewart reported to the Scottish Cattle Breeding Confer-
At the end of the Miocene Age, the immense area between
the Ganges and the Jumna [rivers], now occupied by the Si-
walik Hills, consisted of boundless well-watered plains. That
they were fertile will be evident in that they supported a
large number of mammals, including three-toed horses, pigs,
sheep, goats and antelopes, also buffaloes, bison, and of es-
pecial interest Leptobos, the oldest and in many ways the
most primitive known member of the ox family.
Some writers, however, did not regard Leptobos as a true mem-
ber of the ox family but rather as an older form from which the
true ox may have descended.
The Siwalik Hills (Fig. 1.1) are a former ancient flood plain ex-
tending along the Himalayan foothills in East Punjab into United
Provinces in northern India. Hollow-horned mammals, including
three species of true oxen (Bos) which were ancestors of domestic
cattle, appear to have originated in this region.
THE PLIOCENE AGE
Pilgrim classed the fauna of the Pinjor zone (in the upper Siwalik
Hills) at the headwaters of the Bunnah River as belonging to the
lower part of the middle Pliocene Age. Fossil camel, Hemibos,
horse, Leptobos, and others occurred here. Overlaying boulder con-
glomerate also yielded fossil buffalo, camel, hippopotamus, horse,
rhinoceros, and swine, as well as B. acutifrons, B. planifrons, and B.
platyrhinus. He concluded, "Then the first appearance of true Bos
is in the Upper Pliocene of the Siwaliks, while Leptobos and Hemi-
bos precede it in the Middle and Lower Pliocene."
THE PLEISTOCENE AGE
The earliest fossil remains of true cattle were found in the lower
Pleistocene deposits in the Siwalik Hills of north central India below
the Himalayan mountains (Fig. 1.2). This earliest true ox was dis-
covered by Hackett in the Narbada Valley in 1874, and was
named B. acutifrons Lydekker. The skull has a sharp ridge from
the poll down to the middle of the forehead. The horns were nearly
10 feet from tip to tip, and extended outward and upward.
The next younger gravel deposits of the Narbada Valley in this
region yielded remains of B. namadicus (or B. planifrons Lydek-
ker), as shown in Figure 1.3. B. planifrons, an extinct Indian ox,
was of slender build, with horns of the bull set low on the skull. It
was described first by Falconer and Cautley, and called also B.
taurus macroceros Duerst, or B. palaeogarus by Rutimeyer. This
wild species was contemporaneous with early man in India during
the Old Stone Age. Its remains were present also in the lowest
levels excavated at Anau in Turkestan by Duerst in 1904. The spe-
cies which Duerst found in the higher deposits at Anau were
smaller and more refined and had shorter horns. He described it
as B. taurus brachyceros. Northern India was a center from which
. . 0."... .. .... ....
FIG. 1.1. The Siwalik Hills extend along the southern Himalayan foothills in
East Punjab and United Provinces between headwaters of the Jumna and
Ganges rivers. The genus Leptobos and other hollow-horned mammals de-
veloped here during the late Miocene and early Pliocene ages. (Use of the
copyrighted background map by permission of the Rand McNally Company.)
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
hollow-horned mammals (Cavicornia) disseminated. Bovines ap-
peared first in the sub-Himalayas.
The small cattle (Hemibos) are related to the existing anoa of
the Celebes. Long-skulled forms such as the ancestral ox (Lep-
tobos) appear to be similar to the species L. etruscus in the Val
d'Arno in the "Recent Pliocene Fauna" of Europe. The true ox
(Bos) appeared in Europe after the beginning of Pleistocene times
-the second faunal stage.
The Swiss paleontologist Professor L. Rutimeyer regarded B. acu-
tifrons and B. namadicus as the Asiatic and probably older forms
of B. primigenius; Richard Lydekker considered them distinct, but
suggested B. namadicus as a descendant of B. acutifrons. B. plani-
frons Lydekker, with shorter horns and flattened frontal bones, may
have been the female of B. acutifrons.
FIG. 1.2. Bos acutifrons was the largest known wild ox. The bone horn cores
spanned 86.5 inches even though broken off where yet over 3 inches in di-
ameter. (Photographed by Dr. M. V. A. Sastry, Geological Survey of India.)
FIG. 1.3. Bos namadicus, or Bos planifrons, was contempo-
rary with early man during the Pleistocene Age in the
Punjab province of India. (Photographed by Dr. M. V. A.
Lydekker wrote of the Siwalik fauna in the Pliocene:
Originally discovered in the outer ranges of the typical Hima-
layan area, the Siwalik fauna has been traced towards the
northwest into Punjab, Kach, Sind and the northwestern fron-
tier of Baluchistan; the beds from the two latter areas being
lower in the series than those from the typical Siwalik Hills,
and containing an older assemblage of forms, although several
are common to all ....
Goats and oxen for the first time made their appearance,
the former being represented by species belonging to the typ-
ical Capra, and to the shorter-horned genus Hemitragus. The
oxen (Bos) included members of all existing groups with up-
right triangular horns nearly allied to the anoa of the Celebes.
... Genera like Hippopotamus, Bos, Capra, Equus and Elephas
are unknown previous to the Siwalik epoch, and some of them
were evolved at or about that time in the Indian area.
Lydekker considered B. taurus primigenius to be the ancestral
stock of domesticated cattle. B. fraseri has been identified with a
skull from the Pleistocene formation in the Narbada valley. The
genera Equus and Elephas existed in North America in an earlier
period. Teeth of the camel occur also in some hard rock phosphate
deposits in America.
Rutimeyer stated that B. etruscus H. Falconer (or L. elatus) was
found with remains of mastodon, elephant, rhinoceros, and hippo-
potamus in the late Pliocene deposits of the Astigiana, between San
Paula and Dusino, Italy. B. etruscus, a specimen of which is in the
museum in Turin, Italy, ranged widely in Italy and France.
B. etruscus (male) had wide heavy horn bases and a less promi-
nent poll than other later European species of cattle. Females were
hornless. From its anatomy, B. etruscus appeared to be related to
the banteng or Java ox of the present day-Bos sondaicus-but with
horns placed low on the skull near the eyes. A Siwalik representa-
tive, B. falconeri, had a more slender skull and horns of the bulls
turned upward more.
THE OLD STONE AGE
Many fossil remains of B. primigenius Bojanus (Fig. 1.4), repre-
senting the Old Stone Age, have been found over western Asia,
northern Africa, and nearly all of Europe and the British Isles.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
Waterworn rocks, broken by man for a sharp edge, were called
Soan-type artifacts in southern Asia. They occurred with a B. na-
madicus skull during the Pleistocene in the Punjab province of
The older river-drift gravel beds along the Somme, Oise, and
Thames rivers in France and England yielded fossilized bones of
the primitive wild ox. Specimens occurred in the more recent
gravels along the river valleys of France. Ludwig H. Bojanus de-
scribed the fossil remains of the ox in these gravel beds in 1827 and
named the species B. primigenius. This species roamed wild over
all of western Europe and northern Africa.
The crudest flint implements made by man were associated with
fossil ox bones in the older river drifts. The first of these imple-
ments recognized as the work of early man were discovered by M.
Boucher de Perthes in 1847 near Amiens and Abbeville in the
Somme River valley of France. J. Wyatt found similar ones near
FIG. 1.4. The great ox Bos primigenius Bojanus spread during the Pleistocene
Age over Europe and the British Isles. The last specimen died in captivity in
1627. This specimen was taken from a deposit near Athol, Perthshire. M-2245.
Bedford, England, along with bones of deer, hippopotamus, horse,
mammoth, ox, and rhinoceros.
MAN As HUNTERS
Man sometimes lived in caves and shelters during part of the next
stage of civilization. Primitive man used flaked weapons and tools;
he brought home the quarry to his cave where the flesh was eaten
and the long bones broken for marrow. B. primigenius bones were
not disfigured by gnawing, indicating the dog had not yet become
An early hunter broke a young bull's lumbar vertebra with a
spear. The animal escaped and the bone healed. The bull broke
through the ice and drowned when five to six years old. Professor
Sven Nilsson excavated it in 1840 from 10 feet deep in the peat bog
at Onnarp, Sweden. Another ox drowned in a bog in northwestern
Sjaelland, Denmark. Almost the entire skeleton was recovered (Fig.
1.5) on removal of peat. Small flint microliths were embedded in
two ribs. A skull dug from Burwell Fen, near Cambridge, England,
FIG. 1.5. Bos primigenius was hunted by early man for food. This animal, the
skeleton of which is in the Danish National Museum at Copenhagen, was shot
in the flank and two ribs with small flint microliths before it drowned in a peat
bog near Vig on the Island of Siaelland, Denmark.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
had a broken celt or flint axe in its forehead (Fig. 1.6). A skull pre-
served at Bromberg, Prussia, had three spear wounds on the fore-
head. These findings indicated that man hunted the wild ox B.
primigenius for food.
B. primigenius stood 6 to 7 feet tall at the withers. A mature cow
FIG. 1.6. A flint axe penetrated this Bos primigenius skull, found in Burwell
Fen, near Cambridge, England.
Geological Origin 11
skeleton, which was exhibited at the Technical Agricultural High
School in Berlin, was taken from the bottom of a peat bog at Guhlen,
Brandenburg, Germany. An almost complete skeleton was in the
Sedgwick (Woodwardian) Museum at Cambridge, England.
CAVES AND CAVE PAINTINGS
Caves have yielded considerable evidence concerning cattle. E. 0.
James mentioned that:
the Abbes A. and J. Souyssenie and Barden found in a low-
roofed cave near the village of La Chapelle-sur-Saints . . . in
the department of Cobreze, a Neanderthal skeleton lying in a
small pit near the center of the passage . . . stones surrounding
the skeleton. Mousterian flints, estimated at two thousand, and
the bones of the woolly rhinoceros, reindeer, ibex, bison, cave-
hyena, and other cold-loving animals occurred in the deposit,
while above the skull were the leg bones of the ancient type
of ox, and pieces of quarts, flint, ochre, and broken bones were
arranged around the skeleton.
The wild ox was used for food long before the advent of Neo-
lithic man and a smaller kind of domesticated cattle. Keith esti-
mated the Mousterian period at the Wiirm glaciation of northern
Europe at about 40,000 B.C.
Cave paintings were discovered in 1879 by the five-year old
daughter of the Spanish Marquis de Sautuola while he was exca-
vating Altamira Cave in the Pyrenees Mountains near Santillana del
Mar. Similar cave paintings have been found in France, Spain,
Italy, and the Libyan Desert in Africa. Cliff and rock shelters south-
west of Tripoli in the Sahara Desert bear paintings of cattle in do-
Primitive cave paintings date to the Aurignacian period of the
Old Stone Age, estimated at about 20,000 B.C. The older designs are
crude outline drawings, but others appear in good proportions.
Early designs were colored in red or black on limestone walls and
ceilings of ancient caves (Fig. 1.7). Later paintings combined three
or more colors. A cave at Pasiega, Spain, contained over 250 paint-
ings and 36 engravings of bison, chamois, deer, horses, ibex, and
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
stag done chiefly in red. Animals in caves were depicted as pierced
by arrows or spears.
Many paintings showed scenes of the chase (Fig. 1.8), or of cows
and younger animals being killed by spears or arrows-an unlikely
practice if domestication had been known. Such paintings were in
the Albarracia, La Madelaine, Lascaux, Sovigna, and other caves.
One painting (Plate XII, of J. Cabre) pictured in red three cattle
with long horns directed upward and outward. Human beings were
close to three homed cattle in at least one cave painting. No
weapons were in their hands, and the cattle were standing quietly.
Was this intended to indicate domesticated cattle? Ernst Grosse ob-
served that hunting people neglected plants in cave paintings.
THE NEW STONE AGE
Man in Europe was still a hunter and fisherman at the beginning
of the New Stone Age. K0kkenm0ddinger-shell mounds-along
the North Sea and deposits in cave dwellings contained fossil bones
of animals not domesticated.
* . .^*4 _
- ..W . .-
FIG. 1.7. A large red dappled cow from a cave painting at Lascaux, France.
(With permission of F. Windels from Four Hundred Centuries of Cave Art.
Various stages of cultures were described in the Royal Scottish
Museum in Edinburgh:
Aurignacian: The tools-beautifully made end-scrapers. Points
and some bone implements with a split base.
Solutrian: People small in number. Chief invention was a
slender type of javelin, head shaped like a laurel leaf (made
by pressure flaking).
Magdalenian: Bone and flint implements were in use. Lance
heads were typical of the earlier Solutrian culture. Cave art
was at its height, and drawings of contemporaneous animals,
such as bison, reindeer, and mammoth, are found on cave walls
and on pieces of bone.
Mesolithic culture, Asilian, kitchen-middens, etc.: At the close
of the Paleolithic period a sudden change in climate took
place. Milder conditions prevailed, forest reappeared.
Neolithic man lived in huts and began agriculture and the
domestication of animals. Pottery making was begun, and his
implements were formed by polishing and grinding.
FIG. 1.8. A frieze from the "Hall of Cattle," Lascaux, France, discovered in
1940 near Montignac-sur-Vezere. The Bos primigenius bull, at the right in
back, has a spear in the muzzle and a throwing stick to the left of its horns.
(With permission of F. Windels from Four Hundred Centuries of Cave Art.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
The Museum legend concerning B. taurus primigenius stated:
Although the Urus has been extinct in Scotland for many
centuries, it once lived throughout the length of the land. Its
remains have been found from Wigtonshire to Caithness in
marl deposits, from the floors of lakes which succeeded the
Glacial Period, and in peat bogs. That it was hunted by the
early settlers in Scotland is shown by its bones occurring in
broch and cave deposits. The Urus was a large strong beast
standing about six feet high at the shoulder. The horns were
very long, and the horn cores were long, curved, and massive.
John Fleming owned a cattle skull 27.5 inches in length and 11.5
inches across the orbits. Richard Owen, describing a skull in the
British Museum of Natural History that was found near Blair Atholl
in Perthshire, stated that it was a yard long, and that the horn
cores spanned 3 feet 6 inches.
In the older K0kkenm0ddinger or shell mounds along the Danish
seacoast, no traces of cereal grains were found. Domestic fowls were
absent, but bones of ducks, geese, and swans were common. The
stag, roe deer, and wild boar (Sus scrofa L.) comprised about 97
percent of the mammalian remains. Bear, beaver, dog, fox, hedge-
hog, lynx, marten, mouse, otter, porpoise, seal, water rat, wolf, and
urus were represented. Traces of a smaller ox also were found. Only
the dog was domesticated, according to Professor Steenstrup, a
Danish archeologist. Flint implements were plentiful, but metals
were absent in these mounds. Zeuner (1963) concluded that settled
agriculture preceded domestication of the "crop-robbers" such as
cattle, water buffalo, yak, and pig. He regarded domestication of
the cow as most significant.
Professor J. J. A. Worsaae considered that during the New Stone
Age inhabitants of Denmark possessed tame cattle and horses, and
probably some knowledge of agriculture. Relics in the later shell
mounds fitted with the early Neolithic Stone Age, when the art of
polishing flint implements was known. He stated further:
The inhabitants of Denmark, and the west of Europe, in the
stone-period, are therefore to be designated as forming the
transition between the past ancient nomadic races, and the
more recent agricultural and civilized nameless tribes. . . . The
inhabitants of Denmark during the bronze-period were the peo-
ple who first brought with them a peculiar degree of civiliza-
tion. To them were owing the introduction of metals, the prog-
ress of agriculture and of navigation.
Although some B. primigenius were domesticated in Europe, this
species mainly was hunted as a wild animal. Fossil bones were
found in the lower (older) kitchen debris of early lake dwellers in
Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Great Britain. B. primigenius,
which remained wild during historic times, became extinct in the
British Isles before the close of the Bronze Age.
Caesar called the larger bovine "urus," which he mentioned as
native in the Hercynian or Black Forest of Germany. Tacitus and
Pliny wrote that the horns of these cattle, used as drinking cups,
sometimes held as much as 2 urs (2 liters). A free translation by
Lydekker of De Bello Gallico, book vi, chapter xxix (written about
65 B.c.) stated:
There is a third kind of these animals which are called uri.
In size these are but little inferior to elephants, although in ap-
pearance, color, and form they are bulls. Their strength and
speed are great. They spare neither man nor beast when they
see them. . . . In the expanse of their horns, as well as in form
and appearance, they differ much from our [domesticated]
A few aurochs were in the province of Maine about A.D. 550.
They were hunted by Charlemagne in forests near Aix-la-Chapelle,
Rhenish Prussia, in the ninth century. Records in a Swiss abbey
mentioned auroch meat near the close of the tenth century, and
crusaders crossing Germany in the eleventh century saw the ani-
Skulls and bones of B. longifrons Owen, resembling Island-type
Jerseys in size and proportions, were found commonly in the relic
beds of lake dwellings, in morasses, and near old forts in Europe
and the British Isles, and were associated with stone and bronze
implements. The "Niebelungen Lied," an early German legendary
poem, cited Siegfried as killing a wisent (European Bison bonasus)
and four urus near Wiirm in the twelfth century. Beltz described a
chart made about 1284, citing urus between the Duaa and Dnieper
MEASUREMENTS (IN CENTIMETERS) OF SKULLS OF FOSSIL BOS, AND THOSE FROM PRESENT-DAY CATTLE
Length Between Narrow-Maximum Circumference Length of
Species and of horn est across at base of outer Source or notes
location skull cores part of eye horn cores curvature
Right Left Right Left
British Museuma 42.4
Bos acutifrons, F. & Cautley
Bos namadicus Falconer (F-155)
Bos primigenius Bojanus
University of Copenhagen
University of Lund
Bos longifrons Owen*
7.3 18.9 21.8 22.0 22.8
b b Siwalik Hills, Pliocene
12.7 21.6 24.0 40.0 40.1 125.1 b 109.4b Upper Siwaliks, Upper Pliocene
18.3 20.5 26.3 34.9 34.3 79.3b 104.5b Narbada Valley, Middle Pleistocene
72.4 Blair Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland
81.3 86.0 Barrington, Pleistocene
Marl pit, Scotland
65.0 66.0 Stone axe in forehead; Burwell Fen
90.5 72.5b Barrington, Pleistocene (C. E. Gray)
Peat deposit, Scotland
86.0 84.5 Fen land
58.3 59.5 Burwell Fen, Cambridge. 29.021
56.2 56.7 Peat bog, Denmark. Male
41.6 b 46.0 b Peat bog, Denmark. Female
Onnarp peat bog, Sweden. Sven Nilsson.
17.0 17.0 24.3 22.0 b Walthamstown, Essex. Male
20.1 19.8 17.5 20.2
15.3 15.8 11.5 b 15.5b Burwell Fen, flat forehead
18.5 18.5 20.0 b 17.0b Reach Fen
22.2 22.4 22.4 22.4 Clapton, Essex. M-4097. Male
battlee breeds, present
15.9 13.8 17.3
15.0 14.2 19.8
43.2 14.6 15.2 19.7
44.6 13.5 14.6 19.4
13.0 14.7 18.6
12.8 14.4 18.2
12.8 14.3 19.2
12.7 15.0 19.6
12.3 13.7 17.0
12.2 13.4 13.7
12.1 13.4 17.4
11.9 13.7 18.4
50.0 16.6 19.5 23.5
45.0 14.0 15.8 20.5
50.7 23.0 20.4 25.6
49.2 18.9 18.1 23.0
50.7 13.8 19.8 26.0
49.5 14.3 15.8 22.5
51.5 12.4 15.3 21.5
47.9 34.6 15.5 24.4
43.1 13.1 14.0 20.7
54.3 18.3 19.5 24.0
49.5 15.3 17.2 19.8
11.3 11.5 11.5 9.4 b C-21
12.4 12.0 10.6b 10.5b B-2
12.6 Peat deposit, Ireland
11.3 Peat deposit, Ireland. Female
14.0 Anatolia. Female
9.2 Cave at Lascaux, France
9.2 Thames River. Male
10.5 Peat bog, Walthamstown, Essex
25.8 25.8 37.5
15.3 15.3 25.0
24.0 23.9 26.5
16.0 16.0 17.0
26.7 27.0 27.0
18.8 19.1 18.8
11.8 11.7 15.6
29.3 30.4 34.5
20.5 20.9 27.6
39.9 Ayrshire male, over horn shells
24.0 Ayrshire female, over horn shells
25.0 Brown Swiss male, over horn shells
18.0 Brown Swiss female, over horn shells
28.1 Guernsey male, Florida
18.1 Average of 4 males
15.8 Average of 9 females
35.0 Guzerat Brahman male
28.7 Guzerat Brahman female
a. British Museum of Natural History, London. b. Part broken or worn. c. Prominent poll.
d. Owen considered skulls with smaller horn measurements to be females of the species.
e. Three Jersey males and 9 Jersey cows were from the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. One male was from Highview
Farm courtesy of Carlos Griggs. Ages of Ayrshires and Brown Swiss were not available; all others were mature cattle of
the present breeds.
f. Bos taurus brachyceros Rutimeyer and Bos longifrons Owen are synonymous; usages depend on countries.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
rivers and Carpathian Mountains. The species finally became ex-
tinct there in the seventeenth century.
Lydekker, Whitehead, and James Wilson thought White Park
cattle of the British Isles descended from more or less domesticated
early, not wild, aurochs. Since some White Park cattle were polled,
this suggested some relation to early Norse cattle of the polled spe-
cies B. akeratos. Roman cattle, as well as B. longifrons, may be in
Drinking horns made from the outer horn shells of the great
wild ox are in many European museums. The Friesch Museum in
Leeuwarden had 13 such drinking horns, some carved or orna-
mented and others mounted in brass and silver. The largest had an
inside diameter at the base of over 4 inches and exceeded 24
inches in length of outer curvature. Smaller ones were of similar
proportions. Two horns bore dates of A.D. 1397 and A.D. 1571.
A painting made about A.D. 1500, and found by British zoologist
Hamilton Smith in an antique shop at Augsburg in 1827, repre-
sented a rough-haired maneless bull with large coarse head, thick
neck, and a small dewlap. Its horns turned forward and outward,
and were light colored with black tips. The hair was sooty black
with a light ring around the muzzle. (Morse reproduced Baron
Herberstein's woodcut after Nehring, in the USDA Bureau of Ani-
mal Industry 27th annual report.) Herberstein stated that the urus
and European bison lived within historic times. A free translation
of Nehring's account of Herberstein's Rerum Moscovitearum Com-
mentarii, published in 1549, stated:
Of the wild animals in lands belonging to Lithuania, is one
which they call "suber." It is called "bison" in Latin, while
Germans call it aurochs. Closely related to it is another "lur,"
or Latin "urus." We Germans call it bisent incorrectly, for its
form is that of a wild ox. Its color is nearly black, and a grayish
stripe along the back.
Editions of 1551 and 1556 contained pictures of both urus and
bison. An edition of 1557 mentioned that forest cattle (Boves syl-
vestris) differed from domestic cattle only in their black color and
white stripe along the back. Herberstein went to Moscow several
times and saw both urus and bison.
Wrzeeniewski (1878) wrote that these wild cattle lived in the
woods of Jakterwka until the seventeenth century. The last known
specimen died in 1627 in the Zoological Garden of Count Zamoisky.
Other fossil species related closely to B. primigenius are B. tro-
checeros, B. frontosus, B. brachyceros or longifrons, B. namadicus,
B. brachycephalus, and B. typicus. Morse believed them so nearly
related that some and perhaps nearly all could be varieties de-
scended from it. All species of Bos which lived wild in Pliocene and
Pleistocene eras in Europe are extinct. Domesticated cattle pre-
sumably are descended mainly from B. primigenius, B. longifrons,
B. frontosus, and B. trocheceros.
The taurine group is represented also by B. taurus mauritanicus
Thomas, probably identical with B. episthonomus of Pomel, in Al-
geria and Tunis until historic times. This may be a variety of B.
primigenius, distinguished by a shorter forehead, horns curved more
downward and less forward, with larger and more slender legs. B.
indicus and others were in Asia and parts of Africa. These zebu
cattle have been distributed widely in the warm zones.
Skulls of various species of genus Bos differ in size and shape.
Measurements of typical skulls of B. primigenius and of B. longi-
frons are shown in comparison with those of present dairy breeds
in Table 1.2.
Adametz, L. 1898. Studien uber Bos (brachyceros) europaeus, die wilde
Stammform der Brachyceros-Rassen des europaischen Hausrindes. Z. Land-
Arendander, E. D. 1898. Studien uber das ungehornte Rindvieh im nordlichen
Europa unser besonderer Beruchsichtigung der nordschwedischen Fjellrasse,
nebst Untersuchingen uber die Ursachen der Hornlosiskeit. Ber. Physiolo-
gisch. Lab. Versuchanstalt Landwirtsch. Inst. Univ. Halle 2 (13): 172.
Babington, Charles G. 1864. On a skull of Bos primigenius associated with flint
implements. Antiquarian Commun. 2:285-88.
Beltz, R. 1898. Bos primigenius in Mittelalter. Globus 73(7):116-17.
Bojanus, Ludwig H. 1827. De Uro Nostrate Eiusque Sceleto Commentatio.
Verhandl. Kaiserlichen Leopoldinisch-Carolinischen Akad. Naturforsch.
Cabre, Juan. 1915. El rupestra en Espana. Memoria No. 1. Madrid.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
Curtiss, Garniss H. 1961. A clock for the ages: Potassium-argon. Natl. Geo-
graphic Mag. 120:590-92.
Dawkins, William B. 1866. On the fossil British oxen. Part 1. Bos urus, Caesar.
Quart. J. Geol. Soc. London 22:391-402.
Degerbol, M. 1963. Prehistoric cattle in Denmark and adjacent areas. Roy.
Anthropol. Inst. Occasional Paper 18, pp. 68-79.
Duerst, J. U. 1908. Animal remains from the excavations at Anau, and the
horse of Anau in its relation to the races of domestic horses. Explorations in
Turkestan. Exposition of 1904. Vol. 2. Carnegie Inst., Washington, D.C. Pp.
Ewart, J. Cossar. 1925. The origin of cattle. Proc. Scottish Cattle Breeding
Conf. Oliver & Boyd, London. Pp. 1-46.
Falconer, Hugh. 1859. Descriptive catalogue of the fossil remains of Vertebrata
from the Siwalik Hills, the Narbudda, Perim Island, etc., in the Museum of
the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Calcutta.
Fredsjo, A., S. Janson, and C. A. Moberg. 1956. Hallristningas i Sverige.
Herberstein, Sigmund. 1549. Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentstii. Basil. Later
eds., 1551 and 1556.
Hughes, T. McKenny. 1894. The evolution of the British breeds of cattle. J.
Roy. Agr. Soc. Engl. 5(ser. 3):561-63.
James, E. 0. 1927. The Stone Age. Sheldon Press, London.
Keller, Conrad. 1902. Die Abstammung der Haustiere. Zurich.
Klindt-Jensen, Ole. 1957. Denmark before the Vikings. Praeger, New York.
Lydekker, Richard. 1898. Wild oxen, sheep, and goats of all lands, living and
Morse, E. W. 1910. The ancestry of domesticated cattle. USDA Bur. Animal
Ind. 27th Ann. Rept., pp. 187-239.
Nilsson, Sven. 1849. On the extinct and existing bovine animals of Scandinavia.
Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 4(ser. 2):256-69.
Owen, Richard. 1860. Paleontology, or a systematic survey of extinct animals
and their geological relations. Edinburgh.
Piggott, Stuart. 1961. The dawn of civilization. The first world survey of human
cultures in early times. McGraw Hill, New York.
Rutimeyer, L. 1862. Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten in der Schweiz. Neue Denk-
schriften der allgemeinen. Schweiz. Ges. gesamten Naturw. 19:1-248.
Werner, Hugo. 1902 Die Rinderzucht. 2nd ed. Berlin.
Whitehead, G. Kenneth. 1953. The ancient White Cattle of Britain and their
descendants. Faber & Faber, London.
Wilson, James. 1909. The evolution of British cattle and the fashioning of
breeds. Vinton & Co., London.
Windels, F. 1952. Four hundred centuries of cave art. (Foreword by Abbe
Breuil.) Montignac, France.
Worsaae, J. J. A., and William J. Thomas. 1849. The primeval antiquities of
Denmark. J. H. Parker, London.
Wrzesnioski, August. 1878. Studien zur Geschichte des polnischen Tur (Ur,
Uru, Bos primigenius Bojanus). Z. Wiss. Zool. 30:493-555.
DOMESTICATION OF CATTLE
DOMESTICATION of cattle was man's greatest exploitation of the
wild animal kingdom, according to F. E. Zeuner. Much evidence
from the later period of prehistory-during, and following Neolithic
times-has been gathered during the past century. Evidence has
come from excavations, cave paintings, rock engravings, and the
study of the origin of Aryan languages. Development of a system
of timing by radiocarbon-14 brought some systematization to previ-
ously isolated observations. Two factors affect dependability of such
time estimates: biological contaminations and the distinction be-
tween remains of wild and domesticated oxen in the same region.
Since domestication preceded written history, the exact time and
place of this event pends further discoveries. Reed believed that
B. longifrons cattle were domesticated about 6000 B.C., probably in
Headpiece: Vignette of lake-dweller's hut.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
the Zagros Mountains and their grassy forelands (hilly flank areas),
where cereal farming and village settlements had begun.
An advance in civilization was associated with domestication first
of the dog as a hunting companion, then of goats and sheep, and
later of cattle. Mucke theorized that a primitive people who made
little use of hunting weapons had been involved in domesticating
animals. Zeuner grouped cattle with crop trespassers. He believed
that such proximity was one reason for early domestication. J. U.
Duerst concluded from excavations at Anau, a delta-oasis in Turke-
The agricultural stage of human development (crop grow-
ing) must also have preceded the state of cattle breeders, but
through the accomplished domestication of ruminants, men ob-
tained freedom of motion for traveling with cattle for good
pastures, and commenced a nomadic life. This must be the
real explanation of the origin of the wandering people, which
Mucke cannot explain, and he consequently considers a priori
that nomadic peoples were nomadic before the domestication
of cattle. . . . Consequently the first domestication of cattle
must have been by a settled people such as the Anau-li
were. . . . Importation of metals from India came at a later
R. Pumpelly believed that wild cattle were driven by thirst dur-
ing drouth to the better-watered oases. J. U. Duerst excavated
mounds of ancient settlements at Anau and found the remains of
domesticated cattle were at a higher level than the earlier levels
containing wheat and barley. The wild species B. namadicus was
in the lowest level at Anau. This species was contemporaneous as a
wild animal with early man in India during the Old Stone Age.
Though hunting weapons were lacking, he found no enclosures for
Shalidar cave and the nearby Zawi Chemi village sites long were
occupied. Excavations of the cave floor down 14 meters to lime-
stone bedrock yielded several human skeletons and evidence from
four strata of soil (and fallen limerock slabs). The lower part of
layer B-1, colored by decayed organic matter (from animal drop-
pings), contained grinding stones to prepare acorns or grass seeds as
food, and a hafted stone sickle or cutting tool. This layer was dated
by carbon-14 at about 8,650 years ago. The presence of snail shells,
and suggested storage pits or basins in the discolored soil, indicated
use of gathered and stored foods. Sheep had been domesticated.
The next lower soil layer had less color. Flint hunting weapons
were present, but there were no hand milling stones, querns, or dis-
integrating baskets or fabrics.
R. J. Braidwood excavated three sites eastward of the Tigris
River, representing different periods. The Palegawra cave yielded
many flint blade-tools and some unworked animal bones. Most of
the bones were from wild horses, deer, and gazelles, but some were
of sheep, goats, and pigs possibly killed by chance among known
wild animals of the region. Many fragments of milling stones sug-
gested attempts at reaping wild grains for food, but no grains were
found in the cave. At Karim Shahir, a later site, about half the bones
were of sheep, goats, and pigs. A mound excavated at Jarmo dated
perhaps a thousand years later. Four flint blades of a sickle were
found in position, with scattered barley and wheat grains. Many
bones were of sheep, goat, pig, dog, and some large cattle. These
excavations suggest the progression of herding to keep meat avail-
able for food.
Evidence of the earliest recognized domesticated cattle was
found at Banahill and on the Diyala plains in northern Iraq. C. A.
Reed estimated the time at some 7,000 years ago. Domesticated
cattle were known to be at Thessaly, Greece, on a site dated by
carbon-14 at 5550 B.C. Excavations at Tall Arpachiyah eastward of
the Tigris River revealed that cattle were in domestication there
long before 2900 B.c. M. E. L. Mallowan estimated the Tall Halaf
culture there at about 4500 B.C. Decorations of pottery showed long-
horn cattle. A model head, dug from a stratum almost down to vir-
gin soil, had incurved horns that pointed almost directly forward.
The poll was wide, and the forehead was of medium height. Four
metal objects that were found included lead and a copper chisel
among the pottery and many stone tools. A seashell on the site
was at least 1,000 miles from the Indian Ocean.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
The Aryans appeared first as a hunting people and then as a crop-
gathering people. Roots of their language included some of pastoral
pursuits. Names of money and booty were derived from words re-
ferring to cattle in several languages of Aryan origin. Lord or
prince, Gopatis, originally meant guardian of the cattle. Words ex-
panded to mean district or country, or even the earth, once meant
pasturage. Keary wrote:
The evidence of language points to the belief that the an-
cient Aryans had only made some beginnings of agriculture . ..
for among the words common to the whole Aryan race there
were very few connected with farming, whereas their vocabu-
lary is redolent of the herd, the cattle-fold, the herdsman, the
milking-time. Even the word daughter (Greek-Thurster;
Sanskrit-duhitar) means the milker and that seems to throw
back the practice of milking to a very remote antiquity.
The Aryan branch who wrote Sanskrit, according to Sayce, were
nomad herdsmen, living in hovels . . . which could be erected
in a few hours, and left again as the cattle moved into higher
ground around the approach of spring, or descended into the
valley when winter approached. . . . Cattle, sheep, goats and
swine were all kept; the dog had been domesticated, and in
all probability the horse.
The Parsees, who followed the religion of Zoroaster, possessed
as their Bible and prayer book the Avesta or Zend-Avesta, which is
comprised of several parts. The "songs of praise" paid reverence to
In the ox is our strength,
in the ox is our speech,
in the ox is our victory,
in the ox is our nourishment,
in the ox is our clothing,
in the ox is our agriculture,
which furnishes to us food.
The Aryan diety Indra was spoken of as a bull in the Vedic
hymns; the clouds still more commonly were the cows of Indra, and
the rain their milk. The wicked Panis (evil beings of fog and mist)
were mentioned in the Vedas as stealing the cows from the fields
and hiding them in caves, from which they were recovered later.
In Sanskrit, Gopatis or patriarch meant lord of the cattle; morn-
ing, calling of the cattle; and evening, the milking time. Pecunia,
Latin for money, was derived from Sanskrit pecus, which originally
referred to cattle. The English word fee was from the Aryan word
for cattle. Owiefech-Anglo-Saxon for movable property-referred
to living cattle, and immovable property was dead cattle. Cattle
were the principal medium of barter or exchange.
EARLY ARYAN CATTLE
Cattle were in domestication and were regarded highly many cen-
turies before the first permanent written history of the Aryan race.
In early times the Aryans occupied an area north of the Hindu Kush
or Caucasus border and west of the Boler Tagh mountain ranges
of west central Asia. They possessed cattle, horses, and "little
cattle" (goats and/or sheep). Their religion and history were passed
down by word of mouth in the form of chants, hymns, and prayers
that mentioned their leaders, faith, and problems. Limited moisture
and scarcity of arable land eastward of the Caspian Sea and the
Sea of Aral led them to develop some irrigation from the Oxus (now
the Amu Darya River) and Jaxartes River. Their herds and lands
were raided and overrun by tribes from the northward, as related
in the first four Gathas-Odes to Zarathustra (Zoroaster)-in the
Avesta. The Aryans spread out to new lands, taking cattle with
them. The Indo-Aryan branch settled in India, and Irano-Aryans
migrated into Persia and westward. Writings of the Indo-Aryans
are recorded in the Vedic hymns.
The Aryans differed from the Semites of that period, the former
having changed to a settled agriculture. Their Turanian neighbors
were nomadic tribes whose territory surrounded the Aryans. The
early influence of the Turanians disappeared in Europe before the
advance of the Celts and other Aryan branches who came westward
slowly, bringing domesticated cattle.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION
Sir John Marshall directed excavations at Mohenjo-Daro in the
Indus Valley between 1922 and 1927 in settlements of a pre-Aryan
people, since established to date between 3050 to 2550 B.C., down to
1500 B.C. These people used implements of stone, bronze, and cop-
per; they cultivated barley, wheat, date palms, and cotton and had
domesticated zebus (humped cattle), short-homed cattle, buffaloes,
camels, dogs, elephants, sheep, and swine. Oxen were yoked to
wheeled vehicles. Beef, mutton, pork, poultry, fish, and turtles were
among their foods. Milk and vegetables were presumed to have
been other important parts of their diet.
The city had substantial homes, paved streets, a public bath, and
sewers. Remains of humped cattle were abundant at every level. A
short-horned species of humpless cattle was represented among
the terra cotta intaglios discovered, but none of their bones were
identified. The intaglio terra cotta seals unearthed depicted 408
bulls of several species. B. gaurus was on 17 seals, and B. indicus
was portrayed definitely on 27 seals. Many bulls were not humped.
Because the side view showed only one horn, short-homed bulls de-
picted were called "unicorn" by Marshall. Frederichs thought these
animals to be the aurochs, or B. primigenius and B. namadicus spe-
cies, based on the seal-amulets.
Some of these cattle had excellent conformations; 53 had rela-
tively level rumps, while 328 had definite slope to the rumps. Short
sloping rumps are common among humped Indian cattle today
(Brahman or zebu cattle). Ernst Mackay mentioned a figurine of a
Brahman bull as a fine example of such workmanship. Copper
plates bore designs of cattle, one being a zebu or humped. Croco-
diles, dogs, elephants, rhinoceros, sheep, and tigers also were repre-
sented on the seals.
The city was destroyed and its people killed in the streets by the
Aryans when they invaded India from the northwest about 1500
B.C. The language of these pre-Aryan people had not been de-
ciphered when Sir John Marshall's report was published in 1931,
and it was still undeciphered in 1964.
The University of Pennsylvania Museum, British Museum, and
Department of Antiquities at Bagdad cooperated in excavating the
ancient city of Ur and vicinity. C. Leonard Woolley, who led the
expeditions, wrote of this early civilization: "It is not beside the
point that Dumusi 'the Shepherd' ranks amongst the kings who
reigned before the Flood, or that the traditional title of the Sumar-
ian ruler was Patasi, 'the tenant farmer' of the God; the Al'Ubaid
society was one of shepherds, farmers and fishermen, as we can tell
from the remains."
The Royal Cemetery was dated between 3500 and 3200 B.c. The
golden head of a bull, a silver donkey from the pole of Queen Shub-
ad's chariot, and the "ram caught in the thicket" were objects that
dealt with domestic animals. Bulls' heads of copper were found,
which had wide polls and incurved horns similar to some British
cattle. These objects were used for ornamentation or worship. Ox
carts were found in the earliest royal graves at Ur. Oxen were used
for plowing and working on the threshing floor. Remains of an ox
were attached to the king's wagon in death pit P.G. 1789: "This ox
was about the same height as a Chartley bull, a long-horned breed
representing approximately the average size of European domesti-
cated cattle." This was about 5,000 years ago. Indian influence was
brought about by trade. Woolley wrote: "In the second phase of the
Royal Cemetery decadence is visibly setting in. The animal scenes
are still there, though with certain modifications-the hill creatures,
the spotted leopard and the smooth-horned highland bull have been
replaced by the water buffalo, and instead of the naked beardless
hunter, comes one wearing the flat cap of the north on the bearded
figure of the mythological Gilgamesh."
A temple excavated at Al'Ubaid bore an inscribed tablet to the
reign of A-anni-padda, second king of the first dynasty of Ur. A row
of copper statues of oxen stood on the floor along the wall. A copper
frieze (Fig. 2.1) had a row of oxen in high relief, shown in the act
Higher up was a second frieze of mosaic, figures in shell or
limestone ... set against a background of blackstone; there are
rows of cattle and a fresh version of the familiar scene in which
men milk their cows outside the reed-built byre, but here
there are also men, clean-shaved priests, who strain the milk
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
and pour it into great stone jars; it is the farm of the goddess
Ninkursag, and her priests store the divine milk which was the
food of her foster-son the king.
History and tradition state that Ur of the Chaldees was among
the oldest cities established by the Sumarians, who had acquired
the art of writing by using a metal stylus on clay tablets. A consid-
erable library maintained at Ninevah (Ashurbanipal) in the seventh
century before Christ helped to establish time back another 1,500
years. From these reports, the earliest definite date was 3100 B.C.,
FIG. 2.1. An inlay frieze from the temple of Ninkhursag Al'Ubaid, at Ur of
the Chaldees, about 2700 B.C., portrays a milking scene and caring for the
milk. (Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Museum.)
when Mes-Anni-Padda, first king of the first dynasty of Ur, as-
cended the throne. (Woolley later re-estimated this date at about
2700 B.C.) This people worshipped gods, including the Moon God
("the young bull of heaven"), who was a great landowner. His
tenants paid rent in cattle, sheep, goats, barley, oil, rounds of
cheese, pots of clarified butter, and bales of wool for which the
scribes made duplicate receipts on clay tablets, one of which was
filed in the records of the Ziggurat temple. This temple, with a
chapel to the moon, antedated the birth of Abraham in the same
city by 400 years.
Daily offerings of butter, cheese, and dates to major dieties were
recorded on six tablets in the Ningal temple, as reported by H. H.
Figulla. Milk, bread, white beans, flour, honey, and salt were men-
A change in the river channel withdrew irrigation water from
the canals about the second century before Christ, and doomed the
city. It is of note that cows, goats, and sheep provided milk from
which cheese and sour cooking butter were made at that early time.
The Greeks were believed to have appeared in Greece, or at
least in Asia Minor, about 1900 B.C., and were probably preceded
by the Latin branch of the Aryans, as well as by the Celts in north-
ern Europe. In Greek mythology, Hermes (Mercury) stole the
cattle of Apollo that were feeding on the Pierian mountains, and
hid them. A Vedic hymn mentioned "those who sleep by the
cattle. . . ."
Keary held that:
Possession of cattle was a guarantee against want, and an
inducement to a more regular and orderly mode of living. . . .
The importance attached to cattle . . . is evidenced by the fre-
quent use of words in their origin relating to cattle, in all the
Aryan languages, to express many ordinary incidents of life.
Cattle occupied a prominent place in Aryan mythology (the
Vedic hymns), titles of honour, names of divisions of the day,
divisions of land, for property and money.
Races of people who used the Sanskrit language were the Iranic
(Persians) and Armenians. Races of Aryan stock in Europe in-
cluded Greeks, Latins, Celts (Gauls and Britons), Teutons, Slavs,
Lettics, and Albanians.
Ancestors of the Parsees down to the end of the Sassanian dy-
nasty ruled over the people of Anau. Duerst believed from remains
of wild cattle in the lowest excavations at Anau, and of a somewhat
different domesticated type at higher levels, that this may have
been the region where cattle were first domesticated. An early civ-
ilization excavated in the Indus Valley by Marshall possessed do-
mesticated cattle at an early period. The advanced civilization in
the Indus Valley may push back the time of domesticated cattle to
an early time in this part of Asia.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
CATTLE AND DAIRY PRODUCTS IN THE HOLY BIBLE
The Hebrews were an agricultural people owning camels, cattle,
horses, and sheep. The Bible contains many references to cattle,
butter, cheese, and milk. Cattle were mentioned first in the version
of the Creation (Gen. 1:24-26):
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creatures
after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth
after his kind: and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and
cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the
earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our like-
ness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and
over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the
earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the
Some Hebrews led a nomadic life about 3875 B.C. (Gen. 4:20):
"And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents,
and of such as have cattle."
At the time of the flood (2349 B.C.), Noah took pairs of each kind
of animal into the ark, and the remainder perished (Gen. 7:23):
"And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face
of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and
the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth;
and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the
ark." Four hundred years later (1920 B.C.) the cattle were distin-
guished by species in Genesis 12:16: "And he entreated Abram
well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and
manservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels."
When Abram, Lot, and their families and their followers went
out of Egypt in 1918 B.C. (Gen. 13:2-11):
And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold ....
And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks and herds,
and tents. And the land was not able to bear them,, that they
might dwell together: for their substance was great. . . . And
there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and
the herdmen of Lot's cattle. . . . And Abram said unto Lot,
Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and
between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
Abram suggested that they separate. Lot chose the well-watered
plain of Jordan to the east, while Abram went in the opposite direc-
tion. Then in Genesis 15:7, God spoke to Abram: "And he said to
him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of Chaldees, to give
thee this land to inherit it." Woolley excavated a temple frieze
showing a milking scene at Ur, city of Abraham.
The famous narrative of early cattle breeding was the agreement
between Laban and Jacob (Gen. 30:28-43) whereby Jacob received
all broken-colored animals as pay for herding Laban's cattle. Jacob
presented cattle to his brother Esau (Gen. 32:15) and Esau took
them into Canaan (Gen. 36:6). Jacob's son Joseph (Gen. 41:17-27)
interpreted Pharaoh's dream of seven fat oxen devoured by seven
lean oxen as foretelling seven years of famine, against which Pha-
roah stored grain for this period of adversity. Jacob traded cattle
and lands for food in Egypt during the drouth (Gen. 46:6-32).
God promised Moses "a land flowing with milk and honey" as a
home for his chosen people (Exod. 13:5).
Moses mentioned burned offerings of cattle several times in the
book of Leviticus. Moses's scouts reported that the Promised Land
was flowing with milk and honey. This description was repeated
several times (Num. 13:27; and Deut. 11:9; 27:3; 31:20; and 32:14).
The latter stated: "Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of
lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of
kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the
Joshua succeeded Moses as leader in 1451 B.C. Concerning settle-
ment in the land (Josh. 21:2): "And they spake unto them at Shiloh
in the land of Canaan, saying, The Lord commanded by the hand
of Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for
When Jael begged of Sisera in 1296 B.C. (Judg. 4:19): "Give me,
I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened
a bottle of milk, and gave him drink." Also "He asked water, and
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish"
The mother of David directed (1 Sam. 17:18): "And carry these
ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy
brethren fare, and take their pledge." David met and slew the Phil-
istine giant, Goliath, with a smooth pebble from the brook, directed
from his sling.
At a later time (2 Sam. 17:27-29): "And it came to pass, when
David was come to Mahanaim, that Shedi . . . brought beds, and
basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat ... and parched pulse. And
honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and
for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people
is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness."
In 1014 B.C., Solomon mentioned milk among his valued foods
(Song of Sol. 5:1): "I am come into my garden, my sister, my
spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my
honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk:
eat, 0 friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, 0 beloved."
Isaiah (7:32) mentioned in a prosperous time: "And it shall come
to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give, he shall eat
butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the
Cattle, milk, butter, and cheese were valued highly by the He-
brews from the earliest written history. The word "butter" was
changed by the translators in the new revised version of the Bible
to "curds." However, cheese, butter, and clarified butter oil were
known at an early period.
Childe described the rock paintings in Spain, stating that "on the
cave walls and in adjacent shelters their inhabitants have painted in
a conventional manner wild animals and episodes of the chase, but
also domesticated cattle, sheep, goats, swine and equids, and pas-
toral scenes and even an agricultural diety holding a sickle; sledges
and, in the north, wheeled carts are also depicted."
Burkitt reported on a group of paintings of the later Aeneolithic
Age (Spanish Group III): "An extremely interesting art-group that
occurs in rock shelters belonging to the late Neolithic and Copper
Age periods has been studied in the Spanish peninsula. . . . That
the folks who made these paintings practiced the domestication of
animals is shown by a very charming example found at Las Can-
ferras de Penarrubia in the Sierra Morena of an animal led by a
M. de Morgan found that oxen were used to till the soil in Egypt
at an early date. He also found enclosures where the animals were
penned at night. Egyptian monuments indicate that humped cattle
-B. indicus-were in domestication as early as the twelfth dynasty,
2100 B.C. In Mesopotamia and Arabia, cattle were in domestication
at the same time as in Egypt. Regular trade routes passed through
the region. Adametz believed in 1920 that the time of domestica-
tion in Egypt had not been determined. He thought the earliest
Egyptian "Hamiten" race was descended from B. primigenius al-
though their withers were developed strongly. Zebus were in Baby-
lonia about 2000 B.C., and were taken to Arabia from there. The
horns of early Egyptian cattle were more slender than were those of
zebus. Since the oldest goats and sheep came to Egypt from Baby-
lonia, Adametz believed that cattle had been brought over the same
route across southern Arabia.
Rock paintings in southeastern Libya (Figs. 2.2 and 2.3) show
cattle in domestication at an early period.
Lieutenant Brennans of the French Camel Corps observed many
paintings in 1933 and later, on rock walls of overhanging cliffs and
in caverns (once human shelters) in the Tassili of the Ajjers. The
region is an eroded sandstone plateau in the Sahara Desert south-
west of Tripoli. Henri Lhote and associates transcribed these paint-
ings for the Museum of Man in Paris. Few wild oxen were pictured.
One fresco showed herdsmen defending their cattle against raiders
with bows and arrows. The largest herd numbered 65 animals, ac-
companied by herdsmen. They were portrayed in red, brown, and
yellow colors, some with white markings. Many had wide, upturned
horns similar to those in Egyptian sculptures. Their horns were
longer than those of early B. longifrons in Europe. A domesticated
dog sometimes was pictured. The "Bovidean" period indicated a
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
migration of Neolithic man into the region westward of Egypt at
around 3530 B.C.
Many writers of prehistory pointed to evidence that the Aryan peo-
ple introduced domesticated cattle from western Asia into Europe.
Remains of B. longifrons predominated in relic beds of the early
Neolithic settlements. The oldest post-glacial settlers of the fertile
Danube Valley and its tributaries possessed short-horned cattle,
turbary sheep, and a few pigs. They ascended the valley westward,
FIG. 2.2. Rock paintings discovered at Ain Dua in south-
eastern Libya by the Frobenius-Fox expedition indicate
that the cow was domesticated more than 6,000 years
ago. (From Milk Industry News, Volume 2, Number 1,
1938. Courtesy of Milk Industry Foundation.)
where one site was timed by radiocarbon-14 at 4000 B.C. They
spread southward into Switzerland and Italy, westward down the
Rhine, and across Belgium and France to the Channel and British
Isles (Fig. 2.4).
Migrations were traced by the peculiarly shaped polished flint
implements and a crude beaker-type of clay pottery, as they moved
westward over the steppes of southern Russia, into Hungary, Gali-
cia, Silesia, the Rhineland, Belgium, Normandy, and the Channel
and British Isles. These people chose to settle on loess soils and near
streams. They were agriculturists and fishermen as well as owners
of flocks and herds. Barley, flax, millet, and wheat were introduced
in their migrations to newer lands. Childe, in reviewing evidence
discovered in many locations, mentioned that inhabitants of the
Grecian mainland lived in island villages, hunted deer and other
wild life, and possessed domesticated cattle, sheep, and swine. The
polished shoe-last celt, a typical implement, was really a hoe used
in Neolithic agriculture in the Danube Valley. It was used as a
weapon as well.
Another people invaded Eastern Thessaly in the second period
(2600-2499 B.C.). They made clay figurines, and added models of
cattle to the small human images.
FIG. 2.3. Paintings of cows in what is presently the Libyan desert were made
about 4000 B.C., or earlier. This one pictures ancient tribesmen worshiping a
cow. (Courtesy of Milk Industry Foundation.)
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
Childe presumed that the megalith builders introduced domesti-
cated cattle into England, since bones of cattle, sheep, and swine
have been recovered from burial barrows. Cultivated grains have
not been connected with this people in Britain.
DISCOVERY OF LAKE DWELLINGS IN SWITZERLAND
The winter of 1853-54 was dry and cold. Little snow fell in the
Alps, and the water level in many lakes became the lowest on rec-
ord. Local people built a wall along the new waterline on the edge
of Lake Zurich between Ober Meilen and Dollikon. While removing
mud from the lake bottom onto the reclaimed area, they found
quantities of piling, animal horns, and some implements. A. Aeppli
of Meilen believed these specimens to be of human workmanship,
and called Dr. Ferdinand Keller's attention to them. Thus the Swiss
lake dwellings were recognized.
Over 200 lake dwellings have been found since in Switzerland,
mainly representing the Stone and Bronze Ages, but a few settle-
FIG. 2.4. Neolithic man migrated from western Asia up the Danube River and
down the Rhine, bringing Bos longifrons Owen as a domesticated animal.
(Copyrighted background map by permission of Rand McNally Company.)
ments continued in Roman times. The dwellings were built of wattle
and clay daub, on platforms erected on poles driven into the lake
bottom. Quartz and flint arrows, stone axes and scrapers, crude pot-
tery, bone and wooden weapons, and pieces of flax fabrics were
found at Robenhausen and Wangen.
L. Rutimeyer identified remains of 10 fishes, 4 reptiles, 26 birds,
and 30 quadrupeds-dog, goat, horse, pig, sheep, and two species
of oxen. Bones of the stag and ox exceeded those of other species
combined. The stag outnumbered the ox in specimens from the
earlier settlements at Moosseedorf, Robenhausen, and Wauwyl. The
RELATIVE FREQUENCY OF MAMMALIAN REMAINS FROM SWISS LAKE DWELLINGS
dorfx Wauwylx hausenx Wangen Meilen Concise Bienne
Bos primigenius 2 2 3 1 2
Bos bisona 1 1 4 ?
primigenius 2 ? 5 ? 2 5 2
brachyceros 5 5 2 5 5 2 5
frontosus 1 2 2
x-began in the Stone Age.
1-denotes a single specimen.
2-indicates remains of several individuals were recovered.
3-specimens were common.
4-specimens very common.
5-specimens present in great numbers.
a. Bos bison must be an error of identification. Bison bonasus still lives in
woods of Poland, while Bison latifrons has become extinct.
reverse was true in later settlements on the western lakes-Wangen
and Meilen. Bones of swine were next in abundance. Sheep remains
increased in late settlements. Bear, wolf, urus, bison, and elk ap-
peared to have been taken occasionally. Rutimeyer gave Sir John
Lubbock a table of animal remains recovered from the lake bottoms,
part of which are listed in Table 2.1.
Rutimeyer used B. brachyceros as the name for B. longifrons. B.
bison, the present American bison, was absent; Bison bonasus still
lives in woods in Poland, while Bison latifrons is extinct. Horse re-
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
mains were scarce in lake dwellings before the Bronze Age. B. tro-
choceros was found at Concise. It had not been identified in earlier
pileworks. He believed these specimens of B. primigenius and B.
bison (or europas) were wild, and that the lake dwellers possessed
four principal species of domesticated oxen. The first of these in the
early pileworks resembled the urus or B. primigenius, and no doubt
was descended from it. This species now is represented best by
cattle in Friesland, Jutland, and Holstein. The second, B. trocho-
FIG. 2.5. This skeleton of Bos longifrons Owen was recovered from the lake-
dweller site in a peat bog at Schussenried. (From the museum at Stuttgart.
Photograph by J. U. Duerst.)
ceros, resembled a fossil form observed in the diluvium of Arezza
and Siena, described by F. von Meyer. It had not been found in the
Stone Age settlements. Rutimeyer regarded it as scarcely distin-
guishable from the urus and observed that its peculiarities were
developed principally in females. The third, B. frontosus, occurred
sparingly in older pileworks, became more frequent in Bronze Age
villages, and prevails now in northern Switzerland as the Simmen-
taler breed. Rutimeyer considered the latter also derived from the
urus. The fourth was B. longifrons, or brachyceros (short horns), as
shown in Figure 2.5. Brachyceros had been applied previously by
Dr. Gray to a different African ox. B. longifrons was abundant in
the pileworks. It was not wild in Europe. The brown cow of Swit-
zerland descended mainly from it.
The food of the pileworks dwellers included six-row barley, three
species of wheat, and two species of millet. Oats were brought
during the Bronze Age. Wild fruits, fish, and flesh of wild and do-
mesticated animals were used. Lubbock believed that milk was an
important item of their diet. Pottery colanders, to separate curds
from whey, were found in dredgings of the Swiss lake dwellers.
Rutimeyer commented on B. longifrons bones from these dwell-
ings: "The race which clearly predominated through the whole
Stone Age and was found ... in the formations which we ... reckon
among the oldest in Wangen and Moosseedorf, I may safely call
the Peat Race, or the Peat Cow. Its chief characteristics . . . apart
from the skull, is the small length and height of its body, and the
exceptionally short but remarkably fine and delicate limbs."
Richard Owen and McKenney Hughes also commented on the
small size of this species. James Wilson concluded that the Celtic
(British) strain of B. longifrons probably was predominantly black
Nilsson described B. longifrons in Sweden as
the smallest of all the ox tribe which lived in the wild state in
our portion of the globe. To judge from the skeleton, it was 5
feet 4 inches from the nape to the end of the rump bone, the
head about 1 foot 4 inches, so that the entire length must have
been 6 feet 8 inches. From the slender shape of its bones, its
body must rather have resembled a deer than our common
tame ox [of Sweden?]; its legs at the extremities are certainly
somewhat shorter and also thinner than those of a crown deer
(full antlered red deer).
PREHISTORIC PEOPLE IN ITALY
Canon Isaac Taylor wrote that prehistoric peoples invaded Italy in
succession, and brought new cultures to the Po Valley. The Iberian
savages came as hunters, lived in caves, and possessed no pottery.
They were followed by the Umbro-Latin race who built huts and
pile dwellings. The latter race possessed cattle and sheep, made
canoes, invented the wagon, and gradually acquired knowledge of
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
bronze. The Latins spoke an Aryan language, and reached Europe
probably not more than 6,000 or 7,000 years ago, with domesticated
dogs, cattle, and sheep. The Latins erected pile dwellings in the
lakes of northern Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Some lake
dwellings were occupied continuously from the Stone Age, through
the Bronze Age, and into the early Iron Age. The people stored
acorns, hazelnuts, and water chestnuts. Later they began to grow
barley, wheat, and flax. They learned to spin and weave fabrics,
tan leather, and even to make boats.
Some small lakes in northern Italy became peat bogs. People dig-
ging peat from such a moor at Mercurage, near Arona, discovered
successive layers of such a settlement. The deep layer yielded
bones of the wild boar and stag, with a few of domesticated cattle
and sheep. There were stores of hazelnuts, acorns, and water chest-
nuts along with flint tools and crude pottery, but no metal. The
upper relic bed contained bones of the ox and sheep. The settle-
ment was destroyed before the agricultural stage had been reached.
As population increased and spread, villages were erected on dry
land, the remains of which formed small knolls or terre mare (marl
beds), the successive strata of debris extending over parts of the
Stone and Bronze Ages. Nearly 100 such mounds were known,
from which have come such objects as strainers for preparing
honey, hand mills for grinding grains, and dishes perforated with
holes "which were probably used for making cheese." No iron, gold,
silver, or glass were found. At some period in the Bronze Age, the
Umbrians were overwhelmed by an invasion of the Etruscans from
the north. All of their settlements were destroyed before the advent
of the Iron Age, which probably commenced in Italy about the
ninth or tenth century before Christ.
Klatt summarized 325 references on various kinds of domesticated
animals. He concluded that the polled character could be a muta-
tion among domesticated cattle, and that differences in dimensions
of skulls, horn cores, and other bones might have resulted from se-
lections of individual breeding animals.
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Myers, J. L. 1911. The dawn of history.
Natl. Geographic Soc. 1967. Everyday life in Bible times. Supplementary
Obermaier, H. 1916. Fossil man in Spain. Memoir No. 9. Yale Univ. Press, New
Pike, Albert. 1924. Irano-Aryan faith and doctrines as contained in the Zend-
Avesta (1874). Standard Printing Co., Louisville, Ky.
----. 1930. Indo-Aryan dieties and worship, as contained in Rig Veda
(1872). Standard Printing Co., Louisville, Ky.
- . 1930. Lectures of the Arya (1873). Standard Printing Co., Louisville,
42 DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
Pumpelly, R. 1908. Explorations in Turkestan. Expedition of 1904. Carnegie
Inst., Washington, D.C.
Reed, Charles A. 1959. Animal domestication in the prehistoric Near East.
Sayce, A. H. 1891. The primitive home of the Aryans. Smithsonian Inst. Rept.
1890, pp. 475-87.
Solecki, Ralph S. 1963. Prehistory in Shanidar Valley in northern Iraq. Science
Wheeler, Sir R. E. Mortimer. 1947. In ancient India, No. 3. Praeger, New
- . 1959. Early India and Pakistan. Praeger, New York.
Woolley, Sir C. L. n.d. The development of Sumerian art. Ur excavations.
2 vols. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
--- . 1958. History unearthed. E. Benn, London.
Zeuner, F. E. 1963. A history of domesticated animals. Hutchinson, London.
THE BRONZE AGE AND EARLY HISTORY
C ULTURAL STAGES spread slowly with waves of migration from the
East, or as commerce increased along channels of trade and barter.
As the culture of the Danubian settlers moved slowly during the
Neolithic period (New Stone Age), so the Bronze Age cultures
progressed as tribes that possessed improved tools and weapons of
bronze migrated. Men of the Bronze Age were warriors and agri-
culturists, moving onward to new fields with their families and do-
Copper and gold were among the early metals used by man. In
addition to tools and weapons, these metals were shaped into orna-
ments and objects of worship. The bull's head from the Royal Ceme-
tery at Ur was among the finest specimens. The earliest bronze im-
plement found at a campsite along the Danube River migration
route was timed by radiocarbon-14 at about 2300 B.c. The first
bronze alloy, which consisted of 1 part of tin to about 3 to 9 parts
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
of copper, was harder than copper. Perhaps this was discovered
during the Indus civilization, in northern Persia (Iraq) or in west-
ern Asia. Bronze was known to the early Chaldeans and Egyptians,
and there were mines of copper in Israel.
BRONZE AGE ROCK ENGRAVINGS
Bronze was brought westward about 800 B.C. and was found along
with flint, stone, and bone implements in the upper strata of many
Swiss lake dwellings. Bronze pieces included perforated dishes be-
lieved to have been used in draining whey from curds in making
cheese. Such dishes have been found also in Bronze Age sites in
Information is limited on the status of cattle in Europe during
the early Bronze Age. Neolithic artists drilled plowing scenes dot-
by-dot on the schist rocks at high altitudes near Monte Bego in the
Maritime Alps. These engravings showed bulls with exaggerated
horns. Sometimes one, two, and even four or five oxen were pulling
a wooden plow, guided by one and sometimes two men. These
scenes were viewed from above (Fig. 3.1). Similar rock engravings
of a plowing scene occur near Tanum, Sweden, in which oxen
were viewed from the side (Fig. 3.2).
Two gold cups (Fig. 3.3) found in a grave at Vaphio near Sparta
in 1889 were dated by Helen Hardner at 1600 to 1500 B.C., but
formerly they were thought to have been made by an artist of the
Mycean period about 150 B.C. A hunting scene on one cup showed
three wild cattle, one tangled in a net. On the other, a man held a
wild ox by a thong fastened about the left hind leg. Three other
oxen appeared quiet and domesticated. These scenes presumably
represented wild bulls, capture, and domestication. The oxen on the
cups were thought to be likenesses of European uruses. The cups
are displayed in the National Archeological Museum in Athens.
VOYAGERS IN BRITAIN
The Bronze Age culture was brought to the British Isles by immi-
grants from the Rhineland. They brought an improved agriculture,
and mined Cornish deposits of tin for bronze manufacture.
FIG. 3.1. Engraving of a ploughing scene at Fontanalba in the Maritime Alps
during the Bronze Age. (Photograph from the Association for the Study, Pro-
tection and Illustration of the Valley of Marvels. Courtesy of Secretary Gen-
eral Henry Musso.)
FIG. 3.2. A ploughing scene with oxen was drilled dot-by-dot into gray and
pink granite rock near Tanum, Sweden during the Bronze Age. (Courtesy of
Dr. Ake Fredsj0, Keeper of Antiquities.)
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
J. Cossar Ewart (University of Edinburgh) studied fossil remains
of cattle and concluded:
The examination of Neolithic and Bronze Age deposits proves
that for about 18,000 years there have been living in Europe
three kinds of tame cattle, viz: polled cattle (Swedish Fjall
Breed, after Arenander), cattle with short horns and cattle
with long horns ....
There is no evidence of existence of a wild ox of the longi-
frons or brachyceros type. Writers of cattle with rare exceptions
allege that the long-horned cattle of Western Europe are
mainly, if not entirely, descended from the Bos primigenius,
a variety of which (the urus or aurochs) Caesar came across
in the Hercynian forest.
Importance of cattle during the Bronze Age was signified by
worship of them as idols, mentioned in early Biblical history (Exod.
32:4). Religious life and worship of early Britons was in the hands
of Druid priests. One religious ceremony consisted of cutting mistle-
toe from the sacred oak and subsequently sacrificing two white
bulls fastened by their horns to the sacred trees. The ceremony was
followed by feasting and rejoicing.
Early Phoenician and Greek voyagers went westward to Spain
and even to Britain in search of metals. The Carthaginians sent
their captain Himilco on a voyage that took him along the coast of
Britain some time between 570 B.c. and 470 B.C. The poem of "Fes-
tus Avienus" mentioned Himilco as the discoverer of Land's End in
Cornwall, England. He told of tin and lead, and wrote of native
Britons: "They migrate the sea in barks built, not of pine or oak,
but strange to say, made of skins and leather."
Two branches of the Celtic race reached England, the Goidels
arriving first. They found the Iverians (Druids) in possession, and
amalgamated with them as a people. The Brythons, who used
woven cloth for clothing, also settled in the British Isles several
centuries later. Windle stated that "During their occupancy in the
fourth century before Christ . . . a syndicate of merchants of Mas-
silia [modern Marseilles] fitted out an expedition . . . under a
learned Greek mathematician, Pytheas, who twice visited Britain.
He mentioned that 'the natives collect the sheaves in great barns,
FIG. 3.3. Two gold cups found in the beehive grave at Vaphio near
Sparta, Greece in 1889. These figures are believed to illustrate the
capture, taming, and domestication of the wild ox. Workmanship is
that of about 1500 B.C.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
and thrash out their corn [grain] there.'" Lake dwellings were in
use, both crannogs and pile dwellings. The Brythons cultivated
wheat, and possessed cattle and sheep.
Strabo, the Greek geographer, described the people of Cassiter-
ides (islands of tin), stating: "Walking with staves, and bearded
like goats, they subsist by their cattle, leading for the most part a
wandering life. And having metal of tin and lead, these and skins
they barter with the merchants for earthenware, and salt, and
brazen vessels. Formerly the Phoenicians alone carried on this traffic
by Gadeira [Gibralter], concealing the passage from every one."
Strabo mentioned that the Gauls lived mainly on milk and all kinds
of flesh, especially that of swine.
ROMANS IN BRITAIN
The Romans under Caius Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 B.C.
The Britons drove their cattle inland, attempting to leave the in-
vaders without food. These early domesticated cattle were said by
McKenny Hughes and others to have been B. longifrons of the Neo-
lithic period, since B. primigenius had been destroyed as a wild
species in Britain before the Bronze Age.
The Britons claimed to have migrated from Belgium, which also
was inhabited by Celts following the Druid religion. The Britons
were cultivators who had many cattle, treated their land with ma-
nure, and used the plow to produce grain and other crops. The
Roman invasion was followed by continuous occupation by armies,
retainers, and settlers who introduced horticultural and agricultural
plants and brought some cattle. The last Roman garrison was with-
drawn in A.D. 142.
McKenny Hughes studied remains of cattle in Great Britain, es-
pecially from the peat near Reach Lode north of Cambridge. The
latter cattle had smooth polls, long, straight horn cores, and com-
pared favorably with cattle pictured on Roman coins and early
relics of Asia and Egypt. The new kind, supposedly introduced
during Roman occupation, modified the small Celtic short-horns
and contributed to the ancestors of later improved breeds. Ewart
mentioned that hornless cattle skulls discovered at Newstead, an
Bronze Age and Early History
old Roman center in Berwickshire, had Roman origins. He also
found a modern type of B. acutifrons among them. James Wilson
and others believed that the Park Cattle of England descended in
part from large white cattle introduced during Roman occupation.
INVASIONS FROM NORTHERN EUROPE
Angles from Schleswig-Holstein in southern Denmark, Jutes from
Jutland, and Saxons from the northern Netherlands introduced some
cattle during the fifth century. Norsemen brought polled cattle of
light dun color from the Scandinavian peninsula to coastal settle-
About 40 years after the Roman forces withdrew, the Saxons were
invited to repel invasion by the Picts and Scots from the north A.D.
447-449. They became aggressive settlers and landowners. Windle
described a landowner's estate under the Saxon occupancy, with its
rampart, ditch, and a palisade or thick hedge on the former. The
estate lands were tilled by villeins and theows (slaves), or rented
out. The farming operations, according to Windle, were as follows:
the communal officers took charge of the village ploughs and
the beasts which drew them were the property of the villeins,
the size of whose holdings determined the number of animals
required. . . . The smallest holding of land ... was a bovate . ..
this word derived from the Latin bos, an ox. . . . Double this
amount was a virgate, the normal holding of the villein, who
must supply two oxen to the team. (A hide or virgate equals 4
virgates, or a full team of eight oxen.)
It will now sum up these facts as to the village if we take
one example of a manor-that of Westminster. THE DOMES-
DAY BOOK records that the villa ubi sedet Ecclesia Sci Petri
(the Abbey) the abbot of the same place holdeth 13V2 hides.
There is land for 11 plough teams (8 oxen each). To the de-
mesne belong 9 hides and 1 virgate, and there are 4 plough
teams. The villeins have 9 plough teams, and one more might
be made. There are:
9 villani with a virgate each;
1 villanus with a hide; (containing 4 virgates);
9 villani with a half virgate each;
1 cottier with 5 acres;
41 cottiers rendering a shilling each for their gardens;
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
There are meadows for 11 plough teams;
Pasture for cattle of the village;
Woods for 100 pigs.
There are 25 houses of the abbot's soldiers and of other men
who render 8s. per annum or �10 in all. In the same villa
Rainardus holds 3 hides of the abbot. There is land for two
plough teams, and they are there in demesne, and one cottier.
Wood for 100 pigs. Pasture for cattle. Four arpents of vineyard
newly planted. All of these are worth 60s. This land belonged
to the Church of St. Peter.
MARCO POLO'S OBSERVATIONS
The dependence of people on cattle was observed by the Venetian
Marco Polo (1254-1324). He described B. indicus in Persia thus:
The beasts also are peculiar; and I will tell you of their
oxen. They are very large, and all over white as snow, the
hair is very short and smooth, which is owing to the heat of
the country. The horns are short and thick, not sharp in the
point; and between the shoulders they have a hump some two
palms high. There are no handsomer creatures in the world.
And when they have to be loaded they kneel like the camel;
once the load is adjusted, they rise. Their load is a heavy
one, for they are very strong animals.
He wrote concerning coastal India: "The food of the people is flesh,
and milk, and rice. The people of the province do not kill animals
nor spill blood; so if they want to eat meat, they get the Saracens
who live among them to play the butcher."
Tibetans endowed their wives with cattle, slaves, and money ac-
cording to their ability. Tartars moved with the season to find pas-
turage, living on milk and meat which their herds supplied, and on
wild game. Koumis (a fermented beverage) was made from mare's
and cow's milk. After making butter, buttermilk was dried in the
sun. Polo wrote, "They also have milk dried into a kind of paste to
carry with them; and when they need food they put this in water,
and beat it up until it dissolves, and they drink it." Their animals
were branded, except sheep and goats, which were herded.
Many people in Kublai Khan's domain in northwestern China
used flesh and milk as food. On his return journey, Marco Polo
noted at the Port of Aden that livestock subsisted in part upon
small fish, either fresh or dried.
Bronze Age and Early History
Burkitt, M. C. 1925. Prehistory. 2nd ed. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.
Childe, V. Gordon. 1935. New light on the most ancient East. K. Paul, Trench,
Trubert & Co., London.
Degerbol, M. 1963. Prehistoric cattle in Denmark and adjacent areas. Roy.
Anthropol. Inst. Occasional Paper 18, pp. 68-79.
Dickson, Adam. 1782. The husbandry of the ancients. 2 vols. Edinburgh.
Ewart, J. Cossar. 1925. The origin of cattle. Cattle breeding. Proc. Scottish
Cattle Breeding Conf. Owen & Boyd, Edinburgh. Pp. 1-46.
Hughes, T. McKenny. 1894. The evolution of the British breeds of cattle. J.
Roy. Agr. Soc. Engl. 5(ser. 3):561-63.
- . 1896. On the more ancient breeds of cattle which have been recog-
nized in the British Isles in successive periods, and their relation to other
archeological and historical discoveries. Archaeologia 55:125-58.
Munro, Robert, et al. 1895. The British lake village near Glastonbury. Taunton.
Polo, Marco. 1875. The book of Marco Polo, the Venetian concerning the
kingdoms and marvels of the East. Trans. and ed. by Col. Henry Yule. 2nd
ed. Directors of Old South Works, London.
Reed, C. A. 1961. Osteological evidence for prehistoric domestication in south-
western Asia. Z. Tierzucht. Zuchtungsbiol. 76:31-38.
Taylor, Canon Isaac. 1891. The prehistoric races of Italy. Smithsonian Inst.
Rept. 1890, pp. 489-98.
Wilson, James. 1909. The evolution of British cattle. Vinton & Co., London.
Windle, Bertram C. A. 1897. Life in early Britain. Putnam, New York.
CATTLE IMPROVEMENT BEGINS
A GAP IN KNOWLEDGE of cattle improvement extends into the
thirteenth century (before 1253) when Walter of Henley, bailiff of
Christchurch manor (Canterbury?) wrote from experience. Con-
cerning the area in estate and in pasture: "And if you have land on
which you can have cattle, take pains to stock it as the land requires.
And know for truth if you are duly stocked, and your cattle well
guarded and managed, it should yield three times the land by the
He preferred oxen to horses because of cost, and oxen could be
fattened for slaughter in the end. Further:
Sort out your cattle once a year between Easter and Whit-
suntide-that is to say, oxen, cows, and herds-and let those
that are not to be kept put to fatten; if you lay out money to
Headpiece: A sixteenth-century dairy farm scene in Europe. (From Mattioli,
Cattle Improvement Begins
fatten them with grass you will gain. And know for truth that
bad beasts cost more than good. Why? I will tell you. If it be a
draught beast he must be more thought of and more spared,
and because he is spared the others are burdened for his lack.
And if you must buy cattle buy them between Easter and
Whitsuntide, for then beasts are spare and cheap. .... It is well
to know how one ought to keep cattle, to teach your people,
for when they see that you understand it they will take the
more pains to do well. . . . and let your cows have enough feed,
that the milk may not be lessened.
How much milk your cow should yield.
If your cows were sorted out, so that the bad were taken
away, and your cows fed in pasture or salt marsh, then ought
two cows to give a wey of cheese and a half gallon of butter a
week. And if they are fed in pasture of wood, or in meadows
after mowing, or in stubble, then three cows ought to yield a
wey of cheese and half a gallon of butter a week between
Easter and Whitsuntide without rewayn ....
And if you see it with regard to the three cows that ought
to make a wey, one of these cows would be poor, from which
one could not have in two days a cheese worth a halfpence;
that would be in six days three cheeses, price three halfpence.
And the seventh day should keep the tithe and the waste
there may be.
THE FEUDAL SYSTEM
The feudal system developed gradually from the mid-Roman em-
pire, the Frankish empire, and later. Free men and small land-
owners "commended" themselves to strong estate owners and
nobles, to whom they rendered service in return for protection. The
feudal system was strong in the tenth to twelfth centuries. Large
manors and estates sometimes were held subject to the will or
whims of the ruler. Estates became hereditary under later feudal
codes, with no uniform practices. Some kings became strong and
despotic. The barons and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in
England opposed such practices. The "Act Declaring the Rights
and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the
Crowne" in 1689 declared illegal the absolute right of the Crown.
This act reserved much authority to an elected Parliament. William
and Mary agreed to this Bill of Rights. The bill recognized rights
and privileges of common people and free men.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
The feudal system of land tenure and servitude, strengthened in
England under William the Conqueror and his successors, broke
down gradually with establishment of a strong elected parliamen-
ENCLOSURE ACTS AND SELECTION
The open-field system of culture existed in Great Britain until re-
placed by nearly 4,000 Enclosure Acts passed by Parliament be-
tween 1760 and 1884. Separate acts directed commissioners to di-
vide fields and distribute land among those who had held it jointly.
Hedges and roads were built. These changes allowed owners to
manage livestock and regulate breeding practices. New cropping
systems and rotations could be adopted by farmers. Turnips had
been introduced in 1644 and lucerne (alfalfa) later. In feudal times,
animals had grazed together under a herdsman, or ran at large.
Male animals were used in common, a practice that continued
largely even early in the eighteenth century, with little improve-
ment other than by selection.
Selection undoubtedly played a part in improvement of cattle for
centuries. Roman agricultural writers mentioned cattle. Cato the
Censor (234-149 B.C.) wrote that grazing cattle were more profit-
able than agriculture, and Columella (about A.D. 50) wrote that
probably every farm had grass for some cows, goats, or sheep. Adam
Dickson summarized Varro (116-27 B.C.), Columella, and Palladius
(author of "De Re Rustica" in the fourth century A.D.) in the words:
"The rustic writers are very particular in their direction about buy-
ing cattle, among these there is one mention by almost all of them;
S. . that the ground to which they are brought, be of the same kind
with that on which they are bred." Red and brown cattle were
mentioned as more valuable than black cattle.
Leonard Mascall, in The Government of Cattell, in 1596 (edi-
tions also in 1600 and 1633), used sort rather than breed when de-
scribing characteristics of oxen to buy: "Oxen are according to the
region and the country where they are bred; for as there is a di-
versity of grounds and countries, so likewise there are diversities of
bodies, and diversities of natural courage: and likewise diversitie in
hairs and horns of them. For those oxen in Asia be of one sort. and
Cattle Improvement Begins
those in France of another sort; so likewise here in England of an-
FEED CROPS INTRODUCED
Sir Richard Weston (1591-1652) introduced trefoil clover into Sur-
rey County and started a crop rotation founded on clover, flax, and
turnips. Timothy Nourse (1700) contended that "grass rais'd by
foreign seeds" ought to be permitted since great numbers of cattle
were raised that way, and consequently more corn (grains): "Now
the more corn and cattle are rais'd, the cheaper must all provisions
be, which is generally look'd upon to be a benefit to the publick"
IMPORTANCE OF SIRES
Gervaise Markham wrote the popular Cheape and Good Hus-
bandry, the eighth edition of which was printed in 1653. He recog-
nized the importance of the sire: "I think fittest in this place, where
I intend to treat of horned Cattell and Neat, to speak first of the
choyce of a fair bull, being the breeders principallest instrument of
profit." He mentioned the best English cattle for the market being
bred in Darbyshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Somersetshire, Staf-
fordshire, and Yorkshire, where they were mainly black. Lincoln-
shire cattle also were pied with more white than other colors, and
had small crooked horns.
Now to mix a race of these and the black ones together is not
good, for their shapes and colours are so contrary, that their
issue are very uncomely: therefore, I would wish all men to
make their breeds either simply from the one and the same
kind, or else to mixe York-shire . . . with one of the black
breeds, and so likewise Lincoln-shire with Somerset-shire, or
Somerset-shire with Glocester-shire. ...
Now for the Cow, you should choose her of the same country
with your Bull, and as near as may be of one colour, only her
bag or udder would ever be white, with four teats and no more,
and her belly would be round and large, her fore-head broad
and smooth, and all her other parts such as are before shewed
in the male kind.
The use of the Cow is to fold, either for the Dary, or for
breed: the Red Cow giveth the best milk, and the black Cow
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
bringeth forth the goodliest Calf. The yong Cow is the best for
breed, yet the indifferent old are not to be refused. That Cow
which giveth milke longest is best for both purposes, for she
which goeth, longest dry loseth halfe her profit, and is lesse fit
for teeming; for commonly they are subject to feed, and that
straineth the Womb or Matrix.
DUTCH-BREED FOR MILK
J. W. Gent described cattle during 1669 (2nd edition in 1675) thus:
Of cows and oxen. These worthy sort of beasts are in great re-
quest with the husbandman, the Oxe being useful at his cart
and plough, the Cow yielding great store of provision both for
the family, and the market, and both a very great advantage
to the support of the trade of the kingdom.
Concerning their form, nature and choice, I need say little,
every Countryman almost understanding how to deal with
The best sort is the large Dutch Cow that brings two calves
at one birth, and gives ordinarily two gallons of milk at one
As for their breeding, rearing, breaking, curing of their dis-
eases, and other ordering of them; and of Milk, Butter and
Cheese, etc., I refer you to such authors that do more largely
handle the subject than this place will admit of.
J. Mortimer (1721) agreed almost wholly with Markham, but
added: "The hardiest are the Scotch; but the best sort of cows for
the pail, only they are tender and need very good keeping, are the
long-legg'd, short-horn'd Cow of the Dutch-breed, which is to be
had in some places of Lincolnshire, but most used in Kent, many
of these cows will give two gallons of milk at a meal."
The "Dutch-breed" was much sought after, according to John
Lawrence, in 1726, and at higher prices than other cattle. He com-
mented on abuse of commons:
But the encouragement is, the many pernicious commons
we have, which for the flush of milk in the few summer-months,
makes the poor buy cows, to starve them in winter, and to
spend so much time in running after them, as would earn twice
the worth of their milk by an ordinary labour; whereas, if the
commons were enclosed, some would feed them well all the
Cattle Improvement Begins
summer, and others would yield hay for them in the winter;
whereby there would be always a tolerable plenty of milk;
from which spring many more considerable dairies.
Lawrence told of a cow belonging to the Vicar of Stanford upon
Avon that yielded twelve pounds of butter every week for two or
three months, and that made tolerable cheese for the family after-
According to R. Bradley in 1729:
In the choice of cows, those with the following marks are
most worthy our esteem. To be high of stature, long-bodied,
having great udders, broad foreheads, fair horns and smooth,
and almost all other tokens that are required in the bull; es-
pecially to be young; for when they are past twelve years old
they are not good for brood. But they live many times much
longer, if their pasture be good, and they keep from disease ....
In some places they have common bulls and common boars
in every town ....
Near London, or other very populous places, the milk of
cows will yield a sufficient profit in the pail; but in places re-
moter from the market, it is either disposed of in the dairy for
making butter, if the feed is such as is rich and hearty, and
consists of pure grass, which is sweet and free from weeds.
He remarked that an "over-plus of milk" in winter was profitable
IMPROVED STRALNS NAMED
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, the better strains or va-
rieties of cattle began to be known by names of the counties where
they originated. The names "kind" and "sort" gave way grad-
ually to "breed" as cattle took recognizable distinguishing char-
acteristics typical of these areas and as agriculture became more
specialized. Thomas Hale recognized this situation in 1758, when
Our bulls differ only in their size, according to the counties
in which they are bred. The various parts of this kingdom af-
ford so different pasturage for cattle; that when they are
brought into other places, they are called after the name of
that whence they came. The Lancashire breed is large, and
Welch are smaller, and the Scotch least of all. In Staffordshire
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
they are commonly black, and in Gloucestershire red; and
they have the like differences in other counties.
The husbandman should be acquainted with the several
breeds, that he may suit his purchase to his land.
The large kinds are bred where there is good nourishment,
and they require the same where they are kept, or they will
decline: the poorer and smaller kinds which are used to hard
fare, will thrive and fatten upon a moderate land ....
The husbandman should have one of these considerations in
view, in stocking his land, then using them principally for
breed, for milk, or for work; and accordingly as either of these
is his principal aim, he is to make his purchase: one breed
being fitter for one of these uses, another for another ....
Whatever breed he chuses, he should keep entirely to it; that
is, the bull and cows should all be of the same kind; for it is a
general and true observation, that a mixed race does not suc-
ceed so well. ...
The cow being chiefly intended for the dairy, care is to be
taken in purchasing a right kind, for there is a vast difference
in the profit of this animal, according to the breed.
They have large cows in all those counties where they breed
large oxen, but the size is not all that the husbandman is to
consider; the quantity of milk is not always proportioned to
the biggness of the beast; and that is to be his chief regard.
Welch and Scotch cows will do upon the poorest pastures:
and they will suit some who cannot rise to the price of better
kinds. They yield a good quantity of milk if rightly managed;
but the fine kinds are the Dutch and Alderney: these are like
one another in shape and goodness, but the Alderney cow is
preferred, because the hardier.
The Dutch breed have long legs, short horns, and a full
body. They are to be had in Kent and Sussex, and some other
places where they are carefully kept up without mixture and
will yield two gallons at a milking; but in order to do this
they require good attention, and good food.
The Alderney cow is like the Dutch in the shortness of her
horns, but she is stronger built, and is not so tender. She re-
quires rich feeding, but is not liable to so many accidents, and
is equal to the other in quantity and goodness of her milk.
Of which ever kind they be observe the following rules in
their choice. Let them have the forehead broad and open; the
eyes large and full, and except the Dutch and Alderney breeds,
let the horns be large, clean and fair. . ...
Cattle Improvement Begins
Of whatever breed the cow be let her neck be long and
thin; her belly deep and large. See that she have a large, good,
white and clean looking udder, with four well grown teats.
Let the bull be of the same breed: and let them be of as
large a kind as the pastures will support. But it is better to
have a cow of a smaller breed well fed than one of the best
in the world starv'd.
The red cow it is said gives the best milk, and the black cow
is best for her calf; but this is fancy. The red cows milk has
been long famous; and a calf of a black cow is accounted good
to a proverb; but the breed is the thing of consequence not the
The cow that gives milk the longest is the most profitable,
to the husbandman; and this is most the case with those which
are neither very young, nor advanced into years.
CHANGES IN ENGLISH AGRICULTURE
Lord Ernle (R. E. Prothero) described this period of change in
The house and homestead of the peasantry (under the ma-
norial system) were originally the only permanent enclosures,
and the only property which they could be said to hold in sep-
arate ownership. The rest of the village land was held and
farmed in common. It consisted of three portions-arable land,
meadow, and pasture. Areas were allotted each for cultivation
of wheat, barley, and fallow. . . . After the crops were cleared,
the fences were removed; common rights were revived; and
the cattle of the village wandered promiscuously over the
The meadows were assigned (likewise) to use of individu-
als from Candlemas to Midsummer Day, and the remainder
of the year were pastured in common. Beyond the arable and
meadow lands lay the roughest and poorest land which af-
forded timber of building, fencing, or fuel, mast and acorns for
swine, rough pasture for the ordinary live stock, and rushes,
reeds and heather for thatches, ropes, beds, and a variety of
other uses. . . . In 1764, out of 8,500 parishes (in England),
4,500 were still unenclosed, open-field farms, cultivated upon
a cooperative system of agriculture. . . . Sheep are kept for
their wool rather than their mutton, and cattle are valued for
their milking qualities or their power of draught. . . . On the
cow-downs the common herdsman tends the cattle of the com-
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
munity. They begin to feed on the downs in May, and con-
tinue to graze there till the meadows are mown, and the crops
are cleared from the arable fields. Then they are turned in
upon the aftermath, the haulm, and the stubble. . . . The rams
and the parish bull are provided.
In the 16th century, agriculture in England became more
profitable, enclosures were made, and the rights of common
were greatly restricted. . . . Gardening was taken up again late
in the 17th century. Deep drainage began to be discussed.
From the Flanders of the 17th century, Sir Richard Weston
brought turnips and red clover, and Arthur Young called him a
greater benefactor than Newton. . . . Perennial rye grass was
introduced. White clover was introduced in 1700, and timothy
and orchard grass came to England from America in 1760. The
18th century saw revolutions in English farming. One came
when Lord Townsend established the Norfolk system (or ro-
tation): wheat, turnips, barley, clover & grass. One half of the
land was constantly under grain crops and the other under
cattle grazing. Sheep and cattle were fattened on the land on
turnips, increasing barley yields.
Trowell (1739), Hale (1756), and Anderson (1775) advised
several pastures, and suggested they be grazed in rotation to get
greater returns from the land. John Mills wrote A Treatise on Cattle
in 1776, "showing the most approved methods of breeding, rear-
ing, and fitting for use, horses, asses, mules, homed cattle, sheep,
goats and swine with Directions for the proper Treatment of their
several Disorders." Other writers included bees and rabbits along
with all four-legged cattle. Mills regarded the ox as the most valu-
able of horned cattle. Also, Mills wrote, "Formerly the wealth of
man consisted chiefly in his herds of black cattle . . . for it is only
by the cultivation of lands, and the abundance of Cattle that a state
can be maintained in a flourishing condition," except for gold and
silver. He described the ox by colors and by sorts and sizes in dif-
ferent countries. Richness of milk varied with some sorts. Three
classes of cattle were recognized: short-horned, longhorn, and polled
or muley cattle.
Ten years later, George Culley, a farmer at Fenton, Northumber-
land, published Observations on Live Stock, containing hints for
choosing and improving the best breeds of the most useful kinds of
domestic animals. He also included among the livestock rabbits,
Cattle Improvement Begins
swine, deer, and poultry. Culley recognized breeds of cattle. He
pointed out "a very common mistake in endeavoring to unite
great-milkers with quick-feeders." He mentioned that neat cattle
in the Azores were long-horned and in every respect the same as the
Lancashire breed, only less in size. Further, "Mr. Bakewell, from
the superior manner in which he has distinguished himself in the
breeding of cattle and sheep . .. pointed out some of the principal
advantages over those methods that were in greatest repute in his
day." Culley also described the short-horned breed of cattle, still in
many places called the Dutch breed. He mentioned that Mr.
Michael Dobinson brought bulls from Holland to the River Tees
The backward condition of agriculture with regard to livestock
and feed supplies in many areas was exemplified by "lifting days"
in the spring. A large painted wall panel at the Agricultural Expo-
sition at Bellahoj in 1938 depicted a "lifting day" in 1788 in Den-
mark when villeinage or serfdom was discontinued. Cows surviving
the winter, but too weak to stand, were lifted and helped onto pas-
ture by groups of farmers going from farm to farm. Dr. A. C. Mc-
Candlish's (1890-1938) grandmother told him of the practice in
Wigtonshire during her childhood. Insufficient or unbalanced feed
for the cattle caused them to lose condition during the winter and
early spring. These limitations of feed, which prevented animals
from developing to their inherited capacity, seriously retarded im-
provements in livestock. The need for lifting days disappeared
when land was enclosed and crop production and farming methods
THE FAIRLIE ROTATION
Interest in improvement of agriculture, including livestock, devel-
oped gradually. Innovations in farming spread slowly, as people
hesitated to adopt new ideas and practices. As early as 1730, Alex-
ander, Earl of Eglinton, began to lay out roads, plantations, and
ditches on his estate in the county of Ayrshire. He opened quarries
and encouraged his tenants to progress. He brought a prominent
farmer from another district as an example. When leases expired,
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
fields were enclosed and a rotation set up under the new leases
whereby some land was placed in sod, and only definite amounts
cultivated. This was known as the Fairlie system of rotation, de-
vised by William Fairlie.
Alexander established a Farmers' Society, over which he pre-
sided for a number of years. The idea of farmers' societies spread
among landowners, and had a great influence on increasing agri-
cultural knowledge. The movement made slow progress among ten-
ants, who looked upon those innovations as a means to increase
IMPROVEMENTS THROUGH BREEDING
Robert Bakewell (1725-95) was among the first prominent im-
provers of cattle, sheep, and horses in the British Isles. He was born
at Dishley Grange, in Leicestershire, England, where his grand-
father and father were tenant farmers and able breeders of live-
stock. His ancestors included men prominent in the church, diplo-
macy, and the learned professions.
Bakewell succeeded to the tenancy of Dishley Grange in 1760
because of infirmities of his father, who died in 1773. The farm con-
sisted of 440 acres, of which 110 acres were cultivated. It carried
60 horses, 400 sheep, 510 cattle of all ages, and some swine. Bake-
well's experiments in pasture irrigation and improvement, travels,
and purchases of breeding stock were so costly that he was declared
bankrupt (in the Leicester Journal, December 27, 1783). However,
his animals were not sold, and an appreciable estate was left to a
nephew when Bakewell died in 1795.
Bakewell selected two "Canley" cows from Sir William Gordon
of Carrington. They were of an improved strain developed by Sir
William Greeley, and later by a Mr. Webster of Canley. Bakewell
bought a bull from Westmorland. The use of these animals is il-
lustrated in the breeding of sires that he leased out and used later
in his own herd. The pedigree of the bull Shakespeare shows how
Bakewell tried to perpetuate desired characteristics of selected
"Twopenny" was named from the prophesy of a visitor that as
a calf he was not worth two pence. The bulls, D and Shakespeare,
Cattle Improvement Begins
lestmorland Comely Westmorland
bull (Canley cow) bull Comely
Twopenny Their daughter Twopenny Comeley
II An Oxfordshirn
Bull Cow Twopenny cow
were calved about 1772 and 1778, respectively, and were popular
sires of the Longhorn breed in their time.
Bakewell studied livestock closely. Professor Low wrote about
1842 that Bakewell took over the management of the ancestral
home about 1755, and that in breeding cattle, horses, sheep, and
He sought for the best animals of their respective kinds, and
coupling those together, endeavored to develop in the highest
degree, those characteristics which he deemed good. He ap-
peared to have disregarded, or made light of, size in all the
animals which he reared, and to have looked mainly to those
characteristics of form which indicate a disposition to arrive at
early maturity, and become readily fat. He acted to the fullest
extent upon the principle that the properties of the parents are
communicated to their descendants. This led him to attach the
highest importance to what is termed blood, or breeding from
individuals the descendants of those of approved qualities. A
maxim of his was, that "like begets like"-in principle
nothing new, but never, perhaps, acted upon in breeding to the
like degree before.
George Culley, a longtime acquaintance of Bakewell's, wrote of a
trip to Friesland for Dutch or Flemish mares to improve the En-
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
glish stock. Bakewell was disappointed when a Dutch farmer re-
fused a high price for one mare. Further, in Observations on Live-
stock, Culley cited:
The kind of cattle that were most esteemed before Bake-
well's day, were the large, long-bodied, big-boned, coarse,
gummy, flat-sided kind, and often lyery or black-fleshed. On
the contrary, this discerning breeder introduced a small, clean-
boned, round, short-carcassed, kindly-looking cattle, and in-
clined to be fat; and it is a fact, that these will both eat less
food in proportion, and make themselves sooner fat, than the
others; they will in truth pay more for their meat in a given
time, than any other sort we know of in the grazing way. His
sheep are still more excellent than his cattle.
Bakewell's fame as a breeder spread and attracted many visitors
to Dishley-royalty and nobility from England, France, Germany.
and Russia, as well as writers and many breeders of livestock. Cul-
ley and Arthur Young visited him. Young described a 10-day visit
in 1786, as follows: "In breeding his bulls and cows, (and it is the
same with his sheep), he entirely set at nought the old ideas of the
necessity of variation from crosses; on the contrary, the sons cover
the dams, and the sires their daughters, and their progeny equally
good, with no attention whatever to vary the race. The old system,
in this respect, he thinks erroneous; and founded in opinion only.
without attention either to reason or experience."
Bakewell founded the Dishley Society or Tup Club in 1783 to
protect and spread the Dishley or New Leicester sheep which he
bred. Many rams were leased out for a season, which made it pos-
sible for him to return for his own use those that transmitted the
desired characteristics to their offspring. This occurred nearly 40
years before foundation of the first herdbook for cattle.
His methods can be summarized under four main guidelines:
(1) use judgment of type, with an ideal in mind; (2) secure the
best stock available for the purpose; (3) breed closely, and prove
the transmitting ability of individual animals, using the desirable
ones to the maximum; (4) eliminate undesirable animals from the
breeding herd. The principles upon which Bakewell depended in
producing his improved stock were "fine form, small bones, and a
Cattle Improvement Begins
true disposition to make fat readily." Many prominent breeders
since have followed Bakewell's practices of endeavoring to breed
the best to the best, with careful selection, and to make the maxi-
mum use of desirable sires.
King George turned "Farmer George" and became a corres-
pondent of Bakewell. A host of distinguished names were enrolled
under the banner of the "Farmer's Friend," and stamped the
period as active in advancing the science and practice of agricul-
ture. The Longhorn breed of cattle is still a minor breed in Eng-
land. Bakewell's example stimulated improvers of other breeds.
Although not the first improver, the widespread following of his
example established Bakewell as the first great improver of live-
FAIRS AND MARKETS
Incentive toward improvement of livestock stemmed partly from
early fairs and markets. When a group of animals was assembled
for sale, the better ones often attracted buyers before the poor ani-
mals were taken.
Fairs are of ancient origin. Franchises or charters to hold them at
a given time or place were granted by the king or feudal lord. The
charters often stated the commodities to be offered. Fairs were held
in China in ancient times, and were operating in Champagne and
Brie in A.D. 427. In 660 a cattle market was chartered in Utrecht,
Holland, where butter and cheese fairs also were held. "The Horse
Fair," painted by Rosa Bonheur, pictured that famous event in
During Anglo-Saxon times, market transactions were concluded
before the "reeve" or before acceptable witnesses for legal se-
curity. Buyers and sellers congregated at fairs and markets, which
tended to stabilize prices. Fairs-often larger and gayer than mar-
kets-increased greatly in the British Isles after the Conquest
(1066). Between 1199 and 1483 over 2,800 fairs and markets were
chartered in England.
Fairs and markets had an educational value. Discriminating
buyers at the fairs selected cattle for breeding purposes. Charles
Colling saw some desirable calves at Darlington market, and
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
traced their sire which was bought later by his brother and another
breeder. This bull became famous as Hubback (319), a foundation
animal of the Shorthorn breed. "The Durham Ox," a steer fat-
tened by Charles Colling to weigh 3,024 pounds, was displayed at
the markets by Colling and two subsequent owners until the bull
was past 10 years old. Colling fattened the freemartin "The White
Heifer that Travelled" to 2,300 pounds, and exhibited her over
the country. These events occurred prior to most livestock exhibi-
tions-around 1800 to 1813.
Some "Alderney" cattle were distributed in England through
the markets, and others were sold through advertising in current
THE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES
Organized exchange of ideas for improvement of agriculture was
fostered by formation of "The Honourable Society of Improvers
in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland" in Edinburgh on
June 8, 1723. Membership included the Dukes of Athol, Hamilton.
and Perth, the Marquises of Lothian and Tweedale, eighteen Earls,
and representative barons, knights, and gentry of the country. The
members were impressed by the low state of manufactures in Scot-
land, and by "how much the right husbandry and improvement of
ground is neglected, partly through the want of skill in those who
make a profession thereof, and partly through the want of due en-
couragement for making proper experiments." Secretary Robert
Maxwell published the history of this society in 1743 before a revo-
lution disrupted the country in 1745. A committee of 25 people had
the duty of dividing into sections to stimulate investigations of agri-
culture. These sections were instructed to " . . . mark down their
thoughts thereupon in writing, to be revised by the Committee."
Also to " . . . correspond with the most intelligent in all the dif-
ferent customs in the nation concerning their different ways of
managing their grounds, that what may be amiss may be corrected,
and what is profitable initiated."
Members of the Committee were asked to "send up the differ-
ent ways of the management of their farms, and to form small so-
cieties of gentlemen and farmers in their several counties." Advice
Cattle Improvement Begins
given on fattening and tending cattle was "Be sure to prepare a
careful hand to attend feeding of them, for upon this depends the
whole success of the attempt."
The "Select Society," founded in Edinburgh by Allan Ramsey
on May 23, 1754, with 15 members interested in philosophical in-
quiry, grew to over 100 members within a year. Resolutions passed
on March 23, 1755, "for the encouragement of Arts, Science, Man-
ufactures, and Agriculture" included " . . . the Society for the
above purposes takes the name of 'The Edinburgh Society for En-
couraging Arts, Sciences, Manufactures, and Agriculture in Scot-
land."'" A notice in the Edinburgh newspapers on April 10, 1755,
mentioned premiums offered for competitions, including a Gold
Medal for "the best dissertation on vegetation and the principles
of agriculture." Farmers who wished to assist the Society were in-
vited to notify the secretary. Discussions included estate manage-
ment, highway construction, length of land leases, rent, taxation,
converting moor into arable or good pasture ground, and sowing
grass seeds without either lime or manure.
Prizes of �10 were given in December 1756 for the best stallion,
and �4 for feeding and selling to the butcher the greatest number
of calves at least 6 weeks old. Alexander Ramsey believed these to
be the first prizes awarded in Scotland for livestock. Two prizes for
cow-milk cheese, and one for salt butter encouraged dairy enter-
prise in 1756. The Select Society and Edinburgh Society were dis-
continued in 1765 due to limited finances.
About 50 persons met at Fortune's Tentine Tavern in Edinburgh
on February 9, 1784. They organized "The Highland Society of
Edinburgh" with John, Duke of Argyll as president, four vice-
presidents, and twelve committeemen. Objects of the Society ap-
proved on March 12, 1784, included:
An inquiry into the present state of the Highlands and Is-
lands of Scotland, and the condition of their inhabitants.
An inquiry into the means of the improvement of the High-
lands by establishing towns and villages; by facilitating com-
munication through different parts of the Highlands of Scot-
land; by roads and bridges, advancing agriculture, and extend-
ing fisheries, introducing useful trades and manufactures; and
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
by an exertion to unite the efforts of the proprietors, and call
the attention of the Government towards the encouraging and
prosecution of those beneficial purposes.
A Royal Charter was issued on May 17, 1787, which changed the
name to "The Highlands Society of Scotland at Edinburgh." Par-
liament granted �3,000 in 1789, the interest from which was avail-
able to pursue stated objects of the Society.
The first step toward cattle improvement was the Gold Medal
award (valued at 7 guineas or about $35) "for the best Bull from
two to five years old, proper for improving the breed of Highland
cattle, and the property and in possession of any proprietor or ten-
ant in Argyllshire-the bulls to be shown at Connell, Parish of Kil-
more, on the 20th October (1789)."
Premiums also were offered for bulls owned by tenants having at
least 40 cows, and for bulls being in herds that numbered at least
30 cows. The judges were instructed to "pay particular attention
to the shape of the bulls, and not to the size, as it was meant to en-
courage the true breed of Highland cattle." Heifers also were rec-
ognized in 1807.
Formation of local societies was proposed and approved at the
general meeting in 1792.
The Society's first show was held for three days at Edinburgh in
December 1822. Prizes were offered for pairs of oxen in four classes:
Shorthorn, Aberdeenshire, West Highland, and a class for "Angus,
Fife, and Galloway oxen, or any other breed." Sheep and pigs
were recognized in 1823, and breeding cows in 1824. Two Ayrshire
oxen and a Shorthorn-Ayrshire ox were recognized in the 1825 show.
Many general agricultural societies were organized soon after.
Dublin Society, founded in 1731, supervised agricultural trials under
an official experimentalist. The Society for the Encouragement of
Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce organized in London in 1754
and began publication of transactions in 1783. Empress Catherine
of Russia directed the Free Oeconomical Society to be formed and
set up experimental plots near St. Petersburg (Petrograd) under a
priest trained on Arthur Young's estate.
Cattle Improvement Begins
AMERICAN FAIRS AND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES
The American Philosophical Society was organized at Philadelphia
in 1743. Although not an agricultural society, its proceedings in-
cluded agricultural articles. The Strawberry Fair, authorized by an
Act of 1723, was held at Childsberrytown in Berkeley County, Vir-
ginia, in the spring and autumn "for exposing for sale horses, cattle
and merchandise." This fair and later ones were periodic markets.
Elkanah Watson-"Father of Agricultural Fairs"-was an early
leader and organizer and an especially enthusiastic promoter of
fairs. Watson procured two Merino sheep in 1808, which he ex-
hibited on the public square in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, near his
estate. People interested in these better animals inspired the idea
of organizing a different type of agricultural society. Neighbors
helped him to found the Berkshire Cattle Show in 1810 and the
Berkshire Agricultural Society in 1811. Animals competed for money
prizes, and a half-mile parade featured band music and mounted
marshals. The show expanded each year to include different types
of exhibits-manufactured woolen cloth, a household department,
more livestock and farm produce, with a promotional address. New
societies were formed with support by state legislatures to hold
practical agricultural fairs. Interest declined after Watson died,
but by the 1840s it increased again.
The earliest American agricultural society may have been the
New York Society for Promoting Art, operating in 1766 and award-
ing premiums for essays on specific subjects. The New York Society
for the Promotion of Agriculture, Arts, and Manufactures dates
from 1751. The South Carolina Society for Promoting and Improv-
ing Agriculture and other Rural Concerns was projected in 1784.
They advocated that plantation owners set aside some land for ex-
periments with animals, implements, and plants. The Philadelphia
Society for Promotion of Agriculture, founded in 1785, publicized
the production of newly introduced dairy cows in its memoirs.
The Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, founded in
1792, published reports of its deliberations. They also imported
and placed improved breeds of stock with members under an
agreement that they be maintained pure and their kind multiplied.
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
They introduced Merino sheep, Percheron horses, and Ayrshire,
Devon, Shorthorn, and other cattle breeds.
In North America, fairs have been adapted also toward agricul-
tural development, education, and promotion by agricultural socie-
ties, breed organizations, fair associations, and governmental agen-
cies. Such activities have been expanded to include consignment,
promotional, reduction, and dispersal sales of purebred livestock.
Anderson, James. 1775. Essays relating to agriculture and rural affairs. Edin-
Bradley, Richard. 1729. The gentleman and farmers' guide for the increase and
improvement of cattle. London.
Brown, Robert. 1811. Treatise on rural affairs. Edinburgh.
Culley, George. 1786. Observations on live stock. (4th ed, 1807) G. G. J. & J.
Darwin, Charles R. 1859. Origin of species. Appleton, New York.
Dickson, Adam. 1788. The husbandry of the ancients. 2 vols. Edinburgh.
Garrard, George. 1805. An atlas of different varieties of cattle of the British
Isles and cattle from the East Indies. (A portfolio.) London.
Gent, J. W. 1675. System agricultural, being the mystery of husbandry dis-
covered and layd open by J. W. 2nd ed. London.
Hale, Thomas. 1756. A compleat body of husbandry. 2 vols. London.
Huberman, Leo. 1936. Man and his worldly goods. Harper, New York.
Lamond, Elizabeth. 1890. Walter of Henley's husbandry. London.
Lawrence, John. 1726. A new system of agriculture. Being a complete body
of husbandry and gardening in all parts of them. London.
---- . 1809. A general treatise on cattle, the ox, the sheep, and the swine.
C. Whittingham, London.
Leouzon, Louis. 1905. Agronomes et Eleveurs. J. B. Baillerie & Sons, Paris.
A Lincolnshire Grazier. 1833. The complete grazier. 6th ed. Baldwin &
Low, David. 1842. On the domesticated animals of the British Isles. Longmans,
Green & Co., London.
Markham, Gervaise. About 1631. Cheape and good husbandry. 8th ed., 1653.
J. Harison, London.
Mascall, Leonard. 1596. The government of cattle. (Eds. to 1633.) London.
Mills, John. 1776. A treatise on cattle. J. Johnson, London.
Mortimer, John. 1707. The whole art of husbandry, or the way of managing
and improving land. J. H. Mortlock, London.
Neely, Wayne C. 1935. The agricultural fair. Columbia Univ. Press, New York.
Pawson, H. Cecil. 1957. Robert Bakewell. Crosby Lockwood & Son, London.
Cattle Improvement Begins 71
Prothero, R. E. (Lord Ernle). 1888. English farming past and present. Ed. by
Sir A. D. Hall, 1936. London.
- . 1892. Landmarks in British farming. J. Roy. Agr. Soc. Engl. 3(ser.
Sebright, Sir John Saunders. 1809. The art of improving the breeds of domestic
True, Rodney H. 1925. The early development of agricultural societies in the
United States. Amer. Hist. Assoc. 1920 Ann. Rept. Washington, D.C. Pp.
Young, Arthur. 1786. A ten day tour to Mr. Bakewell's. Ann. Agr. 6:452-502.
AYRSHIRES IN SCOTLAND
FOUNDATION of the Ayrshire breed on native cows dates back be-
tween two and three centuries in the districts of Carrick, Cunning-
ham, and Kyle in Ayr (see Fig. 5.1). The county, which extends in
a crescent along 70 miles of coast on the Firth of Clyde, is 4 to 28
miles wide and covers 1,149 square miles. The altitude varies be-
tween sea level and 2,298 feet; mean temperature ranges from 350
to 650 F.; and annual precipitation averages 35 inches. The cool
moist climate favors grasses, cereal grains, and root crops. Dairying
is the leading agricultural enterprise. Half the land was in grass in
1925, mostly on clay and heavy loam soils. Turnips, rutabagas, and
potatoes were the main tilled crops.
Headpiece: Vignette of Ayrshire cow.
Ayrshires in Scotland 73
Remains of extinct B. primigenius occur in Pleistocene deposits, the
bottoms of lochs and lakes after the Ice Age. Neolithic settlers who
brought B. longifrons as domesticated cattle lived in huts, made
pottery and polished stone implements, and had a settled agricul-
ture. The Romans brought draft cattle from south of the Alps to
Scotland in A.D. 80. Norsemen (Danes and others) raided and even-
tually lived in the region. Red cattle and the polled character trace
to Norse cattle. Some polled cattle were among the Roman intro-
duction into England. Timothy Pont wrote in 1600 that much excel-
lent butter was sent to other sections.
Dutch cattle were imported into the lowlands of eastern England
before 1600. Mortimer described them as "good milkers, long-
legg'd, and short-horn'd" in 1721. Some crossing probably took
place in the foundation of the Ayrshire breed.
ORIGIN OF DUNLOP CHEESE
Barbara Gilmore, who fled to Ireland because of religious persecu-
tion, brought the knowledge of cheese making (in 1688) to the
farm of Hill in the Parish of Dunlop, as told by R. H. Leitch. Peo-
ple suffered many hardships and privations during the religious con-
troversies. Little was done then to improve cattle. Daniel DeFoe
(author of Robinson Crusoe) wrote before his death in 1731: "The
greatest thing this country wants is more enclosed pastures, by
which the farmer would keep stock of cattle well fodder'd in the
winter, and which again, would not only furnish good store of but-
ter, cheese, and beef to the market, but would, by their quantity of
dung, enrich their soil according to the unanswerable maxim in
grazing that stock upon land improves land." He favored northern
Ayr, its pastures and cattle.
According to William Aiton, the first Act of the Scottish parliament
concerning land enclosure was passed in the reign of James I, about
1457. In 1695 another Act was passed for division of a Common and
consolidation of intermixed properties. Agriculture was unprogres-
sive. Although landowners instituted improved methods on their
IRISH SEA 0 10 20 30 40
I I I I I
Scale of Miles
FIG. 5.1. The districts of Cunningham, Kyle, and Carrick, which comprise the
county of Ayr in southwestern Scotland, were the areas in which the Ayrshire
breed of dairy cattle was developed.
Ayrshires in Scotland
own farms, tenants hesitated to follow, suspecting a trick by the
landlord to exact more rent-in-kind. During winter, cattle became
emaciated and weak for lack of proper feed, and many died. When
grass became available in spring, farmers-even after 1800-had
"lifting days" to get weak cows onto their feet and out to pas-
tures. Lack of proper feed retarded improvement of cattle.
Marshall Stair introduced horse-hoeing, alfalfa, and St. Foin grass
into Wigtonshire after 1728; cultivated turnips, carrots, cabbages,
and potatoes; subdivided and enclosed his lands; and drained
marshes. His sister did the same in Ayr. Stair died in 1747, his sis-
ter in 1770 (100 years of age).
EARL OF EGLINTON
Alexander, 10th Earl of Eglinton, succeeded to his estate about
1730. Aiton wrote of his activities:
He traversed every comer of each of his extensive estates;
arranged the divisions and marches of the farm; laid off roads,
plantations and ditches, opened quarries, etc. and by the fre-
quent seeing and conversing with his tenants, and pointing
out the improvements proper to be executed, he roused them
to industry, rendered them more intelligent, and laid the foun-
dation of their future prosperity. He instituted an agricultural
society, and presided over it for many years.
The Earl of Eglinton brought from east Lothian, Mr. Wright
of Ormiston, an eminent farmer, who introduced into Ayr-
shire the proper mode of levelling and straighting land, fallow-
ing, drilling, turnip husbandry, etc. His Lordship also put an
end on his estate, to that destructive distinction of croft and
field land; and the system of over plowing, which had so long
and so improperly been pursued; and prohibited his tenants
from ploughing more than one third of the land in their pos-
session. That which has since obtained the name of 'Fairly ro-
tation,' was first introduced by Alexander, Earl of Eglinton,
and only followed out by Mr. Fairly after his lordship's death.
That important branch of rural economy, the improvement of
the breed of cattle, did not escape the attention of that worthy
and dignified nobleman. Ploughmen, roadmakers, and people
conversant in the dairy, were brought by him, from different
parts of Britain. Fencing was begun on an extensive scale, and
the face of the country was ornamented and sheltered by many
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
clumps of trees which he caused to be planted on the emi-
nences. New farm houses were begun to be erected on more
liberal plans; the tenants were taken bound to crop only one
third of their possessions; to manure the land, sow grass-seed,
and every improvement of which the ground was susceptible,
was planned and begun to be executed by that enlightened
Aiton mentioned that John, Earl of Loudon, raised field turnips,
cabbages, and carrots as early as 1756. Fullarton had described the
seeding of 3 bushels of ryegrass and 12 pounds of clover per acre,
to be cut for hay 1 year and pastured for 5 years. The fodder was
to be fed upon the ground, and all manure spread upon it.
George Culley listed the long-horned, short-horn'd, polled or
Galloway breed, Kiloes or Scottish cattle, and the Alderney or
French breed among the several breeds of cattle in the British Isles
in 1786. He remembered Michael Dobinson of Durham who
brought bulls from Holland early in his life "and those he brought
over, I have been told, did much service in improving the breed."
Hale (1756) and Arthur Young (1770) mentioned these Dutch
cattle in northeastern England.
THE (OLD) STATISTICAL ACCOUNTS
Rural activities in 893 parishes in Scotland were recorded between
1790 and 1798 in 21 volumes known as The (Old) Statistical Ac-
counts. These accounts were prepared largely by local ministers
and were edited by Sir John Sinclair, Secretary of Agriculture.
Some writers gave little attention to cattle, but butter, cheese, or
milk cows were mentioned in at least 16 accounts in southwestern
Scotland. Thus scanty development of dairying was recognized in
Ayr, leading in the northern district of Cunningham. For the parish
of Dunlop, it mentioned: "But the principal produce ... is cheese.
For this it has long been known and distinguished, insomuch that
all the cheese made in the country about it ... goes by the name
of Dunlop cheese, and finds a ready market on that account. In
1750, the only enclosures were . . . about gentlemen's seats; and
in winter . . . the cattle roamed at pleasure and poached on all the
arable land. ... By 1798 most of the land was enclosed, and cattle
Ayrshires in Scotland
Of nearby Beith Parish-"They almost universally made Dunlop
cheese." Likewise in Dalry-"The breed of cows is much im-
proved from what they were." Similar mention of milk cows was
made from several surrounding parishes.
The middle district of Kyle likewise was turning to dairying, with
cheese made "after the Dunlop manner, and equally good." Of
Sorn, just to the south-"The black cattle consist partly of the an-
cient breed; but mostly of a mixed breed between that and the
Cunningham kind. About two-thirds are milk cows and the rest
young cattle, rearing for the same purpose."
Tarbelton (westward of Sorn) kept 1,800 cows, and "a prodig-
ious quantity of butter and cheese is made annually here for sale."
Cattle in Symington Parish were "generally of a good milk kind,
giving from 10 to 14 Scotch pints per day."
Of Kirkswald Parish-"The dairy was in a most neglected state
... 40 years ago .... Now the milk cows are changed to the better,
are put into parks sown down with white and yellow clover, and
when they live in the house by night or by day, are fed upon cut
red clover. Every steading of farm houses has an apartment by it-
self for a milk house, and every conveniency suited to it. Good
butter and cheese are now exported from the parish to the market
of Ayr and Paisley."
COLONEL FULLARTON'S SURVEY
Colonel William Fullarton (1793) was appointed by the Board of
Agriculture to survey the county of Ayr. He pointed out in his pre-
liminary report that in Cunningham
a breed of cattle has for more than a century been established,
remarkable for the quantity and quality of their milk in propor-
tion to their size. They have long been denominated the Dun-
lop breed, from the ancient family of that name, or the parish
where the breed was first brought to perfection. . . . Within
these 20 years, brown and white mottled cattle are so gener-
ally preferred as to bring a larger price than others of equal
size or shape, if differently marked. It appears, however, that
the mottled breed is of different origin from the former stock.
. This breed was introduced into Ayrshire by the present
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
Earl of Marchmont . . . from whence they have spread over
all the country.
This breed is short in the leg, finely shaped in the head and
neck, with small horns, not wide, but tapering to the point.
They are neither so thin coated as the Dutch, nor so thick and
rough as the Lancashire cattle. They are deep in the body, but
not so long, nor so full and ample in the carcase and hind
quarters as some other kinds. They usually weigh from 20 to
40 English stone. ... It is not uncommon for these small cows
to give from 24 to 34 English quarts of milk daily, during the
summer months, while some of them will give as far as 40
quarts, and yield 8 or 9 English pounds of butter weekly. The
breed is now so generally diffused over Cunningham and Coil
(Kyle), that few of other sorts are reared on any well regulated
farm. The farmers reckon that a cow yielding 20 quarts of
milk per day during the summer season, will produce cheese
and butter worth about �6 per annum ....
In former times a proportion of Dutch or Holderness cattle
had been propagated, and when well fed, yielded large quan-
tities of milk. But they were thin haired, lank in the quarters,
and delicate in the constitution, which rendered them unfit
for a soil such as Ayrshire's. They were, besides, extremely
difficult to fatten, yielded little tallow, and from the spareness
of their shapes, incapable of carrying much flesh upon the
Alderneys and Guernseys have also been occasionally intro-
duced, in order to give a richness and colour to the milk and
butter; which they do in a degree superior to any other animal
of the cow species.
The term "Ayrshire breed" was used by the Reverend David
Ure in 1793, when he wrote "with respect to the origin the com-
mon account is, that about a century ago, the farmers in Dunlop
were at great pains to improve the original breed of the country,
by paying strict attention to the marks which their experience had
led them to make of a good milk cow."
Forsyth described Ayrshire cows in 1805 as:
Formerly black or brown, with white faces and white streaks
along their backs, were prevailing colours; but within these
20 years brown and white-mottled cattle are so generally pre-
ferred as to bring a larger price than others of equal size and
shape if differently marked. It appears, however, that this
Ayrshires in Scotland
mottled breed is of different origin from the former stock; and
the rapidity with which they have been diffused over a great
extent of the country, to the almost entire exclusion of the pre-
ceding race, is a singular circumstance in the history of breed-
ing. . . . The breed is now so generally diffused over Cunning-
ham and Coil (Kyle), that very few of other sorts are reared on
any well regulated farm.
When Colonel Fullarton was transferred to other duties, the
Board of Agriculture selected William Aiton, native-born in Ayr,
who prepared a new report in 1811. He wrote, "I am old enough
to remember, nearly, the commencement of enclosing of land, and
the introduction of ryegrass, as a crop in the parrish of Kilmarnock.
The popular prejudice and extraordinary clamour, among the ten-
antry against these innovations was very strong. . . . The tenants
were disposed to consider every movement they were required to
make on their possessions, as tending only to augment their labour,
and increase the rent rolls of the proprietor."
Aiton described the weights and measures used in Ayrshire. A
Scotch gallon (8 Scotch pints) was 840 English cubic inches,
whereas the English "wine gallon" was the present 231 cubic
inches in volume. There were 4 different liquid-measure gallons
and 1 dry-measure gallon. Cheese, butter, meat, hay, and straw
were sold in Ayrshire by the trone or county weight which con-
tained 24 ounces avoirdupois per pound, 16 pounds making 1 stone.
English or avoirdupois weight contained 16 ounces per pound, 112
pounds per hundredweight, and 14 pounds per stone "jockey
weight" used for groceries and other merchant goods.
Dutch weight contained 171/2 ounces of English avoirdupois
weight per pound, 16 pounds per Dutch stone (equalling 171/z Eng-
lish pounds, or 11 2/3 pounds trone or county weight in Ayrshire).
Troy weight was used for gold and silver, and by apothecaries.
AITON'S SURVEY OF AYR
Next to the melioration of the soil, the raising of grain, sowing
grasses, and planting of useful roots; the rearing of cattle, and
turning their produce to the best account, form the more im-
portant concern of the husbandman. . . . The age, shape and
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
qualities, as well as the sizes . . . require to be attended to ...
the breed is most improved by selecting males of the best
shapes and qualities, and by no means so large as the females
which they cover, and that the shapes and qualities, as well as
the size of the stock are chiefly governed by the food and man-
ner in which the animal is treated ....
The only distinction of breeds to be met with in the county
of Ayr, are the Galloway and the Dairy Cows. As both are ex-
cellent of their kinds, a particular description of each requires
to be given.
Galloway cattle prevailed in Carrick until Aiton's time, when:
the dairy breed has been lately introduced, and is fast increas-
ing in Carrick, still the Galloway cow is most common in that
district of Ayrshire ....
As the county of Ayr formed a part of the kingdom of Gal-
loway, and was inhabited by the same people [Cambrian
Britons], their cattle, and the mode of treating them would
continue the same in both countries, so long as the inhabitants
remained uncivilized; except in so far as they were affected by
soil or climate. But the inhabitants of both countries seem to
have begun much earlier than their neighbors, to pay attention
to cattle and their produce.
The dairy breed of cows in Ayrshire . . . are in fact a breed
of cows that have, by crossing, coupling, feeding, and treat-
ment, been improved and brought to a state of perfection
which fits them above all others yet known, to answer almost
in every diversity of situation, where grains and grasses can be
raised to feed them, for the purposes of the dairy, or for fat-
tening them for beef.
That justly celebrated breed have neither been imported
from abroad, nor raised to their present excellence, altogether,
by the magical effects of gigantic bulls, brought into the dis-
trict. For though some alterations may have been affected in
their size, shape, and colour, by the introduction of a few cows
and bulls, of an improved breed, as I shall have occasion to
notice; yet the dairy breed of Ayrshire are in a great measure
the native indigenous breed of the county of Ayr, improved in
their size, shapes and qualities, chiefly by judicious selection,
cross coupling, feeding, and treatment, for a long period of
time, and with much judgement and attention by the industri-
ous inhabitants of the county, and principally by those in the
district of Cunningham.
Ayrshires in Scotland
It appears from the adage taken as the motto, and quoted
above ("Kyle for a Man, Carrick for a Cow, Cunningham for
Butter and Cheese, And Galloway for Woo',") that the
making of butter and cheese had, at the most remote period
of their history, been the chief study and the highest boast . ..
of the inhabitants of Cunningham. In prosecuting this species
of industry, they could not fail to discover, that the cows who
were the most amply supplied with suitable food, would yield
the greatest quantities of good milk. Hence another adage of
unknown antiquity, common in that district. "The cow gives
her milk by the Mou'." That discovery once made, it was
natural for them to do their utmost to supply that food which
so much contributed to the milk they wanted; and the im-
proved feeding so given would, independent of other circum-
stances, tend greatly to the increase and improvement of the
stock of cows. . . .
It was chiefly by these means (selecting calves from the
better producing cows), and not by changing the stock, or al-
together by lining their cows with bulls of greater size, that
the dairy breed of Ayrshire attained their present unrivalled
Some alteration was probably made on the dairy stock of
Ayrshire, by the introduction of a few Dutch or English cows
and bulls of a size greatly superior to the native race in that
Among other crosses with foreign cows or bulls, I under-
stand, that the Earl of Marchmont, about 1750, purchased
from the Bishop of Durham, carried to his seat in Berwick-
shire, several cows and a bull either of the Teeswater or other
English breed, of high brown and white colour, now so general
in Ayrshire; and that Bruce Campbell, Esq., then factor on his
Lordship's estates, in Ayrshire, carried some of that breed to
Sornberg, in Kyle, from whence they spread over different parts
of the county. A bull of that stock, after coupling with many
cows about Cessnock, was brought by Mr. Hamilton, of Sun-
drum, and left a numerous progeny in that quarter of Ayrshire.
I am of opinion that this bull ... would increase the size, and
alter the colour of his progeny, and the large bones and ill
shapes, incident to the calves begotten by a large bull, upon a
small cow, would be gradually corrected in after generations.
I have also been told that John Dunlop, Esq., of Dunlop,
brought some cows of a large size, from a distance, probably
of the Dutch, Teeswater, or Lincoln breeds, and that much of
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
the improved breed of Cunningham proceeded chiefly from
their origin. John Orr, Esq., of Barrowfield, brought from Glas-
gow, or some part of the East country, to Grougar, about 1769,
several very fine cows of the colour now in vogue; one of
whom I remember cost �6, which was more than twice the
price of the best cow then in that quarter. As I lived then in
that neighborhood, I had access to know that many calves were
reared from these cows, and that their offspring have been
greatly multiplied, on the strath of the water of Irvine.
Though I have mentioned those, I do not suppose they
were the only instances of cows, of larger and improved
breeds, being introduced into the county.
It was probably from some or other of these mixtures, that
the red and white colours of the present stock, now so com-
mon, were introduced. I remember, about 1778 and 1780, that
breed became fashionable, with some of the most opulent and
tasty farmers, in the parish of Dunlop and Stewarton; and
that from these quarters of the county they gradually spread
over the other parts, first of Cunningham, afterwards of Kyle,
and now of Carrick, and other districts even out of the county.
Till these were introduced, the cows of Cunningham were gen-
erally black, with some white on their face, belly, neck, back,
or tail. The native breed of cows in Scotland, seem to have
been generally black, and except in the improved dairy breed,
they are still mostly of a dark or black colour. Hence the term
black cattle is still applied to cows of every colour, all over
The size of the Ayrshire improved dairy cows varies from
20 to 40 stones English, according to the quality and abun-
dance of their food. If cattle are too small for the soil, they will
soon rise to the size it can maintain, and the reverse, if they are
larger than it is calculated to support.
The shapes most approved of in the dairy breed are as fol-
lows. Head small, but rather long and narrow at the muzzle.
The eye small, but smart and lively. The horns small, clear,
crooked, and their roots at considerable distance from each
other. Neck long and slender, tapering towards the head, with
no loose skin below. Shoulders thin. Fore-quarters light. Hind-
quarters large. Back straight, broad behind, and the joints
rather loose and open. Carcase deep, and pelvis capacious and
wide, over the hips, with round fleshy buttocks. Tail long and
small. Legs small and short, with firm joints. Udder capacious,
broad and square, stretching forward and neither fleshy, low
Ayrshires in Scotland
hung, nor loose; the milk veins large and prominent. Teats
short, all pointing outwards, and at considerable distance from
each other. Skin thin and loose. Hair soft and woolly. The head,
bones, horns, and all parts of least value small; and the general
figure compact and well proportioned.
The most valuable quality which a dairy cow can possess
is that she yields much milk. A cow in Ayrshire that does not
milk well will soon come to the hammer. I have never seen
cows anywhere that, under the same mode of feeding and
treatment, would yield so much milk as the dairy breed of that
district. Ten Scotch pints per day is no way uncommon. Sev-
eral cows yield for some time twelve pints, and some thirteen
or fourteen pints per day. I have heard of sixteen or eighteen
pints being taken from a cow every day, but I have never seen
so much; and I suspect there must have been some froth, either
in the milk, or in the story.
Care and feed of the cows was mentioned.
The winter food of the dairy stock in the county of Ayr, from
the time that the grass fails in the autumn, till it rises in the
month of May, has been chiefly the straw of oats, or ... the
hay of bog meadows, frequently but ill preserved. For a few
weeks after they calve, they are allowed some weak corn and
chaff boiled, with infusions of hay; and by way of luxury a
morsel of rye-grass or lea-hay once every day; and of late
years by some farmers, a small quantity of turnips, in the early
part of the winter, and a few potatoes in the spring, have been
Such meagre feeding, for so long . . . reduced the cow to a
skeleton. When turned out to pasture in the month of May,
many of the cows are so much dried up and emaciated, that
they appear like the ghosts of cows; their milk vessels are dried
up, and it is not till they have been several weeks at the grass
that they give either much milk, or of a rich quality.
Every dairy farmer will admit that their cows are much in-
jured by the length of the winter. . . .. They can ... shorten the
period, and soften the rigours of winter by providing them such
stores of turnips, potatoes, and other green food as will render
the cattle comfortable, and preserve them in a milky habit till
the return of summer. . . . the high price obtained for rye-
grass-hay causes the farmer to deal it out but sparingly to the
cows .... The food in summer, of the dairy stock in the county
of Ayr, is generally pasture. In the best cultivated districts,
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
where clover and rye-grass grow luxuriantly and the pasture
is nourishing, the cows fare well and produce much milk.
He described feeding of freshly cut clover in the byre, thus get-
ting "double the quantity" of feed from an area as against graz-
ing it. He advocated dividing a pasture and grazing alternately to
prevent seeding. Also, the tax on salt deprived cows "of that nec-
essary article of their life and comfort."
ORIGIN OF THE BREED
Aiton continued seeking the origin of improved Ayrshires. His last
They have increased to double their former size, and they
yield about four, and some of them five, times the quantity
of milk they formerly did. By greater attention to their breed-
ing and feeding, they have changed from an ill shaped, puny,
mongrel race of cattle, to a fixed and specific breed, of excel-
lent shape, quality and colour. This change has not been ef-
fected by merely expelling one breed and introducing another,
but on the far sounder principles of careful crossing and better
These are all the instances of stranger cattle which have
been brought into the county of Ayr, as far as I know at the
time . . . or have been able to trace, and I am not aware, that
more than a dozen or at most twenty such cows ever came into
this district. I am disposed to believe, that although they ren-
dered the red colour with white patches fashionable in Ayr-
shire, they could not have had much effect in changing the
breed into their present highly improved condition.
The greatest number of cows then weighed 24 to 36 stones. Better
feed and care allowed the cows to develop to the extent of their
inherited ability, but more than feed is necessary to establish a
breed. Lack of it restricts development and milk production.
John Speir believed that some qualities of Ayrshires depended
strongly on Dutch cattle brought to England probably between
1600 and 1750, before the black-and-white color dominated in the
Netherlands. A few cattle were sent to Scotland from the Island of
Jersey by Field Marshall Henry Seymour Conway and Lieutenant
General Andrew Gordon between 1772 and 1806.
Ayrshires in Scotland
NEW STATISTICAL AccouNrs
The presence of some Channel Island cattle in southern Scotland
was documented in The New Statistical Account of Scotland in
1845. The Reverend David Ure, of Glasgow, stated that dairy cows
of Roxburgh to the eastward were "a mixture of the Dutch,
French, and English kinds. They are short-horned, deep-ribbed,
and of a white and red colour. The Ayrshire breed has now got into
the county, and is found to answer exceedingly well."
Colonel J. Le Couteur, of Jersey, mentioned the earlier two ship-
ments of Jerseys to Scotland, and some resemblance between the
John Speir described introduction of Highland blood into the
Ayrshire breed, as follows:
Between 1800 and 1830 the Ayrshires seem to have grown
immensely in public favor. . . . The favorite herd at this early
period, and the one which exerted probably greater influence
on the breed than any other of this period, was that of Theoph-
ilus Swinlees, Dalry. . . . He was born 4th April, 1778, and
died 18th April, 1872, at 94 years of age. He had a brother
Will who was a Highland cattle dealer .... Being a neighbor,
. the writer received direct many of the notes regarding
this particular herd .... Theo. Paton often repeated to me the
story that the basis of his herd was a cross between an Ayr-
shire bull and a West Highland heifer. The introduction of any
Highland blood into the Ayrshire breed has often been dis-
puted, but as far as this particular instance is concerned there
is no room left for doubt. That eminent exhibitor and judge
of Ayrshire bulls, the late Wm. Bartlemore, of Paisley, says
that this animal was a Skye heifer, and that "The first progeny
was a red heifer calf, but the dam in milk exhibited such pre-
eminent qualities of teat and udder, that he again mated her
It was about this time that the Ayrshire began to have
stronger horns than formerly, and with the points turned up-
ward instead of inwards; but whether or not these changes
were gradually brought about by natural selection, or by the
influence of the Swinlees breed, as it was generally called,
there is little evidence to show. . . . Bulls from that herd . ..
were introduced into almost every herd of prominence. The
change was, however, very gradual, for as late as 50 years ago
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
(1859) a large proportion of Ayrshires, as I remember them,
had incurved horns. Mr. Hamilton (a noted Ayrshire judge,
beginning in 1849) says they were often as much curved in-
ward that the points had to be sawn off to prevent them enter-
ing the head.
The terms "sort," "kind," and "breed" were used loosely
in connection with cattle of the British Isles in the 1700s. Final of-
ficial sanction of the term "breed of cattle" appears to trace to a
report of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland on
January 30, 1835. Several distinct breeds were mentioned in this
report. Ayrshires were recognized by this Society as a pure breed
in 1836. Local cattle were known by the name of Dunlop, Cun-
ningham, and then Ayrshire successively as numbers increased and
they became recognized more widely as a dairy breed.
The many shades of black, brown, red, fawn, and cream leave
room for thought as to the source of the fawn, yellow, brindle, and
cream colors described with Ayrshires imported into Canada and
the United States between 1836 and 1891, and registered in Volume
1 of the Dominion Ayrshire Herd Book.
FAIRS AND SHOWS
John Speir stated in 1909 that "the breed as we know it today is
in great part the result of the showing season. Ayrshire, and more
particularly the Cunninghame and Kyle districts, seem to have been
about, if not the very first, to adopt a system of holding competitions
Probably the earliest livestock competition in Scotland took place
in December 1756, when the Edinburgh Society awarded a prize
to the best draft stallion, and a premium for the greatest number of
calves fed and sold to the butcher. A premium for salt butter, and
two for cheese, also were awarded in 1756.
The present Highland Society-now named the Royal Highland
and Agricultural Society of Scotland-was founded February 9,
1784, and began to award annual premiums for breeding stock in
1789. Parliament appropriated �3,000, the interest on which was
used "for advancing agriculture" and other purposes.
In Ayr, the Kilmarnock Farmers' Club, founded in 1786, held its
Ayrshires in Scotland
first cattle show at Kilmarnock in 1793. Gilbert Burns (brother of
Robert Bums) discussed improving Ayrshire cattle in 1795, stating:
"Although much has been done of late in this country in proper
selection of the species to breed from, yet much remains to be done.
That particular attention out to be given to the whole appearance
of the animal, as well as to its colour and horns. That much atten-
tion out to be given in the selection of the cow as well as of the
bull." The particular type of animal desirable to breed from was
discussed shortly thereafter. Premiums for heifers at the show were
added in 1807. A picture of an ideal Ayrshire cow, as approved by
the Club, was published in 1811.
The Highland Society rotated location of its show over Scotland,
with prizes awarded to Ayrshires first in 1814, then in 1816 and
1821. Forty-nine cows and bulls competed in their show at Glasgowv
in 1826. Two prize cows at the Highland Show in 1828 are pic-
tured in Figure 5.2. Malcolm Brown (1829) mentioned Ayrshires
at the show: "This breed has been greatly improved; yet there re-
mains much to be done, and this can only be attained by a careful
and continued attention to the temper, size, shape and qualities of
FIG. 5.2. An artist's portrait of the first and second prize Ayrshire cows at
the Highland Show in 1828. Note the short horns and closely attached udder.
(Portrait by Howe.)
DAIRY CATTLE BREEDS
those intended to breed from together with the greatest care in the
treatment of the young stock."
The Highland Society's policy committee decided in 1835 to
foster "Shorthorned, West Highland, Polled Angus, Polled Aber-
deenshire and Galloway," and the Ayrshire as a dairy breed. This
action suppressed Homed Aberdeenshires and the dairy breed of
Fifeshire. They advocated upgrading native cattle with bulls of ap-
The Highland show held in Ayr in 1835 had 88 Ayrshire entries.
FIG. 5.3. "Geordie," an outstanding first prize winner in 1838 and 1839, was
popular. His progeny exerted a wide influence on the breed. He was of Swin-
mostly from that county. The top bull was of Swinlee breeding.
Bulls receiving prizes had to travel the district and serve cows in a
radius of 30 miles, if �20 were subscribed. "Geordie" won first
prize at the Highland show in 1838 and at the Ayrshire Agricultural
Society and Highland shows in 1839 (Fig. 5.3).
CHANGES IN SHOW IDEALS
A General Agricultural Association of Ayrshire held its first show in
1836, and remained permanently in the Burgh of Ayr in 1852. (This
still is the leading Ayrshire show in Scotland, equalled on some oc-
casions by the Royal Highland Show.) Judges began gradually to
place much emphasis on fine points-upturned horns, teats not over