Texas Longhorn Cattle Characteristics: Exhaustive FACTS


All cows have horns, but what makes Texas Longhorn Cattle is their extended and curved horns. Their horns are one of the distinguishing characteristics that make them stand apart.

Native to the US, Texas Longhorn Cattle were the first cattle introduced in the New World. Furthermore, this breed of cattle was the first to evolve without the use of humans. Although Texas Longhorns are raised for either beef or dairy, their charm and beauty are always in high demand.

Hence, in the following sections, we will be focusing on some of the most notable characteristics of Texas Longhorn Cattle. Starting from their origin and color to how they are raised, we will cover everything. 

By the end of the article, you will be able to learn a lot of things about Texas Longhorns that will help you understand this breed better and up close. 

Image Credit: Closeup Longhorn Steer from Maxpixel

Basic information about Texas longhorn cattle

  • General name– Texas Longhorn
  • Origin– United States
  • Breeding purpose– Milk and meat
  • Milking capacity– Poor
  • Temperament– Docile if not provoked
  • Horned– Yes
  • Climate tolerance – All climate
  • Coat color– Color may vary

Texas longhorn cattle origin

The Texas longhorn is a cattle breed named from its long horns, which are world-famous. This warm-blooded bovine belongs to the Mammalia and relates to the Bovidae family.

Texas longhorn cattle are not a pure breed. Instead, it’s a cross between Spanish retinto cattle and English cattle introduced to Texas by Anglo-American frontiersmen in the 1800s. Nonetheless, the root of this cattle can majorly be found in the south of Spain.

According to genetic researches, Texas Longhorns had descended from an Iberian taurine lineage that had evolved from the domestication of wild aurochs in the Middle East, with some hybridization of European aurochs.

How did longhorn cattle first come to Texas?

Texas longhorns were brought to Texas for grazing the farmlands as a replacement for the demand for buffalo to maintain the equilibrium in the wild.

Longhorn cattle have been around since the late 1400s, when Spanish colonizers introduced them. The Texas Longhorn is the product of an unintentional cross-breeding of runaway Criollo cattle and English Longhorns, colonial American settlers’ cows breed. 

Longhorn cattle, male or female

The Texas Longhorn is a cattle breed notable for its distinctive horns. Can there, however, be female longhorns?

The answer to this question is pretty straightforward. Texas longhorn cattle can be both male and female. 

Female longhorn vs. male

If the Texas longhorn cattle can be male and female, are there any differences between them?

If you are a novice in the longhorn world, it may be difficult for you to spot any difference between a male and a female longhorn. Nonetheless, the two traits that you can look for to understand the difference are the size of the horns and overall weight.

Longhorn BullLonghorn Cow
HornsNormally straight, turning slightly near the end
Can reach 46 inches at maturity
Come in a wider range of sizes and shapes
Horns reach 40 inches at maturity
Weight1400 to 2200 pounds600 to 1400 pounds
Female longhorn vs. male

Texas longhorn cattle physical characteristics

Image Credit: A Texas longhorn sitting on a grassland from Pxhere

Texas longhorns are so different from other cattle that one can easily recognize them just by looking at them. In other words, they have unique physical characteristics.

Longhorns are tough and durable. They are medium-sized with rounded trunk profiles, decent length, and medium fat. Their total size is usually determined by the natural surroundings they live in. Longhorns that live on the pasture are often larger than those in the desert. They also have long and nice legs with thick hooves.

However, the most striking physical characteristic that one can notice in longhorns is their long and thick horns. 

Texas longhorn cattle size

Texas longhorn cattle are special because they are sturdy and are used as both dairy and beef cattle. 

That said, Texas longhorn cattle tend to be 48-60 inches or 1.2-1.5 m long, on average. As far as their height is concerned, on average, they can be 70-80 inches or 1.8-2 m tall. 

In this regard, as we mentioned before, these cattle’s body size is mostly determined by their ecological surroundings. The breeds that live on the ranch, for example, have a greater physique than those that live in arid areas.

Texas longhorn cattle colors

Image Credit: A brown color Texas longhorn grazing by Hollingsworth John and Karen from Pixino

Longhorns from Texas are recognized for their extremely varied colors. However, no two Texas longhorns are alike in hue.

Texas longhorn cows and bulls are quite distinctive when it comes to color. Their skin colors come in a variety of shades, ranging variedly in grayscale. However, Brown, black, scarlet, white, yellow, and orange are the commonest colors found in Texas longhorns.

In this context, it may surprise you to know that longhorn claves tend to change their coat color as they grow. In fact, they generally turn out to be completely contradictory to what they were born as (in terms of color). So, you cannot confirm the coat color of these cattle by seeing them in their early years. 

Texas longhorn cattle weight

As we stated, Texas longhorn cattle are special, and they can be used as either dairy or beef cattle. That being said, their weight tends to vary depending on their sex and age.

Longhorns weigh between 56 and 61 pounds when they are born. However, their body weight fluctuates as they mature. The weight of an adult bull ranges from 1400 to 2200 pounds, whereas the weight of a cow is from 600 to 1400 pounds. Steers typically weigh between 1400 and 2500 pounds.

Texas longhorn cattle height

You have probably seen longhorns in images, if not in reality. They tend to have a stout physique and are reminiscence of Old West. 

That said, a Texas Longhorn cow stands 4 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder on average.

Do female Texas Longhorns have horns?

So, longhorn horns are very famous. In fact, these horns are sold at a higher rate as indoor showpieces in markets.

That being said, both longhorn cows and bulls possess long and beautiful horns. Their horns usually grow 50% in their first year as a calf and the remaining 50% with maturity.

It should be noted here that the horns in longhorns can be removed vis careful cross-breeding schemes. 

Texas longhorn cattle horn length

Image Credit: The State of Texas raises longhorn cattle at Abilene State Historical Park from Rawpixel

Texas longhorn cattle look highly distinguished due to their horn curved horns. So, it will be a miss if we do not mention their most distinguishing feature- the horns.

The Texas Longhorn breed has gorgeous horns that set them apart from other cattle. When they are roughly three weeks old, their horns begin growing. The average horn length is 55-65 inches. It’s not surprising, however, to encounter tip-to-tip lengths of up to 70-80 inches. Furthermore, some steers can have horns as long as 120 inches.

Bulls and cows, however, have different horn growth rates. That said, by the time bulls are a year old, their horns have grown to about half of their eventual tip-to-tip length. On the other hand, cows have half-sized horns by the time they are 15 months old.

Texas longhorn personality

It could be a common question: How are Texas longhorns in terms of personality? They look tough and pretty domineering. So, can the same be stated for their temperament?

Texas longhorns are usually peaceful. However, they generally attack with their horns if provoked, which can be pretty nasty. Nonetheless, longhorns are often taken as one of the easiest breeds to handle and manage. These cattle will react favorably to positive treatment but will react negatively in the case of harshness.

Also, these cattle are highly intelligent and possess a good memory, which makes them easy to be managed.

Nonetheless, longhorns can use their horns to manipulate things, so take caution around them to avoid any unintentional contact with the horns. Also, ensure not to let dogs near them, especially if there is a newborn calf, as the mother can defend and show aggressiveness. 

Texas longhorn fertility

Cattle are most often bred for their ability to reproduce. Birthing ease and low calf mortality rates are counted amongst the highest preferred traits among cattle.

Texas longhorns are considered one of the most fertile breeds of cattle. Longhorns can produce calves in their late teens and even twenties- a trait that can hardly be seen in other cattle breeds. They also reach puberty sooner than other cattle.

Their ability to survive in harsh climates and low forage provides them the capacity to calve quickly and easily. 

Texas longhorn cattle advantages

So, why are longhorns so popular? What makes them highly demanded among the cow producers apart from their unique horns?

Here are some of the advantages worth knowing about:

  • Easy to handle
  • They have minimal health issues
  • Very seldom calving problems among the dams
  • They can thrive in both hot and cold climates
  • These cattle are sturdy
  • Easy to handle 
  • They produce a very lean beef
  • The market for horns and skulls is very expensive

Hence, Texas longhorn cattle have more than one advantage. They are more than just milk and meat producers. And these advantages make this breed fairly popular across the US and Canada. 

Texas longhorn cattle use

Texas Longhorn cattle are a hardy and robust type of cattle. They are easy to use and highly versatile. 

Meat and milk production are two of the key reasons for breeding longhorns. That said, Longhorn beef is amongst some of the healthiest meat you can get in the market- low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and carbs. Texas Longhorns are also preferred for their numerous good features, including hybrid vigor and easy birthing ability.

How to raise Texas longhorn cattle?

Longhorns are tough animals known for their high productivity, ease of calving, lifespan, and ability to adapt and thrive on even the most coarse grazing material found.

The following steps can prove helpful in raising Texas longhorns.

  • Selecting the stock:

Choose Texas Longhorn bulls with compact, well-muscled bodies. Selecting a bull with a large physical frame can be beneficial. However, excessively large bulls whose weight cannot be carried by the heifer during breeding should be avoided.

On the other hand, cows can be selected for traits that indicate that they will deliver and care for their calves while remaining healthy.

  • Farm infrastructure:

Texas longhorn cattle are strong, making it essential to arrange for the essential farm infrastructure. But, first, you’d need to put up high-quality perimeter fences. Wire mesh fences, post-and-rail fences, and electrified fences are all good fence options. 

Water streams, ponds, or water tanks can be used in providing access to sufficient water in each pasture part can also be done.

  • Cattle feed:

Make sure to give your cattle a sufficient amount of grasses, plants, and weeds. You should note that Texas longhorns consume more forage than other breeds. As a result, select pastures that require less fertilizer and weed control.

Providing adequate grass on pastures from spring through autumn should be ensured. Additionally, you can offer quality hay during the winter months when grazing gets minimized. Also, offering salt and mineral licks can help your cattle acquire the minerals they might be missing out on from grazing.

How many Texas longhorn cattle are there?

Image Credit: Texas longhorn cattle by Linzmeier1 from Pixabay

It is interesting to note that the decrease of the buffalo population post-Civil War resulted in the genesis and proliferation of Texas longhorns in Texas.

Despite this, as per a 2009 report, there were over 330,000 longhorns in the United States. Approximately half of them live in Texas, which has become a common sight on meadows beside highways. 

For about 200 years, this breed fell gradually, eventually becoming extinct in the 1950s and 1960s. Thankfully, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust rescued it in 1980, allowing it to make a remarkable comeback.

Although the present worldwide population of these cattle is unknown, steps have been taken to reestablish this population.

Summary

So, you see, Texas Longhorn cattle are amazing! They are tough, sturdy, intelligent as well as docile. This breed can easily be domesticated. You would need to learn about their basic traits, and you are good to go.

Read the above list and do some additional research to go in-depth and gain more knowledge about Texas longhorn cattle before getting one for yourself.

Atrayee

I am Atrayee, I have extreme passion for the Animal Kingdom and I have written a large number of articles for animal behaviors. I am an Animal Lover by nature and own two Cats.
Exploring new things through learning and unlearning is something that intrigues me a lot. I spend my free time with my husband and two cats. I must say I get to learn a lot of wise things from them! You can catch me on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/atrayee-samaddar-06886567/

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