Miniature Texas Longhorn

Miniature Texas Longhorn

Miniature Texas Longhorns are a fairly new idea. They are purebred, registered Texas Longhorns that have been downsized by breeding the smallest Texas Longhorns together over time. Just like the "full-sized" Texas Longhorns, the miniature version comes in many different colors, coat patterns, and horn sizes and styles. While Miniature Texas Longhorns are very small, the goal is to retain the characteristics and proportions of the "full-sized." The TLBAA has recently (May 26, 2010) approved a registry change that adds a separate designation for miniature Texas Longhorns. Since this registry change is so new, most Miniature Texas Longhorns are currently registered as "Texas Longhorns" within the standard registry. Breeders that wish to have their animals designated as Miniature Texas Longhorns must complete a reclassification application with the TLBAA and meet the minimum breed standards set for miniatures. Miniature Texas Longhorns are a fairly new idea so only a handful of farms and ranches in the country raise them; however, they are growing in popularity as word spreads about these new pint-sized longhorns.

Contents

History

Texas Longhorns are living legends of the American West. They are one of the toughest breeds of cattle, and the only breed to be molded by nature without any human interference. The history of the Texas Longhorn is as old as the history of the New World dating back to 1493.[1] They are known for their characteristic horns and vast range of colors. Longhorns have been ranched for centuries for their lean meat, easy breeding, low maintenance qualities, and flashy style. At one point the Longhorn breed almost went extinct, but today, thanks to registries aimed to preserve the breed, Texas Longhorns flourish in both the meat and show industry.[1]

Miniature cattle started in the late 1960s when a Mexican rancher started breeding a small cattle breed called Zebu.[2] The original goal was to produce Miniature cattle for the rich to own as house pets. Later he began working with a veterinary researcher and the focus changed for the efficiency and high production of cattle and less land.[2] The idea took off from there! Hereford, Angus, Dexter and many other breeds of cows soon became downsized as the miniature cattle craze took over.

Miniature Texas Longhorns began as a dream for both John Fore of Foresite Miniature Longhorns and Bill Buck of the Indian Mountain Ranch. Just over 16 years ago they started downsizing purebred, registered Texas Longhorns by selectively breeding the smallest Texas Longhorns they could find.[3]

Standards

The standards for Miniature Texas Longhorns are very similar as the guidelines for the main trache. Their general conformation is a good length with moderate depth and thickness. The tops of the hips should be higher than the tops of the shoulders. They often have squarely set legs with sound feet and joints that have strength, but also allow free movement. Bulls should be slightly thicker and heavier than cows showing masculinity.[4] Texas Longhorns have a mild, tractable disposition, not showing aggressiveness or nervousness. According to the TLBAA, Mature Miniature Texas Longhorns must have horns (measured tip-to-tip) of at least 50% their hip height with > 100% their hip height considered to be desirable. Miniature Texas Longhorns are not considered to be mature until they are 5 years of age.

Height

According to the International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society of Registry (who do not recognize Miniature Texas Longhorns) miniature cattle should not exceed the height of 42 inches measured at the hip, or hook bone. Cattle between the sizes of 42 to 48 inches should be considered mid-sized miniatures.[5] However, since Texas Longhorns are a large breed in general and the miniatures are still a new concept, it is believed that the height limits should reflect that. Miniature Texas Longhorns should stay under the height of 45 inches when measured at the hook bone (hip). Their horns should be longitudinal with a forward and upward sweep and the total horn measurement should be longer than the height of the animal.

Purpose

Miniature cattle, including Miniature Texas Longhorn, are great for small-acreage farms and require less feed. "Full-sized" Texas Longhorn cattle are known for their lean beef, which is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than most beef. The miniature version could potentially be used for beef farms with smaller meat output. Currently, however, they are more of a novelty item, and so far have not been bred for meat production. However, due to their small size and hardiness, wildlife managers are showing a great deal of interest in this breed for the purpose of managing habitat for grassland birds. Most farmers and ranchers breed them as "pasture pets" or "yard adornments," as tiny replicas of the "full-sized" Texas Longhorns of the Old West. Longhorns are bred for the calm and friendly disposition, and the miniatures are no exception! They make great companions and even bulls can be friendly enough to be ridden or walked around by small children.

References

  1. ^ a b "History of the Texas Longhorn." Web site, accessed December 18, 2008
  2. ^ a b "Miniature Cattle: For Real, for Pets, for Production." Journal of Agricultural & Food Information. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Haworth Press. Web site, accessed December 18, 2008
  3. ^ "TLBAA." Web site, accessed February 17, 2011
  4. ^ " Web site, accessed February 17, 2011
  5. ^ The Beginners Guide. Starting your own miniature cattle business. Covington, WA: International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society. Web site, accessed December 18, 2008

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