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English Longhorn cattle (also formerly known as Lancashire cattle[1]) are a long-horned brown and white breed of beef cattle originating from Craven, in the north of England. The breed was initially used as a draught animal, which its body is well suited for; the milk was also collected for butter and cheese because of its high butterfat content. An individual farmer would have owned one or two cows; these would have been accompanied by a bull owned by the Lord of the Manor.[2] The notable long, curved horns that serve to distinguish this breed from others can make an individual appear aggressive, although by temperament they are usually friendly. Longhorns live surprisingly longer than other breeds of cattle and are also known for calving with ease. They have a white patch along the line of their spine and under their bellies.

English Longhorn Cattle
English Longhorn cow and calf
English Longhorn cow and calf
Country of originEngland
DistributionUK, Ireland, Germany and New Zealand
UseBeef, formerly draught and dairy
  • Male:
    1000 kg
  • Female:
    500–600 kg
  • Male:
    150 cm
  • Female:
    130–140 cm
CoatRed, brown or grey and white; often blotched in areas.
Horn statusLong, cream horns that curve around the face.
A Longhorn bull

They are not to be confused with the Texas Longhorn breed, which is also often called "Longhorn cattle" or "Longhorns".

Though long-horned oxen were already predominant in Craven in the 16th and 17th centuries, the English Longhorn breed was much improved for beef by Robert Bakewell of Dishley, Loughborough, when large amounts of meat were needed to feed people who had moved to towns and cities in the Industrial Revolution.[2] His selective breeding made the "Dishley Longhorn" very popular towards the end of the 18th century. The breed is still to be found in Leicestershire at the Stanley's Springbarrow Farm, at Thoresby Estate in Nottinghamshire and a small herd has been re-introduced at Calke Abbey, in Derbyshire, where the Harpur-Crewe family had traditionally kept them.

In popular culture, two English Longhorns can be seen in Mel Gibson's 1995 medieval epic Braveheart in which they tow a cart carrying the wounded father of a young William Wallace after an initial retaliatory skirmish with English forces. [3]


Difference from Texas LonghornsEdit

English Longhorns have curved horns that tend to grow down around the face, framing it, whereas Texas Longhorns' horns usually grow up and out, away from the face. Texas Longhorn cattle can be any colour a cow can be other than blue-roan, while English Longhorns are only brown and white.



  1. ^ Martin, William Charles L., (1852) Cattle: their history and various breeds, London
  2. ^ a b "English Longhorn". Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  3. ^ Hendry, Steve. "'So there I was with Mel Gibson, two longhorns and a bunch of Braveheart Highlanders'". Scottish Daily Record. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2018.

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