The extremely sturdy, hard breed known as Highland Cattle are little known but very valuable cattle! Despite a rather fierce appearance, they have a sweet disposition and are useful as beef and milch cattle! Highland Cattle, in general, are docile and easily managed. They are highly intelligent and adapt very well to halter training.
Because of centuries of difficult habitats, Highland Cattle can thrive on very little feed or on grazing that other cows would generally pass over! On these dregs, they will fatten very well and can clear grazing land efficiently and quickly.
They can handle extreme cold but also do well in reasonably warm climates. Highland Cattle are easygoing and not susceptible to stress related disease and are naturally pest repellent, reducing the incidence of eye diseases! A small breed, Highland bulls stand at about 125 to 130 centimeters at the shoulder, and cows stand about 110 to 120 centimeters.
Bulls weigh 500 to 600 kilograms at their prime, and cows weigh 400 to 450 kilograms! Generally red to golden red in color, but occasionally dun, yellow, black, white, or black and white spotted Highland Cattle are available!
They have very long, shaggy hair and look wild. Their heads are broad and short, topped with long, outward and upward curving horns! Highland Cattle have a delicate bone structure and short legs. They are almost pest resistant because insects cannot penetrate their long coat! This reduces their incidences of pink eye and eye cancer due to the protective hair covering their eyes!
The meat of Highland Cattle is lean due to the hair insulation; there is no need for these cattle to grow back fat. The meat is marbled and is of very high quality with a nice flavor. Highland Cattle have existed virtually unchanged in the Scottish Highlands for over 200 years! They probably originated from the small, tough cattle living in Scotland’s highlands and the outlying islands.
Because of the bad conditions they have survived in for centuries, Highland Cattle are extremely hardy today! There is some dispute as to whether or not they are the same breed as the smaller, black coated Kyloe Cattle. The first herd book was established in 1884, and around this time Highland Cattle found their way to the United States and straight to the hearts of many farmers there.
They were crossbred to American beef cattle, imparting their incredible vigor. Today, Highland Cattle are found globally, from the Americas to Europe and Africa! They are valued for their choice, top quality meat and for their use as suckler cattle and cross breeders! Highland Cattle are great for use as wet nurse or suckler cattle.
They are robust and hardy and thrive under almost any type of management system. Highland Cattle rarely if ever suffer from stress related illnesses or from pink eye or cancer eye. Highland Cattle reach sexual maturity relatively late but are good milk producers, often suckling the calves of other breeds. They are highly valued as crossbreeders who impart vigorous qualities to their offspring.