Longhorns were first imported to the US by Spanish explorers in 1494. These nature-developed cattle have with stood the test of time due to their hard hooves and lethal horns. Up until the mid 1800's Longhorns multiplied on their own and survived because of their strong fertility and disease resistance. By the late 1880's an estimated 10 million Longhorns traveled out of Texas. Longhorn survived by eating off the land and quickly adapting to the desert heat and snowy winters.
Late in the nineteenth century longhorns nearly disappeared. One of those factors were cattle from Asia and Europe being bred to longhorns because of their excellent growth and vitality. The pure longhorn blood was almost eliminated due to this "breeding-up". Another factor was the ability to make other products such as candles and soaps from the extremely lean longhorn meat.
Longhorns started making a come back in the 1930's because open range was being fenced by a few serious cattlemen. Around this time the "Seven Families" or bloodlines surfaced. The seven families are Butler, Wichita Refuge, Peeler, Wright, Phillips, Yates and Marks. Many of the longhorns today are a mixture of the seven pure families. Pure Longhorns characteristics include fertility, calving ease, disease resistance, utilization, climate adaptability, and the ability to care for themselves.
Longhorns are known for their long life span. Occasionally one may produce past 30 years but typically living past 20 years. Longhorns are also known for their calving ease with narrow heads and shoulders. The low stress birth assists in the quick re-breeding making more profits for the owners. Along with calving ease longhorns are also easy to raise. Longhorns need little supervision. They are very self sufficient, gentle and intelligent animals. Which brings pleasure and pride to ALL Longhorn owners!
Thanks to the ITLA for this information.