British White Cattle

The British White is a breed of cattle with a confirmed history during the 1600s but may have originated before that. Its exact origin is unknown but herds of the British White were found in Britain and Ireland dating back centuries.

Original herds were kept in the Park of Whalley Abbey in the Forest of Bowland near Clitheroe. During the 1800s most of the cattle were transported to Norfolk and sold in small lots, mainly to nobility. In the early 1900s, only around 130 registered British White cattle were alive, mainly in eastern England.

However, by the late 1900s the population grew to 1,500 registered cattle in the United Kingdom and about 2,500 in the United States. Other areas also had herds of the British White, including Australia, when in 1958, Mrs. A Horden first imported the British White to the country.

Different breed societies have been formed for the British White. In Britain it is the British White Cattle Society, Australia is the British White Cattle Society of Australia and in North America it is represented by two organizations. The British White Cattle Association of America and the American British White Park Association.

The British White’s hair is short and white with dark ears, feet, eyelids, nose and the udder on the cow. These dark points are usually black but sometimes can be red in about two percent of the breed. Sometimes it may have colored spots on the coat and the skin is usually grey, reddish or pink. The breed is naturally polled (hornless) and medium-sized. The cow calves easily and is a good milk producer.

It is a hardy breed that will graze on rough vegetation, trees and shrubs. The British White is a dual-purpose animal, used for beef and milk. The beef animals are raised in grass pastures.

Sometimes the bull is used to breed with other dairy cattle for beef production but the offspring is also suitable for dairy products.

Image Caption: British White Cattle. Credit: Bwtranch/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)