Cattle Breeds and Cattle History From 1864
Cattle Breeds and Cattle History From 1864 is sourced from materials first published in 1864 and
now available in the public domain.
It is quite certain that the ox has been domesticated and in
the service of man from a very remote period. We are informed in the fourth chapter of Genesis, that cattle were
kept by the early descendants of Adam; Jubal, the son of Lamech, who was probably born during the lifetime of Adam,
being styled the father of such as have cattle. The ox having been preserved by Noah from the flood of waters, the
original breed of our present cattle must have been in the neighborhood of Mount Ararat. From thence, dispersing
over the face of the globe, altering by climate, by food, and by cultivation, originated the various breeds of
That the value of the ox tribe has been in all ages and climates highly appreciated, we
have ample evidence. The natives of Egypt, India, and Hindostan, seem alike to have placed the cow amongst their
deities; and, judging by her usefulness to all classes, no animal could perhaps have been selected whose value to
mankind is greater. The traditions, indeed, of every Celtic nation enroll the cow among the earliest productions,
and represent it as a kind of divinity.
In nearly all parts of the earth cattle are employed for their labor, for their milk,
and for food. In southern Africa they are as much the associates of the Caffre as the horse is of the Arab. They
share his toils, and assist him in tending his herds. They are even trained to battle, in which they become fierce
and courageous. In central Africa the proudest ebony beauties are to be seen upon the backs of cattle. In all ages
they have drawn the plough. In Spain they still trample out the corn; in India they raise the water from the
deepest wells to irrigate the thirsty soil of Bengal. When Cæsar invaded Britain they constituted the chief riches
of its inhabitants; and they still form no inconsiderable item in the estimate of that country's riches.
The parent race of the ox is said to have been much larger than any of the present
varieties. The Urus, in his wild state at least, was an enormous and fierce animal, and ancient legends have thrown
around him an air of mystery. In almost every part of the continent of Europe and in every district of England,
skulls, evidently belonging to cattle, have been found, far exceeding in bulk any now known.
As the various breeds of cattle among us in America were introduced into this country from Great Britain, we
propose, before going into the details of the leading American breeds, to glance somewhat briefly at the history of
the British Ox.