Sunday, March 14, 2010

Classification of Cattle

 Various classifications of cattle have been made, some based upon geographical distribution, as lowland and mountain cattle, others upon their anatomy, especially the shape of the skull, and others as to their domestic use. Today American writers arrange them according to the economic value as beef breeds, dairy breeds, and dual-purpose cattle.
 No system of classification has yet been devised that can be applied in more than a general way to the individuals that make up the great mass of cattle. If we undertake to arrange them by breeds, we find, in addition to the numerous pure breeds, animals With all possible mixtures of the blood of two or more breeds, or with more or less improved blood mixed with the scrub, or unimproved. If we should attempt to arrange them according to the purpose for which they are adapted or kept, we would have a constant gradation from the extreme beef to the extreme dairy development.
It is difficult even to arrange a suitable classification of the pure breeds, since the animals may vary greatly within a breed on account of environment and treatment. The following descriptive terms are in common use:
 Scrub.  A scrub is an animal of mixed or unknown breeding, without the type or markings of any recognized breed. Other terms used with practically the same meaning are native, mongrel, or unimproved, as well as other names of a local character, such as "piney woods." These terms indicate that the animal has only a small amount of the blood of any of the improved breeds. Typical scrubs are not numerous except in those sections where very little attention is given to cattle raising. The term "scrub" is often applied also to inferior animals of recognized breed type.
Cross-bred is a term used to indicate that the animal is the off-spring of parents of distinct breeds, either high grades or pure-bred.
 Grade.  This term is generally used with a certain breed name, as Grade Jersey or Grade Shorthorn. This means that the animal in question has one-half or, usually, more of the blood of the breed mentioned. When the proportion of the pure blood is large, the animal is called a "high grade." The proportion of the blood predominating may be so great that for all practical purposes the animal is the same as a pure-bred; but it cannot be called a pure-bred, no matter how many crosses have been made, and such animals cannot be registered in any of the various herd books.
 Pure-bred.  The term "thoroughbred" is often improperly used for the proper term, "pure-bred." The term thoroughbred is properly applied only to the well-known English breed of horses. Pure-bred cattle, as understood in America, are those whose ancestors came from the native home of the breed in question and conformed to the requirements of this breed here. This blood must have been kept pure and unmixed, and records must be available showing the descent from these ancestors. The records of descent of these animals are kept in a systematic manner by associations formed for the purpose by those interested.
The breeds of cattle common in America are usually classified as dairy, dual-purpose, and beef.

Shorthorn, Red Polls, Polled Durham, Devon
Holstein, Ayrshire, Jersey, Guernsey, Brown Swiss
Shorthorn, Hereford, Aberdeen Angus, Galloway

 In addition to the above, small numbers of French-Canadian, Dutch Belted, Kerry, and polled Jersey cattle, all to be classed as dairy breeds, are found in certain localities of America.


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