Historical Shorthorn CAttle

Preface & Introduction



Glen Knolls Monarch

Glen Knolls Monarch

The Heritage Shorthorn Society is honored to have Dr. Bert Moore establish and author the new “Historic Shorthorns” section of HSS.   

This new section will highlight important bulls (and cows) in the Shorthorn breed during the last 120+ years.  It will be divided into time intervals and will include pedigrees, pictures, and information.  This “Historic Shorthorns” section will be gradually expanded over the next year or so as installments are available from Dr. Moore.  It will be a great resource for those interested in the history of the Shorthorn breed.  (The HSS "Classic Bulls 1950-1985" page is under different authorship.)

Dr. Moore was a Professor of Animal Science at North Dakota State University for 40 years and he developed the NDSU Shorthorn herd.  (The original North Dakota Agricultural College Shorthorn herd was founded in 1896 and it was one of the longest continuous lines of Shorthorns bred in the U.S.  In 1996 the herd was honored as a "Builder of the Breed." Unfortunately it was dispersed in 2017.)  

Dr. Moore retired in 2009 and he subsequently became the Executive Secretary of the American Shorthorn Association for several years before leaving that position in 2013.  He is well known nationally and internationally for his expertise in cattle evaluation and for his interest in the history of cattle breeds.  Currently he is associated with the American Simmental Association, does consulting on cattle, and along with his wife Millie, has a Heritage Shorthorn herd in Indianola, Iowa.  He was one of the first members of Heritage Shorthorn Society.  


Introduction by Bert Moore

The Shorthorn breed has a very long and colorful history with documentation of organized breeding and improvement efforts dating back over 200 years. This pre-dates the recorded history of nearly all established cattle breeds. Throughout these more than two centuries all of agriculture has undergone dramatic changes and with it the use of technology and the understanding of basic biology, inheritance, and measures & opinions of excellence.  A sire’s contribution to influencing the next generation of animal populations has always been dramatic with the ability to produce multiple numbers of progeny. 

Certain Shorthorn bulls have established themselves as having “historic significance.”  Most recorded accounts which measure the significance & popularity of bulls have been through show ring winnings, as well as through sales of progeny. Thus, these bulls are recognized from their records of achievement from times before many objective measurements were used in evaluation (other than just weights).

1911 Handwritten Tabular Registration Certificate

1911 Handwritten Tabular Registration Certificate

The pedigrees in the succeeding pages are presented in bracket form which gives more information than the original tabular pedigrees (see example at right) which traced generations from the female line of descent. Tabular pedigrees were the method for presenting Shorthorn ancestral information until the 1940s, which explains the popularity of using cow family names in the naming of Shorthorn females.

On the extended pedigrees the registration numbers surrounded by parentheses (123456) are from the Coates Herdbook (Great Britain). Those with equal signs =123456= are Dominion Herdbook (Canadian) registration numbers. American Herdbook registration numbers have nothing surrounding them, 1234567.  Some animals will have more than one number reflecting the “travels” they may have made.  

In the early editions of the Herd Books cows were not given registration numbers. They were simply entered in a separate section from bulls with the volume & page number of the Herd Book.  For example, (v69 p212E) means she was located on page 212 of volume 69 of the English (Coates) Herdbook. It was not until volume 70 of the American Herd Book published in 1909 that cows were given an actual registration number. Even then cows were registered in separate sections from bulls as they had been previously until 1916 when cows and bulls were registered together with sequential numbers regardless of sex. The Coates Herd Book eventually made the same changes.