Miniature Texas Longhorn facts for kids
Miniature Texas Longhorns are purebred, registered Texas Longhorns that have been "downsized" by selectively breeding the smallest Texas Longhorns together over time.
Many Miniature Texas Longhorns are currently registered simply as "Texas Longhorns" within the standard registry, since the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America (TLBAA) only added a separate designation for miniature Texas Longhorns in May, 2010, and breeders that wish to have their animals designated as Miniature Texas Longhorns must complete a reclassification application.
Miniature Texas Longhorns are a relativity recent breed, but like other miniature cattle their popularity is on the rise due to their compatibility with small acreage and hobby farms.
Ancestral cattle brought by Christopher Columbus in 1493 to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and additional cattle in subsequent expeditions formed the genetic base of the Texas Longhorn. Turned loose on the open range, and mostly feral for the next two centuries, they evolved the "hardy" characteristics, wide-swept horns and range of colors that they are known for.
In 1990 John Fore of Foresite Miniature Longhorns started downsizing purebred, registered Texas Longhorns by selectively breeding the smallest Texas Longhorns he could find. In 2010 TLBAA dedicated a separate registry for Miniature Texas Longhorns, and the next year The Miniature Texas Longhorn Breeders Group was formed to help promote the breed, educate the public, and bring breeders together from across the country.
The standards for Miniature Texas Longhorns are very similar as the guidelines for the main trache. Their general conformation is a good length with moderate depth and thickness. The tops of the hips should be higher than the tops of the shoulders. They often have squarely set legs with sound feet and joints that have strength, but also allow free movement. Bulls should be slightly thicker and heavier than cows showing masculinity. Texas Longhorns have a mild, tractable disposition, not showing aggressiveness or nervousness. According to the TLBAA, mature Miniature Texas Longhorns must have horns (measured tip-to-tip) of at least 50% their hip height with > 100% their hip height considered to be desirable. Miniature Texas Longhorns are not considered to be mature until they are 5 years of age.
According to the International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society of Registry (who do not recognize Miniature Texas Longhorns) miniature cattle should not exceed the height of 42 inches measured at the hip, or hook bone. Cattle between the sizes of 42 to 48 inches should be considered mid-sized miniatures. However, since Texas Longhorns are a large breed in general and the miniatures are still a new concept, it is believed that the height limits should reflect that. Miniature Texas Longhorns should stay under the height of 45 inches when measured at the hook bone (hip). Their horns should be longitudinal with a forward and upward sweep and the total horn measurement should be longer than the height of the animal.
Miniature cattle, including Miniature Texas Longhorn, are primarily kept as pets, or used as entertainment animals. "Full-sized" Texas Longhorn cattle are a source of lean beef, which is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories, but less tender than most beef. The miniature version could potentially be used for beef production, with lower feed demands, but higher processing costs. Currently, however, they have not been bred for meat production.
Miniature Texas Longhorn Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.