When you visit our estate you will see our longhorn cattle grazing the Parkland. Shugborough has a long history with this majestic breed of cow and we are proud to show off our healthy herd.
Robert Bakewell, a man who was a revolutionary in the field of interbreeding became devoted to one aim - improving livestock to provide meat for the masses of people who went to work in towns in the Industrial Revolution. He took horned heifers and crossed them with a Westmoreland bull to create the Dishley Longhorn, now called the English Longhorn. Through this new and careful selection of cattle he improved the size and quality of this breed, which became widely produced throughout England and Ireland, until it was surpassed by the Shorthorn in the 1800's.
The breed declined rapidly for nearly 200 years and was becoming rare by the 1950's and 60's. Thankfully, it was rescued by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 1980, and the interest in extensively lean grass fed cattle, and has made a dramatic comeback.
Despite their horns, they have an incredibly docile nature. They are excellent mothers and tend to have no trouble calving independently. The longhorn has good longevity and they are able to keep breeding past usual cattle age. They also have a thriftiness and hardiness that, together with their level lactation, means they do not put themselves through any undue stress.
Shugborough estate has a long history with longhorn cattle. They had a sufficient beef and dairy herd in the 1800’s, with around 30 dairy cows which provided butter, cream, milk and cheese for the estate. They created good beef stocks by cross-breeding Leicester Longhorn and the Staffordshire Longhorn. We mob-graze our cattle, meaning they are frequently moved from field to field. So don't be worried if they are not in the same place as your last visit! This makes sure they are pasture-fed, and encouraged healthy grass growth.