Breed characteristics

Beef Shorthorn Cattle colours are red, white or roan. Black markings are considered undesirable. Below are some of the build and characteristics that you should be looking/looking out for.

 

Males

 ©Catherine MacGregor

©Catherine MacGregor

  • A strong masculine head with broad muzzle, with teeth making good contact with the palate and showing no signs of undershot or overshot jaw
  • A strong neck and broad shoulders with clean brisket
  • A good body depth and spring of rib with underside running parallel to long, firm topline
  • The rump should be long, wide and square on top, with a slight slope from hooks to pins
  • From the plates, a wide, firm fleshed first thigh following down through a deep, well rounded second thigh to a well filled deep flank
  • Double muscling is undesirable
  • The testicles should be of uniform size and consistency, suspended equally and not twisted
  • The circumference of the testicles should be at least: 32 cm for bulls under 18 months, 34 cm for bulls 18-24 months, and 35 cm for bulls over 24 months
  • The size of the testicles is directly related to the fertility of the bull
  • A loose, pendulous sheath is undesirable
  • The legs should show a degree of angle at the hock and pasterns, but should not be too straight or too sickled
  • Feet should have a good depth of heel and, when walking, the rear legs should follow straight behind the forelegs
 

Females

 ©Catherine MacGregor

©Catherine MacGregor

  • The head should be feminine with bright, clear and alert eyes and a wide muzzle, with teeth making contact with the palate, and showing no signs of undershot or overshot jaw
  • The neck should blend neatly into the shoulders with a good width to the chest, and a neat, clean brisket flowing into a level underline with no extended gut
  • A deep body with a good spring of rib is desirable to give plenty of rumen capacity
  • The top line from the shoulders to the hook bones should be long and straight, with a slight slope from the hook bones to the pin bones - and plenty of width between the pin bones to provide ease of calving
  • From the plates, a natural width of firm fleshed first thigh following down through a deep second thigh to a level flank, with good udder attachment and medium-sized, square teat placement
  • Double muscling is undesirable
  • The legs should show a degree of angle at the hock and at the pastern, but should not be too straight or too sickled
  • Feet should have good depth of heel and, when walking, the rear legs should follow straight behind the forelegs