RED DEVON CATTLE
Devon cattle are recognized as one of the world's oldest domesticated breeds. Most authorities say they are likely descended from Bos longifrons, a smaller type of aboriginal cattle in Britain. Some suggest a relationship to the ancient aurochs, which survived in Europe until the early 17th century.
* References to "red cattle" - the likely forbears to today's Devons - are recorded as early as 1580. These arrived with the first European settlers in North America.
* The breed developed in southwestern England, largely in the counties of Devon and Somerset. It's a region with hills as high as 2000 feet and lower areas to the south suitable for year round grazing.
* Efforts to methodically improve the breed began in the 1700s. This continued throughout the next century, not only in Britain but in other areas of the world, notably Australia and New Zealand.
* By the late 1800s, the Devon was second in popularity in England, next to the Shorthorn. The number of registered animals approached 500,000 individuals at that time.
* Originally, the Devon was known as a dual-purpose breed. Today they're used primarily for beef production. Typical mature cows weigh in the vicinity of 1300 pounds; typical bulls more than 2000.
* They are solid red, though some white around the udder and scrotum area is allowed. They are blocky animals of medium height, with a wide muzzle, short legs, a deep rib cage and a strong heart girth.
* They're known for strong daily weight gain in grass-fed systems; strong grazing characteristics including their walking ability, exceptionally good beef, docile temperament, longevity, natural resistance to disease and the ability to tolerate climate extremes.