Climates in Texas can be tough. Consequently, we don’t allow no sissy-cows ‘round here.
The first cattle were brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1493 according to some sources, but others say the Spanish Conquistadores brought the first cattle in 1521. Whatever the date, and however they arrived, these cattle became the ancestors of the Longhorn cattle. The Longhorn cattle was only one of several tough breed found in Texas early on, arriving first in the late 17th century. Fortunately, Longhorn cattle were rugged and could adapt to the harsh Texas climate. Unfortunately, they were also too lean to be much good for the cattle market.
In the mid 1800’s U.S. cattlemen imported the British Shorthorn, Hereford, and Angus and by the late 1800’s and early 1900’s some of this influence had reached Texas. These cattle were more beefy and earlier maturing but lacked the adaptability of the Longhorn to the climate of South Texas and its resistance to disease and internal and external parasites. However, the first crosses of these breeds survived and some adaptation was slowly acquired. These breeds and their crosses became so popular that by the 1930’s the Texas Longhorn was in danger of extinction.
How does all this apply to the Santa Gertrudis? Stay with me…
These ‘beefy’ breeds were great from a production standpoint, but not from a survival standpoint. They really weren’t suited to the Texas climate. In the mid-1800s, a new breed was introduced in Texas. This cow from India became known as the ‘Brahman’, and it was very hardy from a survival standpoint, but not so much in beef or milk production.
SO, as we tend to do in Texas, some experienced cattle ranchers on the King ranch decided to create a new Texas breed that would take the hardiness of the Brahman and the beefiness of the Shorthorn, and combine them into one sleek and beautiful dynamo of production and hardiness — and the Santa Gertrudis breed was born — an optimum blend of 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Shorthorn.
For more information, please see the history of the Santa Gertrudis breed at this link: