Mauldin Classic Herefords
Raising the right size for better efficiency and profit for small farms
History of Miniature Herefords
The Hereford breed was founded 1756 in Herefordshire, England. It came about in response to additional demand for beef created by Britain’s Industrial Revolution. The interest in the new breed was because of the hardiness, efficiency, feed conversion, early maturity, disposition and foraging ability of the Hereford cattle.
In 1817, the Hereford breed were brought to the U.S. and the first true Hereford herd was established in 1840. Charles Gudgell and Thomas A. Simpson of Missouri made a big impact to the US Hereford breed with the importation of Anxiety 4, a bull credited as being the “father of American Herefords.” The present day Miniature Herefords are descended from Anxiety IV.
The American Hereford Cattle Breeders Association was founded by a few of the early breeders in 1881. It was later renamed to the American Hereford Association (AHA). Today’s Miniature Herefords are registered in the same association as the full-sized Herefords. The association had two objectives. First to keep the breed’s records and secondly, to promote the interests of the breeders in the association.
Breeders continued breeding for a small, highly efficient beef animal through the 1960’s. At one point about 70% of the registered cattle in America were Herefords. However, the 1960's beef producers started looking for larger and larger animals. Herefords became bigger and leggier and also fell out of favor as the industry moved toward other larger breeds. With the trend being “bigger is better”, one breeder in west Texas went against the trend of larger, taller, less efficient cattle.
According to Point of Rocks Ranch, it started at the Denver Stock Show in 1970 when the judge in that show placed a class mainly by the height of the animals. Point of Rocks Ranch started breeding to get the size back to the original size or smaller that could be successful on less acreage and require less forage but still produce premium beef.
A breeding program was initiated to develop the Miniature Hereford, starting with certified dwarf-free Hereford bloodlines. A frame chart was created to define the different height requirements to be considered a Miniature Hereford.The goal was three-fold: fertility, conformation and a smaller-size cow with the genetics to wean a calf weighing at least 50 percent of her weight. The aim was to produce a cow that would raise and sell more beef per acre.
The Miniature Hereford breed was continually improved by the Largent family over three decades by selective breeding with the genetics that were originally imported from England. The Largent family initially concentrated on breeding smaller, more efficient cattle suited for their ranch location.
The blood lines used in the development of the current Miniature Herefords were as follows:
These seven blood lines were all checked by the American Hereford Association to ensure they are free of dwarfism. These animals represented the top winning blood lines in America at the time. All of these blood lines can be traced directly back to Anxiety 4th. The genetics of the current Miniature Herefords can be traced back to the top winning blood lines representing the Hereford breed before the trend to increase the size and change in style of Hereford cattle starting in the early 1970′s.
Miniature Herefords are a smaller, more efficient version of today's full-sized Herefords. They are very similar to the Herefords of the 1960's, but some are a little smaller. The Miniature Hereford is smaller than the current Herefords, thick, deep bodied, short legged and muscular. They are early maturing, fertile, efficient feed converters, easy keepers and gentle in nature.
Miniature Herefords are hardy and adaptable to various environments including the extreme cold of Canada, the high humidity of the East, the heat of the South and the dry deserts of the Southwest. They are now found in more than 40 states, Canada, Denmark and Australia.
Imported from England
Considered the “Father of American Herefords.”
Miniature Hereford Breeders Association
(Click chart to enlarge)
Additional info on frame size scores for Beef Cattle
The last picture is from the movie “The Rare Breed”, a story about the first Hereford bull being brought to the US to breed with Texas Longhorns. The movie was released in 1966 and the premiere was in Fort Worth, Texas at the time of the Fort Worth Livestock show. The picture shows a very nice looking Hereford bull that was the typical size of the Herefords before the ranches started super-sizing them. The stars of the movie came to the Livestock show for several days to meet with some of the Hereford breeders showing their Herefords. Some of our friends were lucky enough to be in that group. This is the size of Herefords we want to be raising now. Some breeders are trying to breed them smaller and smaller and we will not be doing that. We will not try to see how small we can breed them. We are looking for functional and efficient.