The Texas Longhorn traces its roots to 1493 when Christopher Columbus brought Spanish cattle to Santa Domingo

It would take almost 200 years for the breed to find its way to Texas and a mission near the Sabine River. The early missions and ranches would not survive all the elements. But the Texas longhorn would. The longhorns grew and flourished.  Millions ranged between the mesquite-dotted sandy banks of the Rio Bravo to the sand beds of the Sabine. Longhorns, groomed by Mother Nature, were the ideal breed of the time.  They could go incredible distances without water, forage on minimum pasture, swim rivers and survive hte desert sun and winter snow.
Between 1866 and 1895, 10 million head were trailed to northern markets. By the turn of the century, the fencing of open ranges and the importation of other beef breeds led to near extinction of the amazing Texas Longhorns.

In 1927, the Federal government moved to preserve the Texas Longhorn. The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was established in Oklahoma and another herd was established on the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge at Valentine, Nebraska. The State of Texas also formed its own herd.

By 1964, there were about 1,500 head of genuine Texas Longhorn cattle in existence, a third in the Federal refuges, the State of Texas herd, zoos, parks and other private herds. Today, there are more than 250,000 registered head of Texas Longhorn cattle. They are representative of the strong, independent and resilient sprit of the land they have inhabited for 600 years.


Listen to NPR Story:

"Longhorns Are Prized By The Inch"