In the northeastern part of Scotland lie the four counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Kincardine, and Angus. These counties touch the North Sea and all extend inland and have some high or mountainous country. They have been favored through the ages with a temperate climate and good crops, although the topography of the country is rough. Pastures do well in the area because of well-distributedrainfall. Plenty of grass, plus a nearly ideal temperature for cattle production, has made the area very suitable for some of the greatest improvement that has been made in our purebred breeds of cattle. The county of Angus was early noted for its production of potatoes, grain crops, and feed. This shire contains a fine expanse of highly cultivated land known as Strathmore, which is one of the veryfine valleys in that part of Scotland and which has become famous in the history of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. The county of Aberdeen is the most productive agricultural region in Scotland and depends largely upon crops and livestock for income. The fishing industry, however, is stressed along the coastline. The tiny counties of Banff and Kincardine have long been known as livestock centers.
Northern Scotland, although in a more northern latitude than the United States, has a more uniform temperature throughout the year. The Gulf Steam tempers the climate in the winter, and the summers remain cooler than weather commonly experienced in the United States.
There are three distinct and well-defined breeds of polled cattle in the United Kingdom. These breeds are theAberdeen-Angus, the Galloway, and the red polled Norfolk and Suffolk breed that is found in England. Polled cattle apparently existed in Scotland before recorded history because the likeness of such cattle is found in prehistoric carvings of Aberdeen and Angus. Historians state that there were hornless cattle in Siberia centuries earlier. A hornless race of cattle was depicted in Egypt by sculptors andpainters of that ancient civilization. Some historians feel that the Aberdeen-Angus breed and the other Scottish breeds sprang from the aboriginal cattle of the country and that the breeds as we find them today are indigenous to the districts in which they are still found.
Early Scottish Cattle. Although little is known about the early origin of the cattle that later became known as theAberdeen-Angus breed, it is thought that the improvement of the original stock found in the area began in the last half of the 18th century. The cattle found in northern Scotland were not of uniform color, and many of the cattle of the early days had varied color markings or broken color patterns. Many of the cattle were polled, but some few had horns. The characteristics we commonly call polled was oftenreferred to in the old Scottish writings by the terms of "humble," "doddies," "humlies," or "homyl."
Foundation of the Breed
Two strains were used in the formation of what later became known s the Aberdeen-Angus breed of cattle. In the county of Angus, cattle had existed for some time that were known as Angus doddies. MacDonald and Sinclair quote the Rev. James Playfair as having written in1797, "There are 1129 horned cattle of all ages and sexes in the parish. I have no other name to them; but many of them are dodded, wanting horns." This seems to be the first authentic reference to polled cattle in the county of Angus, apart from ancient sculptures. In the area of Aberdeenshire, other polled cattle were found and were called Buchan "humlies," Buchan being the principalagricultural district in Aberdeenshire. These cattle were apparently early valued as work oxen, as were most of the other strains of cattle that later acquired various breed names. MacDonald and Sinclair believed that polled cattle were found in Aberdeen in the 16th century, and stated: 2
The presence of polled cattle in Aberdeenshire 400 years ago is proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and it may...