Native Angus® - the blueprint of the breed
The Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society in Scotland has produced a herd book every year since 1862, recording the parentage of every Angus animal born that year, thus producing a record of Angus since the beginning of the breed.
These were the unique animals that populated the world, from the frozen North of Canada to the jungles of South America in the late 19th century.
The phenotype of the Angus was radically altered in the 1970s with the introduction of North American Angus, which had been infused with other breeds of cattle in response to changing economics that favoured larger framed cattle suited to grain finishing and feedlot production.
In the early 1990s Mr Bob Anderson, long time Secretary of the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society in Scotland and the leading authority on Angus bloodlines, recognised that the Native Angus were on the brink of extinction. In 1967 there were 98 different Native cow families, but by 1995 there were only 9 families with no imported bloodlines left in existence. There were fewer than 150 Native Angus® breeding females remaining.
The RBST recognised this by placing the Native Angus® on their Critical Watchlist (fewer than 150 registered breeding females) - one category before extinction.
Bob compiled a list of the few remaining cows and enlisted the help of Geordie and Julia Soutar to locate genuine Native Angus® animals and to maintain and increase their numbers.
It took over 10 years of diligent searching to acquire all 9 remaining cow families and begin the process of halting the decline. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust worked with Geordie and Julia in their mission to secure the future of Native Angus® cattle and released old semen from their archives for use with Native Angus® cattle.
The original Angus are now recognised by the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) in the UK as the "Native Angus”, and the difference from the modern Angus is marked by an annotation of “Native Bred” being on the animal’s pedigree and by inclusion in the specially allocated section in the more modern Angus herd books. They are now (2017-2018 RBST Watchlist) on the Endangered Watchlist (150 to 250 registered breeding females).
Only the efforts of the Rare Breed Survival Trust, the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society and Geordie and Julia Soutar of Dunlouise Farm in Angus, Scotland have saved the Native Angus® from likely extinction.