Origin of Breed
The Corriente breed can be traced back to the first cattle brought to the “New World” by the Spanish as early as 1493. These hardy cattle breeds were chosen to withstand crossing the ocean and to quickly adapt to their new land. First, they brought to the West Indies and south Florida, as well as Central and South America. Throughout history, the descendants of these cattle were bred for different purposes such as milk, meat and draft animals. This breed adapted through natural selection to the various regions in which they lived. Eventually, their descendants spread across the southern U.S. and up the coast of California.
Names for the breed differ. The official breed registry in the United States calls them Corriente cattle, which is the most common term in Northern Mexico. In other parts of Mexico, they are called Criollo or Chinampo cattle. All these terms mean "common cattle" or "cattle of the country."
Corriente cattle are narrow in conformation when compared to other beef breeds. Their head, neck, forequarters and hindquarters are typically well balanced. Corriente horns they come out straight and curve to the front and up a little, they are set fairly wide apart. This breed can be any color besides solid white, while the majority of this breed is black. They have a dense coat, with hair in their ears and a heavy tail switch.
Mature bulls weigh around 1,000 lb. while mature cows weigh around 800 lb. Yearling bulls or steers weigh approximately 400 lb.
This breed is frequently used in roping and bulldogging competitions, rodeos and is judged on their stamina, strength and qualities of their performance.
Corrientes are small, trim cattle, with sufficient bone and strength for easy action and endurance. They have a remarkably gentle disposition, not to be confused with Mexican fighting bulls. These sport cattle are easily tamed to work in rodeos and other roping competitions, as well as the pasture. In the production aspect, Corriente are easy keeping and possess durability and longevity. These hardy cattle can outlast tropical conditions and severe heat. They have the ability to finish on low-grade forages and can graze noxious weeds. Corriente are very fertile, with a conception rate of over 95%. Calving problems are virtually non-existent. Due to little or no stress during birth, cows are able to breed back easily. They produce many calves during their long lifetimes, which is up to 20 years. Weaning is likely to be less stressful and involve less sickness than with the heavier, less hardy beef breeds. Corriente meat is lean and low in fat, making it very marketable to consumers.
Development in America
Corriente Cattle were brought to the Americas as early as 15th Century. Today, they are used mainly for beef production and for sport animals in rodeos, team roping and bulldogging. There is evidence of a worldwide growing interest in preserving various strains of these hardy, native cattle. Cattle associations in Spain, Cuba, Mexico and South America are making efforts similar to the North American Corriente Association’s to recognize their attributes, though few actually support registries.
Registry and Improvement Programs
The North American Corriente Association is headquartered in Monument, CO. They provide registrations, computes, transfers, and member information.