Origin of Breed
The Red Angus breed had its beginning in Europe, like most other beef breeds today. In the eighth-century Norsemen raiding the coasts of England and Scotland brought with them a small, dun-colored hornless cattle, which interbred with black native Celtic cattle of inland Scotland, which had upright horns. A naturally polled black breed was produced, which roughly corresponded the Black Angus of today, although it was a considerably smaller-bodied animal.
A breeder of Red Angus cattle, Eric L.C. Pentecost, explains a possible reason for the introduction of the red coloration into the Aberdeen Angus breed. In the eighteenth century, black polled Scottish cattle were crossed with English longhorns that were red in color for draft animals. The resultant offspring were all black polled animals, black being the dominant color and red a recessive one. However, all carried the red gene. Subsequently, the interbreeding produced an average of one red calf in four. The first Aberdeen Angus herdbook, published in 1862 in Scotland, entered both reds and blacks without distinction. This practice is still common for many Red and Black Angus breeders all over the world.
The Red Angus is similar in conformation to the Aberdeen Angus, medium in size with a beefy carcass. It is red in color and naturally polled, when crossed with another red coat color is passed on to their progeny. They are moderate to large framed and have soundness throughout their feet and legs.
They are resistant to harsh weather, undemanding, adaptable, and good-natured. They are early maturing and have a high carcass yield with nicely marbled meat. Red Angus are renowned as a carcass breed that are used widely in crossbreeding to improve carcass quality and milking ability. Red Angus females calve easily and have good calf rearing ability. They are also used as a genetic dehorner as the polled gene is passed on as a dominant characteristic.
Development in America
Aberdeen Angus was introduced into America in the 1870s. After their popular start, the American Aberdeen-Angus Breeders' Association was founded in Chicago, Illinois, on November 21, 1883, with 60 members. The growth of the Association has paralleled the success of the Angus breed in America. The first American herdbooks were published in 1886 and 1888. These books kept no record as to the color of individual animals. In 1890, twenty-two reds were registered in the American Aberdeen Angus Herdbook out of the 2,700 entered that year. Eventually, the reds and other colors were barred from Black Angus registration altogether after 1917. This discrimination against the red color in an effort to assure a pure black strain forced a decline in the number of red calves born in American herds. In 1945, various cattlemen throughout the United States started selecting and breeding reds cropped from the best black Aberdeen Angus herds in America. In 1954, seven visionary breeders gathered to establish the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA).
Registry and Improvement Programs
The Red Angus Association of America is headquartered in Denton, TX. The Association provides registrations, transfers, performance data, sales and member services, as well as a junior program, shows and scholarships.