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Over 225 years ago in Durham County in North East England, the Shorthorn breed had its founding. A Mr. Colling selected a bull at a sale and mated him with his brother’s newly acquired expensive cow named “Duchess”. The progeny were the basis of a new breed with many desirable traits: larger frames, powerful and docile, superior mothering qualities and produced above average quantities of milk. As the breed matured there in the Valley of the Tees, the reputation of the cattle spread and Scotland became the destination for many of these animals. It is said that Scotland’s chief exports became Scotch Whiskey, Clydesdales and Shorthorns.


The first Shorthorn came to Canada in 1831 from New York State, At that time, Shorthorns in North America were registered in the Coates Herd Book which was the  British registry for purebred beef cattle. The Canadian Herdbook for Shorthorns was established and published in 1867. In order to qualify for entry in the Canadian Herd Book, an animal had to have four generations of documented Shorthorn ancestry, the same qualifications as the Coates Herd Book.


The first Shorthorn Association in Canada was established in 1886 and was called the Dominion Shorthorn Breeders Association. After a few changes in name and scope, the current Canadian Shorthorn Association was established in 1950 and continues today.

From 1977 to 2004, Lincoln Red cattle were registered in the Canadian Shorthorn Association herd books. After 2004 Lincoln Red cattle were only registered in their own registry. Progeny of a Lincoln Red parent registered in the Canadian Shorthorn Association’s herd books prior to 2004 are eligible to be registered in the Canadian Shorthorn Association herd books when all necessary registration requirements are met.


Milking Shorthorns (also called Dual Purpose/Milking Shorthorns) were registered in the Canadian Shorthorn Association herd books until 2000 and displayed a ‘D’ in their registration number. In 2000 a separate registry within the Canadian Shorthorn Association registry was created for the Milking Shorthorn animals. Effective 2009 all Milking Shorthorn animals registered in the Canadian Shorthorn Association herd books between 2000 and 2009 were removed and moved to the Canadian Milking Shorthorn Society herdbook.

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