Native Scottish Angus History

"Natives" is the name given to those Angus that carry only the original unique Scottish Aberdeen-Angus genetics

Juanista Erica 1912
Jovie Erica of Bywell

The polled cattle of North Eastern Scotland were first recorded on sculptured stones in the early Christian era.   During the great social, industrial and farming changes in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries Agrarian and Industrial Revolution's demand for food grew with the increase in population. The cattle breeders of Scotland appreciated their native polled cattle known in Angus as doddies and in Aberdeen as Buchan hummlies, also butchers and consumers throughout Britain became increasingly aware of their premium beef. 

Producers turned more and more to the Aberdeen and Angus cattle because they thrived under all conditions and then could be finished quickly to a premium product.

With the recognition of benefits from understanding the animals background breeding, or pedigree, in 1862 the first Herd Book was published.   Many Aberdeen-Angus breeders over the years have contributed to the breed,  and in the Herd Book volumes from 1862 to 1969,  an average over 4440 Aberdeen-Angus were being registered per year.

By the late 1960s notions of breeding began to change the way an animals performance was assessed. 

Sensibly weight gain figures were being recorded, but too soon were being used as the only criterion for selection, then came the EPDs  EBVs ...  all being used without making objective judgement of how, or at what expense, the gain was being achieved or the long term consequences.  It has all too often been at the expense of quality, fertility, conformation, soundness, longevity and other qualities so valued in the Angus breed or indeed many British Native breeds.  

While the Angus brand had never been more popular, the Scottish Native Angus so valued for its premium beef was nearly lost.  By 1990 only two Native animals, a male and a female from the Champagne Herd in Cheshire, are registered on the Aberdeen Angus data base for that year and the Native population was less than 50.  It was "a minute to 12" for the preservation of the Scottish Natives as Geordie and Julia Soutar of Forfar, Angus, Scotland, searched to find representatives from the remaining old families and established the Dunlouise herd to conserve the remaining pure genetics.

"By the 1990s I decided to concentrate on pure bred registered Angus cattle, but they had changed appreciably since my youth. I set out to work with only the original genetics and tried to build a herd with no imported bloodlines and create the type of cattle which rightly made the Aberdeen Angus name famous around the world. These unique cattle were famed for their superior meat quality and their ability to adapt and thrive in a huge diversity of conditions. "   Geordie Soutar

Visiting the Soutar's Dunlouise Herd can be a reminder to all breeders of the true Angus characteristics, the impressive herd reflects all the conformation and constitutional strength of the breed that was used to build the Angus industry,  world wide.