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  • Writer's pictureJ. A. Thomas

Mini Longhorn VS Standard and why mini are the best. ;)

Updated: Jan 13

OK, maybe that is subjective but hopefully it made you read on in the blog. We are going to look into miniature Texas longhorns and what makes them one as compared to a standard longhorn.

Minature Texas longhorns in a sunset

Brief history of the Miniature Texas longhorn is that they are pure longhorns as opposed to others that crossbred animals down to get smaller cattle. True Miniature Texas longhorns were first started in the early 1990's by John Fore. He began selectively breeding the smallest longhorns he could find to get smaller animals. Over time, and with line breeding, him as well as others were able to get smaller animals. This selective breeding is the same process that has now produced 100 inch horns as well as one ton bulls. We could ask 'Why would you?' to any of these and really the answer gets back to. because we like it and we can. Now there are breeders from coast to coast of miniature Texas longhorns and they come in a wide variety of colors and bloodlines. I have focused on animals that have comparatively longer horns for my program while trying to breed down the size. I currently have multiple cows 45 and under with horns that are wider than they are tall. I also brought in a bull whose mother had over 90 inch horns.

Below we have a couple of pictures showing good comparisons of miniatures to standard longhorns.

Photo credit Vertically Challenged Cattle Company.

Photo credit Lazy JP ranch, 17yr old Hass at 1700+lb and 5yr old Sassy at 700lbs.

Photo Althea Sullivan 14 mo bulls, Standard and SS Lil Shot of Whiskey a miniature

So what makes a mini. The official TLBAA handbook states that for a cow to be a miniature they have to measure under 45 inches at the hook bones at maturity. This can be confusing and I purchased an animal that was purportedly under 45 inches. When I got the animal it was not only over but was actually a standard animal and not sure where the previous owner measured to. Online you can find a variety of ways to measure and some of them seem intent on deceiving buyers. In my opinion if you ask on the street, people would not measure the hook bones but would measure to the tallest point on the animal. Therefore, this is where we should be measuring, across the back at the hips or hook bones. As opposed to standard longhorns do not have an official measurement and there is a wide variety of sizes. There are even those advertising they have and pushing for one ton bulls. I can't imagine the feed bill nor that such an animal would or could exist on their native soil, but there are breeders out there if you want a one ton animal for your place. The major beef breeds went to one ton bulls and came back down to a reasonable sized animal because they figured out that getting those animals to market ready was to costly.

However, if you want a longhorn from down in the 600 pound mature size they exist and if you want a one ton giant they also exist to each their own.

So to sum it up standard longhorns have no height or weight qualifications. Miniature Texas longhorn cows can only be 45 inches tall at maturity. Mini steers can be up to 50 inches currently. There is a movement to make 45 inches the standard for all genders at maturity and hopefully they clarify that the measurement is across the back at the hook bones.

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