The Aberdeen-Angus breed was developed in the early part of the 19th century from the polled and predominantly black cattle of north east Scotland, known locally as “doddies” and “hummlies”.
The earliest families trace back to the middle of the eighteenth century but it was much later that the Herd Book (1862) and the Society (1879) were founded. The breed’s establishment was entirely due to the efforts of three very progressive lairds and farmers of that time.
Hugh Watson became tenant of Keillor Farm in Angus in 1808. He gathered stock widely and produced cattle of outstanding quality and character.
William McCombie took the farm of Tillyfour in Aberdeenshire in 1824 and founded a herd from predominantly Keillor bloodlines. His well-documented close breeding produced outstanding cattle that he showed widely in England and France. The reputation of the Aberdeen-Angus breed was founded on the efforts of the McCombie family.
Sir George Macpherson-Grant returned to his inherited estate at Ballindalloch, on the River Spey, from Oxford in 1861 and took up the refining of the breed that was to be his life’s work for almost 50 years.
By line breeding and selection for type, these early pioneers established the foundation for what is unarguably the greatest beef breed in the world.
In those early days Britain was regarded as the fount of Aberdeen-Angus genetics and leading world breeders went there to source stock. The export market has continued to favour the Aberdeen-Angus breed and now breeders look worldwide to source the very best genetics.
Today, the Society has cemented its position as the world’s finest beef breed with worldwide recognition producing premium quality beef. The Society has built a strong relationship with supermarkets including Waitrose and Marks & Spencer as well as restaurants, farm shops and butchers, building the demand from consumers to a level where the beef can command a higher selling price.
HRH Prince Charles, patron of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society
Following in the footsteps of his grandmother the Queen Mother, HRH Prince Charles is the patron of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society. The Prince of Wales has a successful Aberdeen-Angus herd at Highgrove and takes an active interest in the Castle of Mey herd in Caithness which is now run by The Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust.