Miniature Herefords – the dawn of a new era.
The Miniature Herefords of today are the result of a concentrated effort of dedicated breeders over several decades to return to, and keep, an efficient type of Hereford. However, we need to go back over two hundred years for their origin.
In 1742, the Tomkins Family of Hereforshire, England set out to develop a breed of high yield beef cattle with the natural ability to efficiently make beef from grass. Other traits included an ability to survive and grow in all types of environments combined with an early maturity with high rates of production
The first breeding herds of Herefords were introduced into Canada in 1831 and into the United States in 1840. Those original Herefords were much smaller in stature than the modern Hereford of today, ranging from 45 to 50 inches in height. These early Hereford Breeders set high standards for their breeding programs; depth of body, uniformly fleshed, fertile, easy keepers, excellent feed conversion, docile, motherly and good milkers. Because of their dedication, more than 50% of Canada’s beef cow population carries the Hereford breeding, identified by their distinctive white face. "Anxiety 4th”, imported from England in 1882 because he was the “thickest hindquartered Hereford bull in England”, became the most influential sire in the foundation of North American Herefords. All Miniature Herefords are descendants of Anxiety 4th.
In the mid 1960’s a Texas rancher noted that purchasers of his farm gate beef showed a preference for the smaller cuts of beef. So, as his neighbours were selecting their Herefords for larger animals, he started breeding for smaller Herefords. By coming down in size and improving type, Miniature Hereford breeders have developed an extremely efficient beef animal. Today’s Miniature Herefords were developed from the top Hereford bloodlines and are registered with the Canadian or the American Hereford Association and consequently do not carry the Achondroplasia (dwarfism) gene. A Saskatchewan breeder introduced Miniature Herefords into Canada in 1992 and they were introduced into Alberta in 1994.
These important genetic traits remain primary and carry over to today’s Miniature Hereford. This strong genetic base has been firmly established over the past several decades. As a result, the Miniature Hereford offspring are very predictable as to type and conformation.