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South Devon -cow and calf- England

South Devon
(most common name)
(transboundary/brand name)

(historical breed name):
• Hammer
• South Hams

The South Devon originated in the counties of Devon and Cornwall and has been recorded as a distinct breed since the 1700s.

It is believed that light-red curly-coated large cattle evolved from crosses between the Alderney from the Channel Islands and the native red cattle (which became the Devon) in southwest England. South Devons have always been noted for their size, which was greater than either of the proposed parent types. Also noted was the richness of their milk, but a fairly loose udder and large teats later limited its suitability as a dairy cow in mechanized milking parlors. Eventually, the South Devon became classified as a specialist beef breed in 1972.

The South Devon:
• is larger than other red British cattle breeds
• has a paler red color
• exhibits muscular hypertrophy in some strains
• possesses the gene for hemoglobin B (found in some zebu breeds; zebu crosses were recorded in southwest England at the end of the 1700s)

1872 - South Devon breed society established
1891 - South Devon Herd Book Society founded

Countries the South Devon has been exported to include:
• Australia (breed society)
• Canada (breed society)
• Ireland
• New Zealand (breed society)
• Spain (1950s and 60s)
• South Africa (breed society)
• South America (breed societies)
• USA (1969 and 1974; North American South Devon Association formed; polled and black animals are also available)

This page was last updated on: 2023-05-20

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