Two students attended MacDonald College, McGill University in the 1960’s, from Budapest, bringing dozens of Hungarian Yellow fertile eggs for research. The remaining chicks were retained by Dr. Roy Crawford of University of Saskatchewan , and these are their descendants. In Hungary, the Hungarian Yellow’s were cross-bred without keeping any purebred stock & Roy unknowingly had the only ones left. www.heritagelivestock.net
Standard Black Cochin
These fabulous birds are Standard Black Cochin. Cochin were brought from China to North America and Europe from the 1840's onwards.
Originally Cochin came in the varying colours of black, white, partridge, buff and black - more have been added since their beginnings.. They are a large chicken, often used for exhibition. The hens can be good layers - and do sit well, which means Cochin can be used to hatch eggs from other breeds.
Standard Black Cochin are quite scarce in Canada. We would appreciate hearing from those who have them.
Developed in 1947 in Lacombe Alberta, with crosses of Berkshire sows to boars of Danish Landrace and Chester White ancestry.
The Lacombe was unveiled to pork producers in 1957. They quickly grew to be a popular breed. 1,743 were registered in 1981, of which 648 were boars and 1,095 were females.
At this time we are trying to re-establish some small herds across the Country. With less than 7 adult breeding females they are in danger of becoming extinct!
The Lacombe is a white, medium-sized pig with a docile temperament. It has large, drooping ears, is long bodied and rather short of leg, and is quite meaty in conformation.
The breed has been specially selected and noted for its rapidity of gain and docility, especially the sows. Much attention has been paid to litter size, weaning weight, growth rate, the efficiency of feed conversion, carcass quality, and physical soundness.
Hampshire pigs were bred in Northern England and Scotland and have been in North America since the 1800's. Known for their distinctive colouring - black with a white belt, the pigs are also heavy muscled and lean.
Although their attributes make them a good choice as terminal sires in commercial operations and the longevity and productivity of the sows is ideal for purebred breeding programs - Hampshire are in serious need of assistance in Canada
In 2018 there were 3 new registrations of Hampshire and in 2019, zero. This makes the breed a high priority for HLC and assigns them a designation of "critical".
Tamworth made up 10% of the Canadian swine population until the 1950's, when modern production methods, which the breed is not suited to - meant a steady decline in their numbers. Registered, purebred, Tamworth are precariously close to becoming extinct in Canada - thankfully we have some dedicated breeders who are determined to see the breed survive. With a status of "critical" in this country, Tamworth are also internationally rare.
Tamworth originated in their "modern" form on the Drayton Manor Estate of Sir Robert Peel, situated in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The breed is considered to be one of the oldest in terms of swine.
A medium sized pig, Tamworth are ideally suited to less intensive farming methods and have been noted as being particularly effective foragers. An inquisitive pig in nature, the temperament of Tamworth is docile. Their winter hardiness is also a major attribute in our Canadian winters.
Photo's courtesy of Pam Heath
The exact breed development of Shropshire sheep is unknown, however by 1848, the breed became known as the Shropshire.
Imported into Canada in the 1860's from their native England, Shropshire were extremely popular. The sheep became appreciated for their hardiness, strong maternal instincts, good milk production, heavy fleece and the rams use as a terminal sire - to improve carcass quality. Unfortunately, the breed declined drastically in number during the 1950's - after breeders focused too heavily on specific traits and lost some of the original breed qualities.
Canada is fortunate to have maintained pockets of flocks where the traditional, true to type Shropshire can be found. Breeders have also imported semen from the UK to introduce genetic variation, whilst taking the Shropshire back to their roots.
Lincoln Longwool were established in 1796 and imported to Canada in the 1800's. They are a large British sheep breed - their fleece, described as heavy and lustrous is highly prized by spinners. A Lincoln Longwool fleece can weigh from 6.8-11kgs and have a staple length of 18-20cms. Aside from this attribute, Lincolns are considered to be generally hardy, have few lambing problems and be docile in temperament.
Currently there are fewer than 10 Lincoln Longwool breeders, registering stock in Canada - only one flock can be found outside Ontario.
Photo's courtesy of Stacy Corkum, Hidden Meadow Farm, NS: facebook.com/Hidden-Meadow-Farm-534873546531640/
Scottish Blackface are among the most hardy, adaptable sheep breeds. A common sight in their native Scotland, unfortunately their numbers are not the same in Canada. In 2019, a total of 8 sheep were registered
The breed has an ancient history, reference is made to Scottish Blackface in 12th century texts.
Corriedale are an interesting mix of Lincoln Longwool and Merino. Developed in New Zealand and Australia - the idea was to breed a sheep suitable for both meat and wool production.
Corriedale were imported into North America in 1914. The sheep are long lived, hardy and well balanced. The influence of the Merino and Lincoln translated into ewes that show few lambing difficulties. Their fleece is thick which spinners appreciate. Fleece from a mature ewe can weigh up to 7kg and up to 60% is able to be utilized.
As with many other fibre breeds, Corriedale suffered with the introduction of alternative fibres. However, with a trend back to natural products, it is hoped that the Corriedale will see a rise in popularity again.
Dorset Horned Sheep
History Of The Breed:
Centuries ago when Spain set out to conquer England, they brought Merino sheep with them for various reasons probably as food, wool and milk source. These sheep were integrated into southwest England where they were crossed with the Horned Sheep breed of Wales.
The result of this cross was a very valuable and desirable white sheep that had excellent meat, wool and milk. The breed quickly spread across Dorset, Devon, Somerset and most of Wales in the United Kingdom. The Dorset Horn Sheep Breeders' Association, was set up in 1891 and the first flock book was published in the following year.
It is believed Dorset Horns were first imported into Canada in 1860 by way of The Hudson Bay Co., and by the end of the 19th century it was one of the most popular breeds of sheep in Canada and the U.S
The Dorset Horn is a “medium" size sheep with short, heavy-boned legs, wide forehead and relatively wide muzzle, and a deep, well-muscled, long and blocky body. The horns are the most distinguishing and attractive physical characteristics of the Dorset Horn, both Horned Dorset rams and ewes are horned. They are also able to lamb all year around which is one of their most valuable attributes, a quality that is sought after in some commercial cross breeding programs. The ewes can lamb twice in a 12 month period, but most ewes lamb, an average of three times in two years. They have on average twins, and occasionally birth triplets …..but this is a result of the actual genetics and husbandry abilities of the shepherd. Horned Dorset ewes are easy lambers, careful, doting mothers, (often trying to steal other ewes lambs) and heavy milkers.They easily produce enough milk to support twins and triplets. Their milking ability was well recognized in their native England where they would often be found in dairies.
*LIFE: Long lived, extremely healthy, hardy, with good flocking instinct. Will defend themselves if challenged.
*HEAD: Broad, full and open at the nostril, well covered with wool from brow to poll, face white with pink nose and lips free from pigmentation.
*HORNS: Ewes’ horns are light, curving forward neatly; rams’ horns are heavy and spiral out as well as curving forward.
*EARS: Small / Medium sized, white and firm, well covered with hair.
*MOUTH: Even, well set jaw with flat chisel shaped teeth, meeting a wide pad with a firm bite.
*NECK: Short to medium length and round, well sprung from the shoulders, with no depression at collar, strong and muscular, especially in the Ram.
*CHEST: Well forward, full and deep.
*FORE FLANK: Full, with no depression behind the shoulders.
*SHOULDERS: Well laid and compact.
*BACK & LOINS: Broad, long and straight, with well sprung ribs.
*QUARTERS: Full, broad and deep with flesh extending to the hocks and well muscled thighs.
*TAIL: Well set up in a line with the back, wide, firm and fleshy.
*RIBS: Well sprung from the back and deep at the sides.
*LEGS & PASTERNS: Medium length, well placed at the four quarters and free moving, straight between the joints, with strong bone, well woolled to the knees and hocks with pasterns well set up and straight.
*WOOL: Fine “down” type wool, dense, springy, highly crimped and firm handling, free from kemp and colour, a medium white wool of hand spinning quality. Sheared once a year it yields a fleece of between 5 and 9 pounds.
*RAMS: Bold, masculine appearance, and may weigh up to 225–275 pounds when mature.
*EWES: Medium size , weigh 150–200 pounds and naturally prolific, so that depending on management, lamb crops may attain any figure from 130% - 170% or more.
Growth rates of up to 0.45 kg (1lb) per day are frequently recorded producing carcasses from 16 kg (34 – 36lb) dressed carcass weight at 10-16 weeks of age. Ewes have a bright appearance, skin colour is pink, while the face, legs and ears are white.
Canada recognizes four categories, for which Dorset Sheep can be reregistered into:
1)H- Horned, 2) NH- Naturally Horned, 3) S- Scured, 4) P- Polled.
*Status on the Endangered List “H”- Horned is the original Dorset Horn ( has “NO” Polled genes)
*Status Not Endangered “NH” - Naturally Horned is a Dorset, born with actual physical horns growing on it’s head but…. is carrying "Polled genetics.”
*Status Not Endangered “S”- Small horns growing, but not attached firmly to sheep’s Scull…….. is carrying “Polled genetics”
*Status Not Endangered “P”- Polled, born with “No” horns……..is carrying “Polled genetics”
LambTrax Registered Dorset Horn Sheep since 1988
Border Leicester were first bred by Robert Bakewell of Dishley, Leicester, UK in the 1700's. Initially called Dishley Leicester, with varying crosses to other breeds, two distinct lines of Leicester were bred - farmers found a strong preference with one line and in 1850 the name Border Leicester was adopted. The breed is classed as "endangered" in Canada
A Border Leicester ewe and her lamb.
Cotswold are descended from long wool sheep brought to the UK by the Romans. These sheep formed the basis of the Cotswold, Lincoln and Leicester breeds. Cotswold wool was so highly prized, their wool helped to build cathedrals and churches in England - inclusive of Gloucester Cathedral during the 15th century. Making Cotswold a part of the world's cultural heritage.
Cotswold were imported to Canada in the 19th century and were one of the most popular breeds of the time. During the 1920's, Merino became more favoured for wool and breeds such as the Suffolk and Dorset overtook Cotswold in terms of meat production. The overall population decreased in Canada and worldwide during a similar time period. Cotswold are designated as "endangered" in Canada and in the UK particular attention is being paid to their preservation, alongside other longwool breeds.
Cotswold are large, docile sheep. Ewes are good mothers and are ideally suited to pasture management. Due to the lustre of their wool, Cotswold are finding a new niche market among spinners.
Photo's courtesy of Pam Heath, Barry Hiltz, Ross Farm, NS and Edith Caviezel, ON.
Photo's courtesy of Pam Heath, Barry Hiltz,
Ross Farm, NS and Edith Caviezel, ON.
The white Park is a breed which traces its roots back to the western areas of the British Isles particularly Ireland and Wales, for around two thousand years. One family shows direct maternal descent from a cow that lived 10,000 years ago in the Middle East. The breed attracts attention because of its ancient heritage and distinctive colour. It is noted for its thrifty hardiness, being adapted to extensive management systems and conservation grazing. It is a specialist beef breed noted for the marbling and flavour of its meat. It was a loin of White Park beef that was dubbed “Sir Loin” in 1617, and it continues to command a premium in the gourmet market because of its high quality.
Kerry cattle have had a designation of "critical" with HLC for a number of years and this continues to be the case in 2020. Originally bred in the Southwest of Ireland, this ancient breed is also considered to be "Internationally Rare".
Kerry's are ideal in a pasture setting, productive well into their teens and average 5,000-7000lbs per lactation. The cows themselves mature to a weight of 350-400kgs.
As a result of their rarity, HLC would appreciate hearing from those who are interested in continuing the preservation of Kerry in Canada. Registering these animals is important, so that their valuable genetics are not lost.
Photo's courtesy of Pam Heath, Office Manager, Brian Payne & Larry Bruffee.
In Canada, there are 3 distinct Galloway registered with the Canadian Galloway Association. The traditional solid Galloway, Belted Galloway and White Galloway. Galloway came to Canada in the 1850's and have had a presence ever since. The association has the distinction of holding the longest running, closed Galloway herd book in the world.
Originally bred in Scotland, Galloway were black, red and dun. Belted Galloway were bred later - affectionately known as Belties. White Galloway are the "newest" edition to the breed.
They are especially suited to the Canadian climate, with a naturally thick, double hair coat, which repels wet and acts as a natural insulation. Galloway are naturally polled. The breed as a whole also thrives in a forage based setting.
Galloway pictures courtesy of HLC members, Glenfiddich Galloways, ON.
This handsome beast is a purebred, registered, Red Devon bull. In 2014 there were less than 10 Red Devon in Canada. Now thanks to dedicated breeders and in particular Opoma Farms, there are 300 Red Devon.
Red Devon are an ancient breed and have existed on the North American continent since the early 1600's. Known for their easy fleshing ability and growth rate, particularly on pasture - Red Devon make an sound alternative to more "mainstream" breeds.
Another Canadian cattle breed developed in the late 1950's - the Hays Converter. Senator Harry Hays bred Hereford, Holstein and Brown Swiss cattle together, over several generations to produce his ideal cow. One that is bred to have a high fleshing rate, plenty of milk and a sound udder. Cows range from 1250-150lbs and bulls 2300-2800lbs.
Hays Converter feature on HLC's Conservation List.
Photo Courtesy of HLC member, Cody Renz
Canadian Lynch Lineback
The Canadian Lynch Lineback A historic, Landrace Breed * Dual purpose breed therefore attention to both dairy and beef conformation is to be paid. *Body/Head/Legs - black * Muzzle/Eyes - dark including nose skin * Horns-polled or horned * Tail - white with bushy switch * Back - white line down back * Belly - white with leg garters * Hair - short and ﬁne * Head - broad forehead, sometimes with a white star. Linebacks vary in size from 800 - 1200 lbs. Linebacks are a dual-purpose breed and usually have well made and well attached dairy type udders. Milk production varies from cow to cow, depending on the pasture and the quality of the hay available. Most of the lactating females will accept calves that are not their and raise the calves as their own. The cows are attentive and vigorously defend their calves against predators. As a beef breed they ﬁnish well on good, grassy pasture alone producing a tasty, well-marbled carcass that is equal to many beef breeds without all the extra grain-ﬁnishing. Hanging weight for steeris approximately 2 1/2 years old is 500 - 600 lbs.
Milking Shorthorn Cattle Status: Critical
Milking Shorthorns are a versatile breed having many attributes for profit. These docile cows produce large volumes of nutritious milk with each of their lactations and are large enough to have high salvage value when their long productive lives finally end. Their healthy calves born at regular calving intervals are spunky at birth, grow rapidly and those not kept for breeding stock and herd replacement make efficient gains and hang very desirable grading carcasses. Other attributes of the breed include ease of calving, ease of management and economy of production, especially on home-produced roughages and grass. This breed is a triple-purpose breed—milk, meat and draught.
Guernsey Cattle Status: Vulnerable
First brought to North America in the 1830’s, this gentle breed was developed from two French breeds nearly 1000 years ago in the Channel Islands (between England and France). The Guernsey is one of three related dairy breeds, all known
for their creamy milk. The other two are the Jersey (safe numbers) and the now-extinct Alderney. They are known for their early maturity, ease of calving and efficiency in converting forage to milk, Golden Guernsey milk, which contains naturally high levels of Beta Carotene an A2 Protein. If you’re a fan of Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne, you may know his book When We Were Very Young. Look for the poem entitled The King’s Breakfast, and you will meet the Alderney Cow!
Lincoln Red are both domestically and internationally rare. There were only 8 registrations of Lincoln Red in Canada in 2019, meaning that the breed is now designated as "critical" with HLC. The Canadian population is important genetically - there has n't been the same influence from continental breeds as in other countries, where cross breeding has taken place.
Lincoln Red originated in the county of Lincolnshire, which is situated in the North East of England. Genetically there are suggestions that their history dates back to the time of the Vikings. In 1695, the quality of Lincolnshire cattle was mentioned in writings. It was n't until the 18th and 19th centuries that the breed became closer to the Lincoln Red that we know today. Cherry Red Durhams and York Shorthorns were bred together to become Lincolnshire Red Shorthorn. In subsequent years, as the emphasis was placed on naturally polled animals - Shorthorn was dropped from the breed name. For a period of time milking and dual purpose Lincoln Red were registered, but the last milking entry was made in 1965, in the UK, as the breed moved towards a strictly beef animal.
Lincoln Red are a distinctive deep cherry red colour. The breed has maintained high milk production, strong mothering instincts and an ability to be raised and convert well in pasture settings. Lincoln Red are long lived, strong footed and quiet in nature. In terms of cross breeding programs, when utilizing Lincoln Red sires - there are reports that breeding to continental sires is not always a successful cross - however the Lincoln Red has compared to Hereford in terms of growth rate in modern trials.
With thanks to Brian Harper, Circle H Farm, MB (whose ET calf using an imported embryo from Lincolnshire!) is pictured here and also John Ashby, Stonehedge Farm, ON.
Young Lincoln Red bull. Courtesy of Brian Harper
ET Lincoln Red heifer calf...born in 2020 at Circle H Farm, MB
Welsh Black Cattle
Welsh Black Cattle are predominately found in Alberta. With numbers of 500 or less purebred Welsh Black left in the country, we are beginning a study to find purebred, registered Welsh Black.
As registrations numbers have declined - resulting in a status of "critical" with HLC - the Welsh Black Cattle Society ceased to exist in Canada and now entries are made into the General Herd and Stud Book at CLRC.
Welsh Black offer outcross genetics to a commercial herd and maintain desirable carcass traits. They are also known for their longevity, docile nature, fertility and interestingly for their colour. Welsh Black do have a recessive gene which produces a red colour coat, these animals are permissible for registration. Unlike other breeds, these cows or bulls will then go on to breed true to their coat colour. Although once mainly horned, there are now more naturally polled Welsh Black available.