Facts About Angus Cows

By Maureen Malone

In the United States, Angus cows are one of the most popular breeds for meat production. Purebred and hybrid Angus account for more than 60 percent of commercial cattle. During the 2014 fiscal year, 298,369 head of Angus cattle were registered with the American Angus Association.

Angus Cattle Origins

Angus cattle originated in Scotland in the county of Aberdeen. In 1873, the first five Angus bulls were brought to America by George Grant. Between 1878 and 1883, ranchers imported more than 1,200 head of Angus cattle to the United States. Ranchers often prefer Angus cattle because they cause less damage to pasture and produce more meat on fewer acreage when compared to other breeds of beef cattle.

Breed Standards

Angus cattle are polled, meaning they do not have horns. Males typically weigh between 1,050 to 1,800 pounds and females typically weigh between 850 to 1,300 pounds. Angus are red or black in color though a small amount of white is allowed on the underline.

The Angus breed of cattle is known for its ease of keeping. They are quiet, good-natured and calm. Females are generally fertile, give birth without complications and are good milk producers.

Red vs. Black Angus

Beginning in 1917, the American Aberdeen-Angus Breeders’ Association only accepted black Angus cattle, banning red cattle from the registry. The gene that gives the cattle a black coat is dominant, while the gene for the red coat is recessive, making red a less common color. Although the breeds share the same physical characteristics other than color, red and black Angus are now considered separate breeds.

The Red Angus Association of America was established in 1954. They also support red Angus hybrid cattle that are crossed with another type of purebred cattle.

Certified Angus Beef

Certified Angus beef meets stringent requirements and is certified by USDA graders to receive the label. Beef must be from an animal which is more than 51 percent black coated, has less than 1 inch of fat and less than a 2-inch neck hump. Meat has a modest amount of medium to fine textured marbling with little or no capillary rupturing. The ribeye area must be 10 to 16 square inches.