A medium sized but muscular beef breed. Colour red, roan, or white; polled.
Docile and easy to handle. Good maternal qualities. Early maturing. Good for cross-breeding and as a terminal sire. Eye pigmentation reduces the risk of eye cancer in hot climates.
Good fertility and early maturity. Easy calving with few problems, and very good mothering. Calf birth weight about 39 kg. The modern Shorthorn is being used for cross-breeding: eg. Beef Shorthorn cows mated with Continental sires, and Beef Shorthorn bulls mated with cows of various breeds.
The Shorthorn was selected for beef production from a dual-purpose animal, selecting the more muscular from their milking herds. The cows from the improved lines are taller but still retain their milking excellence to produce calves that grow well right up to weaning.
Growth & Carcass
The improved Shorthorn ranks among the leaner of the beef breeds. Calves grow particularly well pre-weaning, and produce a very good quality carcass. The meat is well marbled with good flavour.
Height & Weight
Mature bull: Average weight of old lines 800 kg (1760 lb). Blended and Australian bloodlines up to 1000 kg (2200 lb). Mature cow: Average weight of old lines 500 kg (1100 lb). Blended and Australian bloodlines up to 700 kg (1540 lb).