Where did Polled Herehords come from?

Shortly after the war the British Polled Hereford Society was formed... the creation of the Polled Hereford using Galloway as the cross is a well documented fact.


Breeding Polled Herefords

By E. B. Walker Secretary, British Polled Hereford Society, Limited

Shortly after the war a number of Hereford breeders who foresaw a growing demand for hornless cattle and realised that, although dehorning was a comparatively simple, procedure, the eventual demand would be for polled cattle, made inquiries into the possibilities of breeding Polled Hereford cattle in this country and formed the British Polled Hereford Society.

The object of this Society is to produce and breed Hereford cattle that are prepotently polled. After extensive research into the genetics of polled cattle it was decided that the object could best be achieved by using a black Galloway bull and mating the progeny of subsequent generations with pedigree Herefords. The Galloway bull was selected, as we considered that of the polled beef breeds available the Galloway was nearest to the Hereford in constitution and hardiness, also in its grazing qualities. A selection panel was accordingly, set up by the Society and attended the Galloway Sales at Castle­ Douglas in February, 1950. With the help of one or two Galloway breeders we pur­chased “Ambassador of Knocknarling” a bull which was second in his class and subsequently proved to be a very consistent getter.  He was by “Sannox of Craigmuie” and out of Jenny Excelsior of Blair” and was bred by Mr James Black of Knocknarling.  Between thirty and forty pedigree Hereford cows were put to him and produced a lot of very good calves. All of them were black, all were polled, and all had white faces. One bull in particular, “Wetmore Ambassador” was outstanding. Bred by Mrs Calvert of Wetmore, Craven Arms, he made a great impression on everyone who saw him. This bull was used extensively on a further selection of pedigree Hereford females to produce the second generation of calves. Besides this bull there were also a number of heifers by “Ambassador of Knocknarling” out of pedigree Hereford cows, and these were put to pedigree Hereford bulls to produce second generation calves.  In this second generation, taking into account ill the possible combinations of the polled factor, sex, colouration (red or black), and with or without typical Hereford markings, the chances of getting a bull that was polled, red and with typical Hereford markings were 15‑1 against.  The calves when they came were remarkably close to the genetical forecast, and some of the bulls and heifers that were correctly marked, and of sufficiently high quality, have been retained and are now being used with pedigree Herefords to produce the third generation.  Selected animals from this generation will again be mated with pedigree horned Here­fords, and this procedure will continue until we reach the stage when polled bulls can be mated with polled females and the resulting progeny can be tested with horned cattle for the purity and prepotency of the polled factor. These cattle will then be the founda­tion animals of the British Polled Herefords, the only outside blood will be from one Galloway bull, which will be four or five generations away, so that the blood of these polled cattle will be approximately 94% Hereford and 6% Galloway.  For the first two or three generations, and until the Hereford colour and markings were regained, a stage which constituted seinewhat of a bottleneck, it was essential to maintain very close control over the breeding policy and selection of cattle used, and to facilitate this it was decided to keep the numbers comparatively low.  This stage, has new been passed and a certain amount of expansion is taking place as the number of polled cattle increases. As the polled factor and the necessary quality of conformation will, from now on be the basis of selection, the wastage in succeeding generations will be considerably reduced and the numbers available to carry on will continue to increase.