Angus (Bovine Cattle)
The Aberdeen Angus breed (or Angus as it is known internationally) was developed in the early part of the 19th Century from the polled and predominantly black cattle of North east Scotland known locally as "doddies" and "hummlies".
As with other breeds of cattle and sheep in Britain, establishment followed improvements in husbandry and transport. The earliest families trace back to the middle of the eighteenth century but it was much later that the Herd Book (1862) and the Society (1879) were founded.
The early history of the breed is the history of its breeders, progressive lairds and farmers, of whom three were outstanding.
Hugh Watson became tenant of Keillor in Angus in 1808. He gathered stock widely and produced cattle of outstanding quality and character. Hugh Watson could be considered the founder of the breed, and was instrumental in selecting the best black, polled animals for his herd.
His favorite bull was Old Jock, who was born 1842 and sired by Grey-Breasted Jock. Old Jock was given the number "1" in the Scotch Herd Book when it was founded. Another of Watson's notable animals was a cow: Old Granny who was born in 1824 and said to have lived to be 35 years old and produced 29 calves. A vast majority of Angus cattle alive today can trace their pedigrees back to these two animals.
William McCombie came of a family of graziers and in early life was dealing in large numbers of cattle. He took the farm of Tillyfour in Aberdeenshire in 1824 and founded a herd of Keillor blood. His well documented close breeding produced outstanding cattle that he showed in England and France to establish the reputation of the breed.
Sir George Macpherson-Grant returned to his inherited estate at Ballindalloch, on the River Spey, from Oxford in 1861 and took up the refining of our breed that was to be his life's work for almost 50 years. Both McCombie and Macpherson-Grant became Members of Parliament.