Cattle Breeds 101: Angus

Angus Cow Breed TennesseeBy far the most recognized and popular breed in the United States today, the Angus breed traces its origins to Scotland, where improvements on the breed began during the 18th century. The first Angus cattle came to America in 1873 and landed in the middle of Kansas. Angus cattle gained early recognition for improving the native Longhorn cattle through crossbreeding and received skeptic attention for their polled trait. The breed took root in the States between 1878 and 1883 with large imports directly from Scotland (Source: Oklahoma State).

Today, the American Angus Association is the largest breed organization in the country with 320,362 new cattle registrations in 2015 FY (Source: AAA). Angus are known for their solid black hide color, high quality genetics, maternal instincts, milking capabilities and high fertility. The Angus breed has an advantage over others by offering a large database of genetic information, allowing for greater predictability of progeny performance in registered cattle (Source: AAA).

Great selection pressure has been placed on the Angus breed to produce superior carcass characteristics for quality and yield. This consistency of improved genetic merit, performance and carcass characteristics often translates to a higher perceived value at the time of market for black-hided commercial cattle expressing characteristics of the Angus breed (Source: University of Arkansas).

The Certified Angus Beef brand is well-known among consumers for its consistency and quality through tenderness and marbling. Carcasses must meet 10 Quality Specifications in the areas of Marbling and Maturity, Consistent sizing and Quality appearance and Tenderness to qualify for the CAB brand:

  1. Modest or higher marbling (taste)
  2. Medium or fine marbling texture (consistent flavor)
  3. “A” maturity (youngest classification for color, texture and tenderness)
  4. 10-16 sq inch ribeye area
  5. 1050 lb hot carcass weight or smaller
  6. Less than 1 inch fat thickness
  7. Superior muscling (restricts dairy influence)
  8. Practically free of capillary ruptures (visual appeal)
  9. No dark cutters (visual appeal)
  10. No neck hump exceeding 2 inches (avoid cattle with variability in tenderness)

Learn more about the characteristics of the Angus cattle breed from:

To learn more about other cattle breeds, visit the Cattle Breeds 101 page.

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