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History of Purebred Cattle in Canada

Timeline:

Year Event
1825 Shorthorn cattle originated in England and first to appear in Canada
1853 Galloway cattle imported into Canada from Britain and are believed to be one of the oldest registered breeds in Canada
1859 Aberdeen Angus imported from eastern Scotland to Montreal, Canada in 1859 by Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson Bay Company
1860 Herefords imported to Canada from England by William F Stone
1905 Livestock Pedigree Act –filed and amended in 1988 to Animal Pedigree Act
1922 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair began in Toronto, Ontario
1956 Charolais breed originated in east-central France and imported to Canada from the United States
1968 Braunvieh imported to Canada from Switzerland
1968 Maine-Anjou breed imported to Canada from northwest France
1969 Limousin breed imported to Canada from France
1969 Simmental breed imported from Switzerland to Canada
1970 Blonde d’Aquitaine breed imported from southern France
1971 Canadian Western Agribition held its first show in Regina, Saskatchewan
1972 Gelbvieh bulls imported to Canada from Germany
1972 Salers cattle developed in south central France and imported to Canada
1974 Farmfair International was first held in Edmonton, Alberta
1975 Hays Converter breed developed by Senator Harry Hays, Canadian livestock producer
1986 Canadian Bull Congress established in Camrose, Alberta
1993 Speckle Park cattle were approved as a breed under the Animal Pedigree Act
1994 CBBC incorporated in April 1994
1998 Lowlines registered as a distinct breed in Canada

The majority of Canadian cattle breeds originated from Britain and continental Europe, each with their own unique attributes. The cattle have adapted to Canadian climate, management systems, beef grading system and consumer preferences. Under the Animal Pedigree Act of Canada, the breed associations are responsible for maintaining breed purity and pedigree accuracy.

The seedstock sector of the beef industry supplies the commercial sector with breeding stock, primarily herd sires and replacement females. Females are generally bred April through August, in order to calve between January and May. In seedstock herds, approximately 80% is through natural service, 18% is through Artificial Insemination and 2% through embryo transfer. Commercial herds would utilize a higher percentage of natural service. Replacement heifers are first serviced at approximately one year of age and produce their first calf at two years of age. Both bull and heifer calves are weaned at six to eight months of age and fed a combined forage and grain ration to the age 12 to 14 months of age. Crossbreeding is widely practiced in Canadian commercial herds capitalizing on genetic heterosis by capturing the strengths of both breeds.

Canada plays host to international buyers at its multiple livestock shows, including the Canadian Western Agribition, Farmfair International, Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Canadian Bull Congress.

Canadian Western Agribition welcomes visitors from around the world for Canada’s premier agricultural show and marketplace. CWA features livestock (beef, sheep, alpaca, equine) as well as rodeo, machinery and consumer education programs. The Beef Supreme show is the pinnacle of the beef show season with champions from across Canada from multiple breeds.

Each year Farmfair International sees thousands of guests come together to exhibit livestock and agriculture related products. With over 15 purebred beef breeds shown, equine competitions and clinics and exciting western entertainment, there is no better place to experience Canadian agriculture and western culture than Farmfair International.

The Canadian Bull Congress conducts their program to promote top quality bulls and the attributes that the variety of breeds has to offer. The two-day event allows purebred breeders, commercial cattlemen and agricultural related product and service exhibitors to exchange resources and information in a unique trade fair setting that features livestock exhibits alternated with other agricultural exhibitors.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world. With over one million square feet of displays and competition facilities, the Royal today draws in some 300,000 visitors annually, Thousands of entries are received each year from elite Canadian and international breeders, growers and exhibitors including over 5000 large and small animals.

The Canadian Beef Breeds Council is a steward of Canada’s National Beef Strategy through the Canadian Beef Advisors. The Beef Advisors are comprised national beef organizations representing all aspects of the beef cattle production system.

Cattle Breeding in Canada

Canada Agriculture – The First Hundred Years