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History of Purebred Cattle in Canada


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

Canadian purebred cattle originated from Britain and Continental Europe, each with their own unique phenotypes and genotypes. Under the Animal Pedigree Act breeds must be distinct or evolving and the physical description and genetic makeup of the breeds must be clearly identified. In addition, two new breeds have been developed here in Canada utilizing purebred seedstock of imported breeds.

The purebred industry supplies the commercial cattle sector with selected breeding stock, primarily herd sires. Cows are normally bred in the months of April through July, in order to calve in the period between January and April. Replacement females (heifers) are serviced at one year of age and thus calve in their second year. Calves are weaned at six to eight months of age and placed in feedlots where a combined forage and grain ration is fed to a finished live weight of 544-636 kg (1200-1400 lbs) at 12 to 14 months of age. Planned crossbreeding of breeds is widely practiced in Canada in the commercial cattle industry, thereby capitalizing on heterosis or hybrid vigor.

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

Canadian Western Agribition welcomes many thousands of visitors from around the world for Canada’s premier agricultural show and marketplace featuring livestock representing top quality genetics including purebred cattle, commercial cattle, as well as rodeo, machinery and other livestock.

Each year Farmfair International sees thousands of guests come together to buy, show and sell top 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 strong proponent of the Canadian Beef Advantage. The value proposition of the Canadian Beef Advantage is an industry wide branding strategy developed to achieve differentiation in Canadian beef and genetic products. The value proposition is supported by several attributes such as standards in animal health and welfare, food safety on the farm and at slaughter; quality superior genetics; innovative and environmentally-friendly production practices; beef grading system and product specifications; beef nutrition and health; and an exceptional eating experience. The branding strategy is supported by visual brand marks/logos which are fundamental to the CBA.

Cattle Breeding in Canada

Canada Agriculture – The First Hundred Years